The ruse was simple: The criminals offer a business owner $100,000 that was allegedly smuggled out of Africa and covered in black ink. The thieves sell the con by pulling out a few real hundred-dollars bills and rinsing them off with a water solution.
All they ask in exchange is $50,000 — cash only.
Authorities busted five Liberian immigrants Nov. 18 during a sting in Southwest Philadelphia. They are also investigating two similar crimes in Northwest Philadelphia, at least one of which could be linked to these same defendants. Police said this is not the first time they’ve heard of this con.
“There could be more groups like this out there,” said Lt. John Walker of Southwest Detectives, which worked with Secret Service officials to make the arrests at a business on the 7500 block of Haverford Avenue.