The current saga of Hastert’s Hassles has led to some interesting discussions on the Internets. The most useful, concise summary of how honest people should deal with large amounts of cash, and other related events, in view of the federal government’s paranoia was posted on IFO’s favorite blog, aside from her own, of course, follows:
From John R. “Geez…You can avoid all this non-reporting nonsense that Hastert and others have gotten involved in by just filling out the Treasury reporting form yourself at the bank. I’ve done it before.
“If you need to withdraw anything close to $10,000 (say $9325), you can just withdraw $10,000 and fill out the reporting form to avoid any later accusation of “structuring.” Then re-deposit the excess cash you don’t need later. You may even be able to fill out the form for an amount under $10K, get a copy, and insist that the bank submit it. The one-page form, submitted by the bank, is the only requirement of the law. It just goes into a big database at the Treasury Department and nothing is done about it. If you have to do this MULTIPLE times, it probably creates a flag in their system, but if you’ve paid your income taxes and are not running an illegal business, they can’t do squat.
“Yes, the law is bad, but if you just fill out the form you avoid any hassle.
“If you are ever contacted by law enforcement, the IRS, or Treasury about the withdrawals, you insist on ONLY communicating in writing with them, saying you will consult with your accountant and lawyer. This avoids Hastert’s problem of being caught in a lie talking to them.
“In fact, there is nothing illegal about paying someone privately for a “legal tort.” Cases are settled all the time with a written agreement without ever going to court. He could have done that. OR he could have gone to law enforcement if he was being blackmailed – i.e. they threatened to expose the “prior bad act” BASED ON non-payment. That is the difference between illegal blackmail and a legal settlement of a claimed tort.
“If Hastert is a lawyer he should have known all this. He just got into panic mode and didn’t talk to HIS lawyer. Remember what Mom said, “Honesty is the best policy.” And get everything in writing.
“If you really need to move large amounts of cash around, you can always convert it to gold coins rather than having a stack of $100 bills (largest common denomination banks keep anymore). There is nothing illegal about that either, and it is less suspicious to cops than carrying a big wad of cash (i.e. you are just a “coin investor” taking the coins to a safe deposit box, and not a drug dealer. $10,000 is ten gold coins these days, which fits in a small plastic container. Just be sure to secure it in a sturdy locked box in a car trunk, locked to the car metal, preferably with copies of the purchase receipts. Same deal with cash; keep it in a lock box with the withdrawal receipt for the cops, if needed.”
John says Hastert “should have known all this. “But clearly, John and Dennis Hastert are neither criminals nor journalists. As a journalist, IFO knows ways Mr. Hastert could have been trapped and STUNG by the FBI and other LE.
The most obvious ploy is for the victim-blackmailer to get Hastert to confess on a taped phone conversation. “Oh, X, I’m so sorry [if] I did that.” Boom! Busted! Can you say, “Donald Sterling?”
“You can avoid nasty publicity if you just pay me $3.2 million,” Blackmailer says, “but I want cash. I don’t trust banks.”
So far, an unasked question is: How did the FBI get involved????
Major Irony. A commenter said that then-Repr. D. Hastert pushed the bill relating to “money laundering and bank reporting requirements” through the Congress while he was there. However, it appears Congress has been obsessed with this matter for DECADES: http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/aml_history.html
Just remember, in Pres. Reagan’s immortal phrase, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” That is no longer a laugh line.