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AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
August 22, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FALLS CHURCH MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ALTERING CURRENCY
IN A “BLACK MONEY SCAM”
GREENBELT, Maryland - Madeleine Guy Menyeng, age 36, of Falls Church, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to altering U.S. currency, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the statement of facts provided to the court as part of the plea agreement, Menyeng participated in a fraudulent scheme commonly referred to by federal law enforcement authorities as the “Black Money Scam.” Menyeng would alter real U.S. currency by coating it in a very dark chemical and/or powder solution. A targeted victim would then be shown two white strips of paper, which were cut in the shape and form of U.S. currency. These white strips of paper were said to contain “ghost images,” or impressions, of real $100 and/or $50 bills. The victim would be told, in substance, that the two strips of paper were actual Treasury paper from which “real” U.S. currency was made. Chemicals and/or powder would be placed on the two white strips of paper, causing the white strips of paper to turn a very dark color–-almost black. The victim would then be asked to provide a real $100 or $50 bill, which would then be sandwiched between the two (now dark) strips of paper. The dark color would be washed away with water and/or chemicals, revealing two $100 and/or $50 bills that looked identical to real U.S. currency. Menyeng would represent to the intended victim that the bills purported to be created from the formerly white strips of paper were “real” U.S. currency. In truth, however, through sleight of hand, the original two white strips of paper would be switched and replaced with real U.S. currency coated in a chemical and/or powder solution. Accordingly, when “washed,” real U.S. currency would be revealed.
As part of the Black Money Scam, large sums of money would be requested from the victims with the promise that the victim would double any cash investment. Menyeng never intended to double the victims’ cash investment.
From January 13, 2006, through February 23, 2006 an undercover officer (hereinafter "the U/C") met with Menyeng, who stated that he wanted to do business with the U/C. Over the course of several meetings, which were recorded with both audio and video surveillance by the United States Secret Service, Menyeng demonstrated to the U/C a technique he claimed would effectively counterfeit U.S. currency. Specifically, he obtained a $100 bill from the U/C, and then removed two pieces of white paper in the shape of United States currency from a silver metal box. Menyeng showed the U/C the white paper under a “black light.” The U/C observed what appeared to be the imprint of the front and back of United States currency. Menyeng and the U/C donned surgical masks and gloves, Menyeng placed the $100 bill between two pieces of white paper, and he instructed the U/C to apply some unknown brown liquid to the $100 bill and paper over aluminum foil. The chemicals blackened both the white papers and the bill. Menyeng then folded the aluminum foil over the $100 bill and paper and instructed the U/C to stand on the package for five minutes. Menyeng removed the bill and paper from tin foil, rinsed them in liquid, ironed the bills, and presented two additional $100 bills to the U/C. Menyeng claimed they had been manufactured from the original bill submitted by the U/C.
Menyeng and the U/C agreed to process a total of $200,000 in United States currency with the first installment of $50,000, provided by the U/C, taking place on February 23, 2006. The U/C provided Menyeng with $50,000 in $100 bills of genuine United States currency, which Menyeng then divided into two stacks of $25,000 each. Menyeng and the U/C repeated the process Menyeng had previously demonstrated, placing several bundles of white paper in a dark liquid in the bathtub. Menyeng advised the U/C that he needed to go home to mix up the cleaning solution before returning.
Menyeng was observed walking to his vehicle. Shortly after entering the vehicle, Menyeng was taken into custody. Recovered was a long plastic bottle wrapped in duct tape. When the outer layer of duct tape was removed from the bottom half of the bottle, it revealed a false bottom which contained the two bundles of $25,000 in $100 bills of genuine United States currency. All of the $100 bills from both bundles appeared to be covered in the white powdery substance. Menyeng admitted to switching the $50,000 into the false bottom of the long plastic bottle so as to escape with the money provided by the U/C.
Menyeng faces a maximum sentence of a term of imprisonment of not more than 20 years, followed by a term of supervised release of up to 3 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.00. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for November 20, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.
In a similar case, Jean Jacques Dzmitchon, age 30, of Washington, D.C. pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 23, 2006 to a year and a day in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the United States Secret Service and the Montgomery County Police Department. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Trusty, who is prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedAugust 22, 2006