The key elements in these offenses is that a stranger, with a large amount of currency, joined by a second stranger convince the victim to hold the currency for safekeeping or distribution to a charity after putting the money from all three in a handkerchief or paper bag. After the strangers leave, examination of the package reveals the currency is cut up paper.
These offenses may be known as the South African Letter, Jamaican Switch, and Country Boy Switch. The South African Letter, which became very popular in the 1990's, is the most frequently used at the current time. The offenses normally employ two suspects. The first is known on the street as the "Catch" and the second is known as the "Cap." The offense can be played by one suspect, but that is infrequent. The offenses generally go through the following progression.
The victim is approached on the street by the Catch who will pose as a South African with a large amount of currency obtained in an insurance settlement; a Jamaican or other foreign seaman with a large amount of currency obtained from wages; or a country boy with a large amount of currency from the sale of produce, land, etc. The Catch may play the part of a fool and asks the victim for assistance in locating an address, which is non-existent. In the case of the South African, the Catch may be looking for a church or charitable institution to donate the money to, as he cannot take the currency home because of political turmoil. He may show letters from an attorney or insurance company indicating the amount of money and a letter from his home country explaining that he cannot bring the currency back. In the case of the Jamaican or County Boy, the Catch may explain that he paid several hundred dollars to a woman to "have a good time" and is looking for the hotel (non-existent) where she told him to meet her.
If the Catch determines that the intended victim is suitable, he will pull in (signal) the Cap to join in. The Catch will then explain the scenario a second time to the Cap. During all conversations the Catch will display a large roll of what appears to be several thousand dollars. The Cap will tell the Catch that the location does not exist and caution him about showing the money in public, as people will rob him. At this point a discussion about banks may ensue which will help determine if the victim has money in the bank. At this point the suspects make a determination whether to play the victim for the cash he has on him or attempt to get money that is in the victim's bank.
If they decide to play for the bank money, the Catch may claim ignorance about banking procedures and will not believe that currency can be taken out of the bank. The Cap enlists the aid of the victim to convince the Catch how banks work. In some cases the Catch will tell the victim and the Cap that he will match anything they get out of the bank to prove that money can be taken out as an incentive to have the victim withdraw currency. The Cap may or may not pretend to make a withdrawal to show the Catch. The victim is the induced to do likewise.