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Police Warn of “Movie Money” Scam After Incident in Germantown

The Montgomery County Police Department is investigating reports of a scam that involves suspects becoming involved in private online transactions via social media apps and websites and using fake, prop money to pay for items. The prop money, which can be purchased online, is used in movies and is usually marked, “For Motion Picture Use Only”.

During a prop money scam that occurred in Germantown on May 15, the 18-year-old female victim, identified in news reports as Hannah Buehrle, of Frederick, placed an advertisement to sell her iPhone 6 on the online sales app known as Letgo. The suspect, who identified himself as “Xavier” on his Letgo profile and in text messages to the victim, agreed to purchase the victim’s cellular phone for $450. The suspect told the victim that he only had five $100 bills and would give her the $500 if she would give him $50 in return.

The victim agreed to meet the suspect in the parking lot of the Milestone Shopping center located at 20900 Frederick Road in Germantown to sell him the phone.

During the transaction, the suspect gave the victim a bank envelope that appeared to contain five, $100 bills. The victim then gave the suspect her iPhone 6 and $50 in cash.

Later that evening, the victim attempted to deposit the money into her bank. The bank rejected the deposit. Upon further inspection of the money, the victim discovered the words “For Motion Picture Use Only” written across the top of the five $100 bills. The victim then reported the incident to the police department.

The prop money is available online, where a stack of fake $100 bills will cost about $30.

The suspect in this case is described as an approximately 15 to 16-year-old African American male who is tall and thin. Anyone who has information about this suspect is asked to call the 5th District Investigative Section at 240-773-6237.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest in this case.