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2006-10-16 15:41:53

Alleged Scam Artists Nabbed

Two Liberian men were charged in a Nassau court recently after police said they found them with equipment used to make counterfeit money.

Sangar Moore, 23, and Aggrey Davies, 36, were arraigned in a Magistrate's court on Thursday with forgery.

Court documents said that on October 9 the men were found in possession of six packs of black paper, a bottle of iodine, two steel safes and a US$50 note.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges and were each granted bail in the sum of $10,000.

The scam, which police believe the men may have been involved in, is known as the Black Dollar Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud, which originated in West Africa more than a century ago.

Under the scheme, unsuspecting "investors" are informed about the existence of huge sums of bank notes, which have been coated or disguised for security reasons.

Victims later become aware of the need to pay for the money to be "cleaned" before it can be used and are in the process scammed out of their own money.

Assistant Superintendent Drexel Cartwright, who is the officer in charge of the Commercial Crimes Unit of the Royal Police Force, said scam artists often use a few black US bills, usually the 50-dollar or 100-dollar note.

Once the investors' moneys are received, the scam artists move on to another victim, Mr. Cartwright explained.

The investors of course lose their money and never hear from the scam artists again, he said.

"What we believe happens is that the Liberians ask persons to invest and them show them a few of the black money. Then they tell the potential investor that the rest of the money is being stored in a vault in another part of the world," Mr. Cartwright explained.

"However, they would need their money to purchase the necessary chemical to clean up the money. The people then invest thousands of dollars thinking they would get their money back double, but they never receive a penny and lose out to these clever artists."

Mr. Cartwright said although his department received some reports of such scams occurring in The Bahamas, no one had yet come forward indicating that they were scammed in this way.

"In some instance persons from other parts of the world were crooked out of over $400,000 because these people ask for big money and unsuspecting persons looking to make their money double usually find themselves losing money," Mr. Cartwright said.

Moore and Davies are schedule to return to court on November 13.

By: Bianca Symonette, The Bahama Journal

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