Two Men Plead Guilty in Black Money Scam
BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Gooding Vincent, 38, of Syracuse, N.Y., and Eugene Cooper, 38, of Buffalo, N.Y. pleaded guilty to using paper as money before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder. The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a fine of $100,000 or both.
- Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who is handling the prosecution, stated that Vincent and Cooper participated in a scam commonly referred to as a “Black Money Scam.” Such a scam usually involves an individual attempting to convince an unsuspecting victim to provide the scammer with money to purchase chemicals to turn black-dyed paper into authentic U.S. currency. The individual concocts a story that money, which originated outside the United States, was treated chemically and dyed black to sneak it past immigration officials to avoid tax liability. The scammer attempts to convince the victim that money is needed to purchase chemicals to restore the money and that the scammer will share with the victim some of the funds once they are restored.
- On July 8, 2013, the defendants met with a confidential informant (“CI”) working with the Government in order to convince the CI to purchase “dirty” money from them.
- Vincent and Cooper attempted to use a slightly different version of the black money scam. According to the defendants, genuine United States currency had been obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to fight wars in Africa. The United States currency had been dyed either black or white to avoid being detected by opposition leaders in Africa and could be restored by simply washing the bills in chemicals provided by the defendant.
- The CI agreed to purchase, and did purchase from the defendants, what the CI had been told was $10,500 in United States currency that had been dyed either black or white, in return for $10,000. In actuality, the defendants sold valueless black and white banknote sized paper to the CI for $10,000.
- The defendants later admitted to agents working for the United States Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security that they had sold black and white banknote sized paper having no value to the CI for $10,000.
The pleas are the result of an investigation by the United Stated Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tracy Gast and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James C. Spero.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced before Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder on September 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.