||Last Updated: May 27th, 2019 - 13:51:51
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two Jacksonville women accused of collecting money from a Utah couple to adopt two babies who never existed will be sent to Utah to face federal charges that could land them up to 20 years in prison.
Federal court documents show that Helen Nickulas and Stephanie Fassnacht are accused of creating a fraudulent adoption agreement to obtain money and goods from a couple in Utah. According to the documents, Fassnacht told the couple that she was pregnant with twins and was willing to let the couple adopt her babies if they paid $55,000.
Adoption fraud investigation
The couple became suspicious after paying the money and being told the babies were born. The FBI began investigating and determined the adoption of the twins was a fraud and Fassnacht was never pregnant.
Not revealed in the criminal complaint is how the Utah couple met the Jacksonville women or why the couple paid the money without seeing the babies.
The court document also details the witness-tampering charge in connection with a series of messages the Jacksonville women left on the victims' voicemail.
INDICTMENT: Stephanie Lynn Fassnacht and Helen W. Nickulas
"I can’t believe what a deceitful disgusting woman you are," the FBI quoted Nickulas as saying in one of the messages. "We thought you were our friend, but I guess you were just like everybody else, used us so you can get a baby. Well, we don’t have babies and we’re not in the market of selling babies.”
The FBI says Fassnacht also left a series of threatening voicemails, most of which contain expletives we cannot print or use on television.
“You are a sick *****. You are a desperate **** ****. So play that back to the feds. ... Pray to God that I don’t ever ******* see you. That is all I have to say.”
Federal agents arrested both Fassnacht and Nickulas on charges of tampering with a victim. News4Jax went to their home, which was raided by the FBI, but nobody was there.
The two appeared before a federal judge in Jacksonville on Thursday and waived extradition to Utah, where they will face the federal charges and, possibly state charges.
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