Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fake Lebanese Billionaire caught using fake US dollar notes

Do any of you in Malaysia remember about the Controversial self-proclaimed billionaire Elie Youssef Najem, who pledged RM1bil to the National Cancer Council (Makna) in 2006? Yesterday, Elie was caught with allegedly US$66mil (RM220mil) in fake money. He gave up a US$500 note as a tip to a hotel cleaner in a 4 star hotel. Kuala Lumpur commercial crime unit division chief ASP Izany Abdul Ghany said the 50-year-old Lebanese national had been renting a room in a four-star hotel in the Bukit Bintang area here for a few days when the incident took place.

A police team led by Insp Ridhwan Ani raided Elie’s room and discovered a leather bag containing 60 “US$1mil” bills, 60 “1934 US$100,000” bills and 40 “US$500” bill which added up to US$66.2mil. There are no such denominations in US currency. Izany said the highest legal banknote used currently in the United States is the US$100 note. The US$500 note was issued in 1934 and still has value, but can only be traded in the US Federal Reserve. The US$500 Federal Reserve Note features a portrait of President William McKinley.

100,000 US dollar
“He had apparently tipped one of the cleaners with a US$500 note. The woman, ecstatic over the windfall, went to a money-changer nearby to convert it to ringgit. Instead, she got a shock when told it was fake. She complained to her supervisor who then alerted the police,” Izany said.

When questioned at the Dang Wangi police station, Elie did not divulge any information as to where he got the money or what he intended to do with it, Izany said.

“When asked why he was renting a hotel room when he owns an apartment in the city, he said he staying there because it was convenient for him as he is attending a court hearing in a case against him,” he said.

It is understood that Elie was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court on Jan 8 under Section 417 of the Penal Code for cheating. It is learnt he was charged for being involved in cheating over office supplies sales in 2005. As a result of the pending case, his passport has been withheld. Izany said police were investigating the case under Section 489(c) of the Penal Code for possession of counterfeit notes which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine. Elie has been remanded for 14 days until Jan 23 to facilitate in investigations.

To me this fake banknote is just look like a novelty collector banknote, not a fake or counterfeit banknotes. The re is a novelty collector banknote that also have a face of the current US president Barrack Obama. But when it come to this self claimed billionaire, I am also not sure what he intended to do with this money? Some people really don't know that this kind of banknotes is just for fun and allowed in United States.