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Former wife posed as 17-year-old in online scheme

Embroiled in a contentious child custody fight, an Indiana woman decided last month to pose on Facebook as a comely teenage girl in a bid to surreptitiously extract damaging information from her ex-husband.

The scheme proved so successful, in fact, that FBI agents last Friday arrested Angela Voelkert's former spouse on a felony charge for allegedly installing a listening device in her vehicle, according to court records.

Voelkert's Facebook plot--detailed by FBI Agent Robert Dane in a sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend--began in late-May when she opened a Facebook account in the name of "Jessica Studebaker."

The purported 17-year-old's profile--which remains online, but locked--includes the photo of "Studebaker" seen at right. The true identity of the girl seen in the photo is unknown, nor is it clear where Voelkert got the image.

Voelkert, 29, used the bogus Facebook profile to "friend" her former husband David, 38. Angela Voelkert then asked a pal to e-mail her former spouse through the Facebook account since she was concerned that he might recognize her "style of writing." Voelkert though, Dane noted, "monitored the emails on 'Jessica Studebaker's' Facebook account."

Within days of becoming friends, David Voelkert began exchanging Facebook messages with "Studebaker," telling the teen about his children and Angela. On May 26, Voelkert wrote that he had sold his business and "planned to move somewhere warm with his kids, that he was still going to his next court dates, and would take off soon after."

Voelkert, the affidavit notes, runs a South Bend business that sells and installs sophisticated video and audio equipment, and counts police departments among its customers. A check of Voelkert's Facebook page this afternoon shows that "Studebaker" remains among his 153 friends.

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In a May 31 Facebook message, Voelkert, pictured at left, told "Studebaker" that he had secretly installed a GPS tracker in his wife's van and was using the device to monitor her movements. He "went on to discuss what kind of trouble that they could get in for doing this," and asked the teenager to "delete the message so there is no trace of talking about it," Dane reported.

Along with disclosing that he planned to flee with his children in early-June, Voelkert wrote that he was "going to find someone to take care of her and now it will be easier because I know where she is at all times." He then added, "you should find someone at your school, there should be some gang bangers there that would put a cap in her ass for $10,000. I am just done with her crap!"

In a subsequent message, Voelkert stated, "With me gone with my kids, the police can't pin anything on me as I will be in another state, so I will be fine." Voelkert has not been charged with plotting to harm his wife.

Busted Friday, Voelkert appeared yesterday in federal court, where a judge scheduled a detention hearing for this Thursday. Since he is locked up in the St. Joseph County Jail, Voelkert will have to seek to reschedule a Superior Court hearing scheduled for tomorrow in his child custody case. (6 pages)