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part V

Finally, there is one other extremely important reason to learn how to hide your assets -- the United States government. As anyone who has ever been audited knows, nothing makes a government official angrier than someone making more money than they do. And unfortunately, when a government official gets angry and jealous, he or she tends to equal the playing field by making sure that at the end of the day, we’re as poor and bitter as they are. The thing to always remember about government officials is that they believe in justice equalization. In plain English that means, if they can prove you got your assets illegally, you don’t get to keep them… if you bought your house or your car with “bad” money, you can kiss them both good-bye.

So if parting from your assets brings you sweet sorrow, then you’d better take some steps now to hide those assets. Because there is no one who will enjoy dismantling your empire as much as some poorly paid government worker who rents a one bedroom apartment next to the freeway, and who drove to work in an ‘87 Chevy with bad brakes and no air-conditioning.

You can try to hide your money from the government yourself, but before you go off on your own and start stashing cash in your mattress, you might want to ask yourself “Do I feel lucky?” Because in order for you to successfully prevail against the United States government, you’re going to need a hell of a lot of luck.

The government currently has a million and one ways to keep track of every penny that goes into your pocket. Not only do a plethora of government agencies monitor your financial activities, but the government has also recruited your neighborhood bank to make sure that they you don’t try to keep a single asset from them. Even worse, Congress is currently considering legislation that would force banks and Savings and Loans to tell federal law enforcement agencies if any customer made the slightest deviation in a checking or savings account, and to determine the source of those funds. That will turn your friendly, neighborhood banker into a spy for the United States government, and mean that if should you receive a large inheritance, a bonus, or some other windfall, you’ll end up in some federal computer with the term “suspicious” right between your first and last name.

Even if the “Know Your Customer” legislation doesn’t pass, your local bank still must follow some specific governmental reporting requirements which enable the government to better keep track of your banking transactions. Every time a bank, Savings and Loan or credit union disburses or receives more than $10,000 from a customer on any given day, that bank must file a Currency Transaction Report (“CTR”) with the I.R.S. This reporting requirement has been in effect since the passage of the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970. What all this means is that the United States government has been monitoring transactions of $10,000 and over for around thirty years. They have the names, the addresses, the account numbers stored in their computers, and once our government gets information, it’s not likely to part with it. Therefore, if you’re truly committed to keeping some of your assets private and out of the hands of an increasingly intrusive federal government, you need a plan. In fact, you need a lot of plans. And that’s where I come in.

Before you explore a plan to hide you assets, you need to know what’s legal and what’s not. Currently, the government has a number of rules and regulations in place which help it to keep track of your assets. That’s why I’ve taken some time and effort to set out most of the critical government reporting requirements, including requirements that require banks to look out for transactions and transaction patterns which fall outside the norm.

Once you’re clear on what types of transactions are reported and monitored by the government, you can work on a good, legal plan to hide your assets that won’t set off government alarm bells. For example, let’s say that you just inherited $10,000 and you decide to take the money and deposit it at your local bank -- the same bank where you keep a checking account with a usual balance of $500.00. As soon as you give the deposit slip to your teller, she is required to fill out a CTR -- the document used to report transactions of $10,000 and over to the I.R.S.

As you drive away from the bank, you assume that all paperwork in connection with your deposit has been completed. Think again. While you’re busy planning how you’re going to spend your inheritance, your bank could be busy filling out yet another form. Although your deposit was perfectly legal, let’s say the bank manager decides that there’s something suspicious about it and decides to report it pursuant to the Suspicious Activity Report. Now your name (and all other personal financial information in the possession of your bank), is on its way to Washington.

The fact is, if you were concerned about protecting your financial privacy and avoiding a possible government investigation of your account activities, you should have considered depositing your inheritance check somewhere else besides your local bank. After reading this book, you’ll have a much better idea of how to make sure your windfall ends up somewhere where some smarmy bank manager doesn’t feel obliged to tell the federal government (and God knows who else) about it. You’ll also learn how to avoid conducting transactions that Bank Compliance Officers deem to be suspicious.

Like atypical electronic fund transfers, for instance. A friend of mine who is a compliance officer for a bank down south told me that the key to avoiding detection is consistency. “If you do wire transfers consistently, they’re generally not going to be detected. You’re not going to stand out because your pattern of activity is consistent. We look out for the unusual.”

That means you’re going to arouse suspicion if you go into a bank where you usually make a weekly deposit of $2000, and ask your teller to wire $10,000 to a bank in Fiji. But if over the years you’ve established a pattern of always wiring money to your broker in NY, and you come in one day and ask your teller to wire a large check to that broker, it’s probably not going to raise any eyebrows. And then you can have that brokerage house wire the check (and maybe some other funds) to a lovely, offshore bank in Fiji.

The thing you want to always remember while you’re reading this book is that there are an awful lot of people out there who want to get their hands on your money, and on your personal financial information. Left to your own devices, you’d probably figure out one or two ways to hide your valuables and your personal information from those who would do you harm. If you put yourself in my hands, however, you’ll find that there are a multitude of ways to keep your financial information safe from prying eyes and even in some instances, the tax man. And you’ll learn that with careful planning and quiet living, you’ll be able to hide your money in places where not even your mother could find it. The choice is yours.

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