BOSTON - A Maryland man was charged today in federal court with conspiracy, wire fraud, and possession of altered U.S. currency with intent to defraud in connection with a “black money” scheme.
Cole Williams, 31, of Frederick, Md., was charged in an Indictment alleging that in July 2011, he and another co-conspirator, devised and executed a scheme to defraud two businessmen who operated Village Pizza in Indian Orchard, Mass. In this scheme, Williams and the co-conspirator offered to purchase Village Pizza with $150,000 of what they called “black money,” which they represented to be genuine United States currency that had been altered to appear completely black, and which they represented could be converted back into genuine United States currency through a chemical process.
On or about July 20, 2011 at Village Pizza, Williams and the co-conspirator allegedly conducted a demonstration by which they used chemicals and powder to remove a black coating from altered genuine United States currency. On or about July 23, 2011 at Village Pizza, Williams and the co-conspirator induced the businessmen to provide them with $50,000 in genuine United States currency. It is alleged that they then appeared to use the $50,000 to convert “black money,” which they knew was simply black paper cut to the size and shape of United States currency. They then left Village Pizza with the $50,000 and instead provided the businessmen with a large amount of black paper.
If convicted on these charges, Williams faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count and possession of altered U.S. currency count and up to five years in prison on the conspiracy count. Each count carries a maximum of three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.
The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.