Scammers nabbed for selling liquid that turns peso bills into dollars

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, May 28, presented 3 foreign nationals who were arrested for a scam, where they claim a liquid could turn peso bills into dollars.

Aroon James from Puerto Rico, Brown Akwe Fonboh from the United States, and Guam Blanche Murphy from Angola allegedly sold bottles of translucent liquid they claimed could do the "magic."

They were nabbed on Friday, May 25, by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region, following a complaint by a Chinese victim.

How the scam works: The 3 apparently tricked victims through a "demonstration."

They scrubbed the liquid ontothe peso bills. With a sleight of hand, their palms would then show dollar bills.

From the demonstration, the suspects offer clients to scrub peso bills worth thousands themselves.

ARRESTED. The supposed members of an Angolan Budol-budol gang are presented in Camp Crame. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

ARRESTED. The supposed members of an Angolan Budol-budol gang are presented in Camp Crame.

Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

The complainant who went to the police had paid the trio in two tranches: P250,000 for a batch of dollar bills, then P5 million for a bottle of the liquid.

He never got the delivery of the dollars or the liquid.

Warning to the public: From the presentation, PNP chief Oscar Albayalde took the opportunity to warn the public that what's too good to be true is probably fake. 

Police say the scheme is a variation of the "black dollar scam" wherein victims are promised piles of cash, which are supposedly dyed and in need of scrubbing with a thinning agent.

The suspects are facing charges of swindling, counterfeiting, and syndicated estafa.

They will not be immediately deported, as even their identities and nationalities are subject to investigation.  Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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