I’m going to blame my dreams again for this one. All last night, I had a dream about a tax avoidance/tax delay scheme which involves buying a bank draft for $10,000 before the end of the year and waiting until the new year to cash it again.
You might think that’s far-fetched but, believe me, it’s not. I witnessed just such a transaction being done at the North Shore Credit Union in 1984. To be fair, the purchaser of the draft probably only wished to defer income tax, but it showed me that there were some very simple ways to launder money. Some other ways are more convoluted.
My first encounter with a full-fledged attempt at illegal money-laundering happened when I was the acting Bank Accountant at the Bank of Nova Scotia in Niagara Falls in 1977. An international bank had sent a very large transfer of money to a customer of that branch. When contacted by me to let him know it had arrived, he baldly said the money wasn’t his and that we were to return it to the international bank from whence it had come. I probably wouldn’t have thought another thing about it except for the fact that he was Italian and the transfer may have come from a Mafia-based company. I reported it.
How It Works
In the world of money-laundering, only corrupt politicians and unregistered agents of foreign governments seem to get away with it. No, not so anymore: ask Paul Manafort.
World terrorist organizations have been doing it for a hundred years or more. The tax man wants to put a stop to it, effectively shutting down their illegal operations, but no sooner do they act on insider tips, then a new scheme is set up. That’s why in TV shows and movies about anti-corruption agencies (and the usual spy suspects), the favourite quote is: follow the money.
But It’s Not Just Terrorists
Have you ever really wondered how the rich keep getting richer while the rest of us just languish in their dust?
Kickbacks: they’re more common than you think. I believe they’re called ‘sweetening the pot.’ In other parts of the world, corruption is rife. But we think that people in the West are better than that. How wrong we are…
Between October 1985 and June 1989, I worked for a building company, based in Ascot, Berkshire. As a cost of doing business, the owner would often request cheques of about $2,000 paid to cash. In truth, he could have been pocketing the funds, but then he would have paid income tax on his company withdrawals (unless he had sufficient equity)… What he was really doing with the money was greasing the wheels of industry by lining the pockets of council planners.
So, when I look at ‘successful’ entrepreneurs, I wonder, “Who did you steal from to make your millions?”
As I learned while working for a steel roofing subcontractor in the last half of 1990, the big construction companies hold back funds from the little guys, squeezing their little bottom lines to over-inflate their huge corporate profits. Behind the corporations? Shareholders who expect a good return on their investment.
Greed will defeat us all in the end. Why can’t we all share the wealth?