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article imageToronto police warn public about 'black money' scam

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 16, 2013 in Crime
Toronto - The warning was issued after police arrested a 32-year-old man who is alleged to have used 'black money' to dupe the victim out of $450,000.
Herman Fankhem, of Montreal, was arrested last week and charged with one count of fraud over $5,000. According to Toronto police [PDF], Fankhem was one of five men who responded to an ad last October in which the victim was attempting to sell some commercial property. Through the ad, the victim met the five who expressed a desire to buy the property and the five men said they were expecting funds to arrive from South Africa.
When a portion of the 'money' arrived, it was coated in a black substance. The victim was told expensive chemicals were needed to restore the bills to their proper form. The five had become friends with the victim who was persuaded to pay for the cost of the cleaning. In total, police say the victim was duped out of $450,000.
The 'black money' the victim eventually received was, when successfully cleaned, of course fake.
 Black money  recovered by Toronto Police Service
'Black money' recovered by Toronto Police Service
Toronto Police Service
Yesterday, the Toronto Police Service held a press conference to show the black money and to warn the public of the scam. They showed the black money as well as other tools used by the alleged fraudsters. These included surgical masks and a perfume bottle containing the "special chemical" used to clean the black money.
Det. Alan Spratt, of the Financial Crimes Unit, said, "Once the victim has bought into the scam, it's very difficult for them to get out of that. They've bought into it. They believe in it, and then the props just reinforce that. Many of the suspects in this scam are very good at building rapport with the victims. They're very clever, they're very devious and they practice that."
Spratt's advice to the public is to stay away from anything that includes money that has to be hidden or covered. If that happens, "Something definitely illegal is going on." he said.
Police believe there may be more victims.
More about herman fankem, Scams, black money scam, fraud over
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