Two men from central Africa were detained in Moscow after trying to obtain millions of rubles for a “magic” liquid that could turn black pieces of paper into $100 bills, police said in a statement Tuesday.
The pair were asking people to buy ordinary black paper after demonstrating how it could be turned into U.S. dollar bills after being treated with their potion. During the demonstration they would substitute the black paper with a real $100 note that was then accepted by a money exchange kiosk, the statement said.
The Africans would then offer to produce $20 million this way. One of the victims was asked for 5 million rubles ($76,000) for the magic solution, police said.
The two enterprising individuals would cover their hands and faces during the demonstration process, saying it was in order to protect them from the magical chemical they were using. In reality it was a ruse to hide their identity, said police, who were nevertheless able to track them down. Upon their detention, police found 57 packs of black paper cut into bill-sized pieces in the culprits' bag.
A criminal case has been opened into the pair's activities and they have been put under arrest. Under Russian law, if charged and convicted they face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($15,000).