Alleged conmen attempted to defraud victim out of €250,000 in 'black money' scam

South African and Cameroonian remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to trying to defraud Maltese victim out of €250,000 in black money scam.

Two alleged conmen were today remanded in custody after pleading not guilty to trying to defraud a Maltese man out of €250,000 in a ‘black money scam'.

The court heard how the accused, Calice Nkwessa, 39, of South Africa, and Bertin Nfonkeu, 30, of Cameroon, had initially approached their victim by persuading him that a briefcase full of banknote-sized paper is real money which had been dyed black.

Sources close to the investigation that the two men initially approached their victim, Clayton Falzon, and applied iodine and other chemicals to a black “banknote.” The alleged banknote then turned into a €50 note, and the accused then told their victim that it was genuine.

Moreover, informed sources said that after “convincing their victim with their initial scam,” the Cameroonian and South African duo asked their victim €250,000 in exchange for a briefcase full of banknote-sized paper dyed black, and claimed that they could not export the money due to laws in their homeland.

However, the victim is said to have informed the police of the scam, leading to the subsequent arrest of the accused.

Prosecuting inspector Ian Abdilla said in exchange for the money, conmen would have given their victim the briefcase full of money and chemicals to “wash the money” with the promise that after the chemicals dissolve, the banknote would be revealed.

The court heard that, in reality, however, all would be blank papers and that irrespective of the chemicals added, they will not turn into money.

Standing before presiding Magistrate Marseann Farrugia, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, and were denied bail due to the fear of absconding.

In September, two Cameroonians were also remanded in custody over the ‘black money scam’.

Inspector Ian Joseph Abdilla prosecuted, while Lawyer Anthony Cutajar was legal aid.