During the investigation, information was received that the two men, Liberian citizens, later identified as Calvin Billfrank Swen of Jamaica, NY and Radcliffe Reynold Howard of Philadelphia, PA, had initially visited the local restaurant to inquire about purchasing the business. During a subsequent visit to the establishment, Swen and Howard, produced black paper wrapped in plastic and told the owner they had the ability to take a $100 bill and make additional $100 bills by placing the currency between the black paper and applying a chemical. The men demonstrated the procedure for the owner, then asked the owner to give them $100,000 in cash. In exchange for the $100,000, Swen and Howard advised they could produce $4,000,000 in U.S. currency, which they would then split equally with the business owner.
After several communications with the restaurant owner to perpetrate the scam, officers conducted surveillance operations and arrested the men as they entered the business. Swen and Howard were later transported to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center and charged with theft scheme greater than $500 and conspiracy to commit theft greater than $500. The investigation is continuing and additional charges could be pending. Both men were awaiting appearances before the District Court Commissioner.
The Frederick Police Department is encouraging members of the public to be aware of similar scams, whether conducted in person, over the internet or through e-mail. If you are offered money or goods in exchange for advance payment of fees, you may be the target of a fraud scheme.