Exclusive: The Secret Behind the ‘Black Money’ Scam

By Brian Ross And Joseph Rhee

Mar 9, 2007 2:07pm

The "black money" scam is one of the most ingenious tricks pulled off by Internet con artists. Victims receive an e-mail saying they’ve inherited millions of dollars but that the money has been coated in black ink in order to smuggle it out of Nigeria.  They are then told they have to buy a special, very expensive chemical that can clean the black money so it can be used.  Dr. Tim Sloan, a California heart surgeon, said a con man posing as a diplomat named Davidson used the special chemical to turn samples of black money into real $100 bills.  Click Here for Photos of the "Black Money" Scam. Sloan eventually lost his life savings before he realized the suitcase full of black money that he was told was worth $3.8 million was little more than black construction paper. "I don’t like being a fool," Dr. Sloan told ABC News. But after 20/20 was able to catch "Davidson" in the act, he decided to come clean and give us a rare, inside look at how the black money scam is performed.  Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. "Davidson" is actually a native of Ghana named Eric, who worked as the U.S. representative for a group of con men based in Nigeria. Eric said the trick involves first cutting thousands of currency-sized pieces from black construction paper and putting them in a box or suitcase.  But he also takes a few real $100 bills, coats them with a protective layer of glue and then dyes them black with tincture of iodine.  These are the bills that will later be cleaned with the expensive "magic chemical" that is really just water mixed with crushed Vitamin C tablets.  Eric said he can sell this solution to a greedy victim "even for a $1 million." When he performs the black money demonstration, Eric asks his mark to randomly select several of the pieces of black construction paper from the suitcase.  He then distracts the victim’s attention and does a quick switch, pulling out the pre-treated blackened $100 bills.  Before the victim’s amazed eyes, Eric then uses his "magic solution" to clean off the black coating, and presto, genuine $100 bills emerge.  Eric said he gives these bills to the victim and tells him he can spend them to prove they are for real.  Eric said he had successfully used the black money trick to scam over 20 victims out of more than $100,000.  According to Eric, "The first time it amazed me.  And money started coming from it, and I couldn’t stop it."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus