A Hawthorne man was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months behind bars for running a scheme in which a used car salesman was persuaded to exchange $100,000 in cash for what turned out to be construction paper cut to the size of actual bills with markings suggesting they were genuine $100 notes.
Fonka Arouna Moundih, 53, was also ordered to pay restitution to the victim of $67,027 — the amount remaining unpaid — and serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. Moundih may also be subject to deportation to his native Cameroon in Central Africa, according to court documents.
The French-speaking defendant pleaded guilty in August to a federal conspiracy count for conning the Los Angeles salesman, identified by the initials H.S., out of $100,000 two years ago.
To perpetuate the so-called “black money” scheme, the victim was made to believe that Moundih was in possession of a lot of cash, but that the banknotes were painted to avoid detection by authorities and thus unusable. The victim was then asked for money for various fees and for the purchase of an alleged miracle chemical used to “clean” the bills — which were in fact made of construction paper.
Moundih was arrested in April 2019 crossing the border into Canada after skipping a court date.
A co-defendant, Raja Aamir Shahzad, was sentenced earlier this month in Los Angeles federal court to a probationary term including six months of home detention. He was also found liable for a share of the remaining restitution, according to court records.
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