U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
October 31, 2011
TWO DETAINED IN ALLEGED “BLACK MONEY” SCHEME
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two Liberian nationals have been ordered detained by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond on Criminal Complaints charging them with passing a fictitious obligation of the United States, after they allegedly defrauded a Fall River, Mass., man of $100,000 in cash in an alleged “black money” scheme.
The arrest on Friday of Anthony Chadheen, 33, of Providence, R.I., and Alvin Pennue, 31, of Indianapolis, Ind., was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Thomas M. Powers, Resident Agent in Charge of the Providence Office of the U.S. Secret Service.
Black money schemes are schemes to defraud whereby individuals attempt to fraudulently obtain money from a victim by persuading him that large quantities of banknote-sized paper in that individual's possession is really U.S. currency which has been dyed black, typically to avoid detection by customs agents. The victim is persuaded, with the prospect of sharing in the proceeds, to supply real currency in order to purchase supplies to facilitate the chemical reaction that will remove the black covering that overlays the supposedly genuine black currency. In reality, except for a few genuine currency bills used to advance the scheme, the “black money" is usually black construction paper.
According to Affidavits in support of the Criminal Complaints, it is alleged that Chadheen and Pennue persuaded the victim to provide them with $100,000 in cash to purchase chemicals and supplies to process large quantities of “black money” with a promised return of $300,000 in cash. It is alleged the stacks of “black money” shown to the victim were, in reality, stacks made up of mostly black construction paper.
According to the Affidavits, the victims were arrested after a U.S. Secret Service agent, operating in an undercover capacity, engaged in several conversations and meetings in which the suspects allegedly solicited funds for the “black money” process. According to the Affidavit, the defendants said they would pay the agent $100,000 if they could use $100,000 of the agent’s money to purchase supplies and facilitate removing black covering on supposedly real currency. The two were arrested when they showed the agent several stacks or “bricks” of paper in the shape of U.S. currency. Examination of the “bricks” revealed they were nothing more than black construction paper.
A Criminal Complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Passing a fictitious obligation is punishable by up to 25 years in federal prison; up to 5 years supervised release; and up to a $250,000 fine.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.