When a con artist asked eleven-year-old Jeremy Ryzhonkov to make change for a bogus $100 note, he was tricked out of a full day’s earnings from his lemonade business.
The young businessman in Everett, Washington, was selling lemonade, popcorn, soda, cotton candy, and other beverages from a cooler when a customer approached him and offered to buy $15 worth of goodies.
The Everett Police Department reports that Jeremy Ryzhonkov became suspicious as soon as the customer left because the color and texture of the bill felt strange. To validate his suspicions, the young man proceeded to a neighboring police station.
“Nope, not real,” Ryzhonkov said in an interview with a neighborhood news outlet.
Rhyzhonkov caught the incident as he was filming his stand. Two males are seen on camera, but only one is being investigated by the Everett Police Department. Local police have released a still image from the film identifying the culprit.
According to a statement from the Everett Police Department, “although our detectives work hard to bring closure to every case, this case struck a particular chord with them, and they want to do everything they can to obtain justice for Jeremy and arrest this counterfeiter.”
According to media reports, Ryzhonkov is involved in several businesses, including a seasonal lawn-mowing and snow-shoveling operation. He does this to “expand his empire” and to contribute financially to his Ukrainian ancestors’ native country. He had to close his stand because of the con.
The police made the tale public, and Amy Steenfott, the Ryzhonkovs’ next-door neighbor, launched a GoFundMe shortly after to help Jeremy recover from his losses. The campaign has significantly exceeded its $250 target due to the community’s outpouring of support, which increased the fund to over $25,000. This demonstrates that there are more good individuals than wicked people in the world, Steenfott stated in an update.
Rzyhonkov reopened his stand, but he now only trades in small denominations and is much more vigilant about examining them. He also has new anti-counterfeit regulations.
The new IRS rules will probably force an audit of the boy’s earnings.