Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Crime: Liberian nationals questioned as bomb scare reveals black money scam

FBI Honolulu
Special Agent Tom Simon

Frank Montoya, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Honolulu Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is warning the public about a scam targeting Hawaii residents commonly known as the Black Money Scam. Two individuals claiming to be from the African nation of Liberia are wanted for questioning in relation to this fraud scheme.

On Friday 11/4/2011, the FBI received a tip that two suspicious males had rented a Honolulu storage locker for cash for the purpose of storing two large suitcases. The FBI contacted the Honolulu Police and Fire Departments who performed a safety inspection of the unit and determined that there were no explosives or dangerous materials inside.

On the evening of Saturday 11/5/2011, the FBI obtained a search warrant to open the bags. Inside the bags, the FBI discovered hundreds of pounds of black paper cut into the size of U.S. currency bills.

By way of background, the Black Money Scam is a well-known fraud wherein black construction paper is presented to a victim as being actual U.S. currency dyed black through a chemical process. The con-man represents that he needs money to obtain another chemical that will wash off the black dye and render the U.S. currency back to its normal state. The victim is asked for money to buy the chemical in exchange for half of the black paper. After the money is given to the con-man, the victim is given the black paper, and the con-man disappears with the victim’s money. The paper held by the victim is simply black construction paper with no currency value. The Black Money Scam is described in detail on a Wikipedia entry and on several You Tube videos.

The Honolulu FBI wishes to warn the public about this scam and is asking for recent victims to step forward. Furthermore, the two individuals depicted in the attached photo are wanted for questioning by the FBI.

The public is reminded that the individuals depicted in the attached photo are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.