People of a certain generation will sometimes choose to eschew a checking or savings account at a bank for their own “in-house” form of saving their money: stuffing cash in the couch. Although the rapid changes of the Digital Age have made electronic banking and even online or mobile banking more convenient for Millennials, many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still trust the oldest storage option in the books.
However, a recent investigation by federal authorities in Brazil uncovered perhaps the most lucrative such “personal savings account” in the box spring of a mattress, totaling some $20 million in cash!
Hiding Under the Bed
Contrary to what a lot of financial wonks will tell you, it’s sometimes preferable to keep a fair amount of your net worth in cash, safely outside of the banking system. This allows for a lot of flexibility in the event of “a rainy day” or some kind of emergency. Perhaps it would be even better if the money is simply converted into gold bars, which can then be liquidated at any time, but the supposed wisdom of never holding some of your wealth in cash on-hand is a misconception.
Now, keeping millions of dollars in cash might be a different story. At that point, the physical volume of cash makes storing the money more of a hassle than if the same value was placed into gold bullion!
Hence, one Brazilian scammer’s decision to stash a staggering $20 million in U.S. dollars in the box spring of his bed. This was hardly your typical “rainy day” fund.
The man in question was allegedly involved in a massive pyramid scheme that was actively being investigated. The authorities were tipped off by a cooperative informant who gave a briefcase filled with $2.2 million to the suspect. He was then tracked to a residence in Massachusetts where stacks and stacks of cash were discovered under the mattress.
The police have charged the man, Cleber Rene Rezario Rocha, with conspiracy to commit money laundering. They say he was connected to a defunct internet phone service pyramid scheme and was planning to launder the money to Brazil through banks in Hong Kong. The company defrauded unwitting consumers out of $1 billion before being found out.
If convicted, Mr. Rocha faces up to 20 years in prison.
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