|TRENTON - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that two alleged con artists were arrested on Friday in a so-called “Black Money Scam” in which the defendants allegedly attempted to scam unsuspecting victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by falsely promising an amount of money several times the amount of money that the victims fronted to the defendants.
Nyondah L. Blay, 38, of Trenton, and Carl Jenkins, 35, of Philadelphia, Pa., were arrested on Friday evening (Feb. 1) on charges of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree theft by deception, third-degree forgery and third-degree possession of forgery devices.
“These defendants allegedly preyed upon unsuspecting victims, portraying themselves as refugees who, because of their circumstances, were prepared to offer a deal too good to pass up,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “My office will continue to protect New Jersey residents from fraud by aggressively investigating and prosecuting con artists.”
“I commend the excellent collaborative work of the Division of Criminal Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cherry Hill Police Department in this investigation,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said. “It is through such partnerships that we are able to maximize our resources to prosecute such cases in New Jersey.”
“This investigation is another great example of how law enforcement from different backgrounds work together and produce successful results,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez of the Newark Office of the FBI. “The FBI will continue to work side by side with the State Attorney General’s Office and all of our law enforcement partners to bring cases like this to justice.”
On Friday (Feb. 1), the defendants allegedly told a victim that they (the defendants) had hundreds of thousands of dollars in U.S. currency that was dyed black to avoid detection as the money was smuggled out of their war-torn country of Liberia. The defendants allegedly asked the victim to supply several thousand dollars for the purchase of expensive chemicals needed to extract the dye from the bills. It is alleged that the defendants promised to pay the victims an amount of money several times what they fronted once the dye was extracted. The defendants were arrested in Cherry Hill when they allegedly took possession of several thousand dollars from the alleged victim. In this type of scheme, once the transaction is completed, the normal scam entails the defendants then absconding with the victim’s money and the victims being left with worthless paper.
The men were arrested as a result of a sting operation conducted jointly by the Division of Criminal Justice and the FBI. Detective Anne Hayes was the lead detective for the Division of Criminal Justice. Deputy Attorney General Peter Gallagher will prosecute the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Participating in the arrests were detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice’s Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau and the Gangs & Organized Crime Unit, as well as officers of the Cherry Hill Police Department.
The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000.
At a bail hearing yesterday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Thomas A. Brown Jr. in Camden County set bail at $150,000 cash or bond for each defendant, no 10%. The defendants were remanded to Camden County jail.
Attorney General Chiesa and Director Stephen J. Taylor noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a confidential, toll-free tipline for the public to report financial fraud, corruption and other illegal activities: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. The public also can log on to the Division Web site at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.