What If You Found A Box Full of Cash?

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What If You Found A Box Full of Cash?

-By Caleb Jones

Imagine that you come home from work one day to find a large brown box on your doorstep. It’s not labeled, postmarked, or addressed in any way. It’s just a big brown box, taped shut.

You pick up the box and bring it inside. You crack it open.

It’s full of $100 bills. They don’t look counterfeit either; they look completely real.

You’re not sure, but eyeballing the cash, you estimate the box contains about three million dollars.

Here’s the question: What do you do?

You didn’t steal the money. It was right there, waiting for you.

It didn’t fall off the back of a truck belonging to someone else. It was just sitting in front of your doorstep.

At the same time, maybe it’s drug money, or money involved in some other crime. Maybe the money was dropped onto your doorstep by accident, and it really wasn’t meant for you.

Maybe. You just don’t know. You have no idea.

Here’s the question: What do you do?

As I see it, you’ve got a few options.

Option one is that you call the police and report the money. I’m honestly not sure what the police would do. No crime has been committed, but if you lived in a quasi-police state like the USA, likely the cops would assume the money is drug money and zip on out to your place to “investigate,” i.e. confiscate the money.

Even in that scenario, you have a few options. Do you pocket a wad of those bills before the cops arrive? Like, I don't know, $20,000? No one would know, right? Or would you hand it all over, too moral or too scared to touch even one of the bills?

Option two would be to just take the money and do whatever you want with it. Would you do that?

Option three would be to keep the money, not tell anyone about it, but not use it either. Instead, you would wait a few weeks (months?) and see if anyone came around trying to claim it. After a certain period of time, then you’d feel okay spending it, and would do so.

Option four would be to take a lot of the money, let’s say about half of it, and then report it to the cops. Even if they come take it, you now have a million dollars in your mattress. If anyone comes around looking for money, you guess you’ll just tell them, “Hey man, I gave it all to the cops. Go talk to them.”

Option five would be to take the money but immediately report it to the IRS (or whatever your tax collection agency is) as income and immediately deposit it into a bank or investment house, paying your taxes, creating a paper trail, and being very legal about the entire thing.

I’ve thought about this odd scenario often. I’m not sure what I would do; I feel like this is one of those “it would have to actually happen” things before I could tell you what I’d do. I think I would do some kind of variation of option three. However, after seeing movies like A Simple Plan, I admit I’d be pretty paranoid for a while.

Do you have any more creative options than the ones I’ve listed? Seriously, what would you do?

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This article was originally published on April 29, 2018

Comments


  • CitizenX 2018-04-29 05:27:31

    For me it'd be a form of option #3. Combine that with "disappearing" to another location. That kind of money, just appearing on your doorstep would most likely be from something nefarious.. and I'm sure the folks would come looking for it.

  • justin 2018-04-29 07:22:51

    I would keep it and keep my mouth shut about it for 6 months. At that time, I would slowly utilize it buying real estate the conventional way with mortgages   and using the cash for the remodels. Sell, rinse and repeat.

  • CSR 2018-04-29 07:38:41

    The huge problem with that situation is that no matter what you do, there's someone who knows that you have had the money, at least for a brief period of time. I don't know about you, but I enjoy going to sleep without the fear of being killed, so for me, priority nº 1 would be to get rid of that money ASAP. So, option 1, go the police immediately and give them all the money. It's obvious they'll make questions but they won't have proof that you stealed the money or anything else. Option 2: extremely dangerous. You'll never have peace of mind. Option 3: same as 2 but at least you've waited a prudent amount of time. Problem is, as always, they know where the money is. They can just patiently wait to see what you do. And there's the problem of where do you hide the money. Your own home? A safe deposit box? Option 4: even worse than 2 because you've only give part of the money and the police won't be stupid enough to suppose you haven't borrowed a lot of it. They will investigate you and realize you are suddenly spending money way above your usual paycheck which means lots of questions and have both "them" and the police behind your back. Option 5: same as 2 but possibly avoiding legal problems, not sure.

  • Shura 2018-04-29 07:41:36

    This is very interesting and not infrequent at all! A quick search taught me that police, even in police-state Spain, will happily award you the money after 2 years if no one asks for it (Spanish: http://www.diariodeleon.es/noticias/leon/hombre-entrega-policia-nacional-dinero-habia-encontrado-plena-calle_1005353.html). 2 years being a very acceptable wait, I would go for option One (after taking a few wads hahaha). In today's Big Brother world, even using the money just for groceries and small consumer goods(which would only allow to spend a fraction of it in your lifetime) would arise suspicions when the State failed to find any regular expense in your bank and card statements. Therefore you would be better served reporting it outright and taking the huge cut of unjustified income (top income tax bracket). But you could be accused of theft.   In this other case, still in Spain, the finding of 56k€ whose disappearance had been reported earlier resulted in the finders being rewarded 10% of the total, as per Spanish law. http://www.europapress.es/chance/tendencias/noticia-10-jovenes-encuentran-56000-euros-entregan-policia-reciben-10-total-20131204161058.html

  • shirtlord jr. 2018-04-29 08:05:04

    It's quite easy!! 😛 (Well not that easy, since actually it depends on the nature of money itself) BUT, when the situation is like as you have described above:

    It’s not labeled, postmarked, or addressed in any way. It’s just a big brown box, taped shut.
    Then for me personally, I think there's 3 step: 1) Buffering 2) Converting 3) Investing In all of that 3 step, it could take several years to complete. [Big NO is to Spending It] *Including changing my lifestyle, habit, occupation, location* which will be very reckless choice of act. Okay, let's start.. Step 1) Buffering It's start from when I firstly found the money, which I will not to do anything about it, due to the nature of money itself and what about its origin that I don't know yet.
    I’m honestly not sure what the police would do. No crime has been committed.
    That's why I need to make sure that's there's no any development whatsoever on it's status. In the meantime maybe I could watch regular newspaper or local TV to keeping update the situation. In this range of time, I just act cool like there's nothing happened, including to my family and/or friends. Estimated time: (at least) 1 Month to 3 Months *) Just 1 week or 2 is not sufficient enough to know the true situation. Step 2) Converting After waiting several months AND theresn't any event that could be tie to the money, THEN I will start to converting it. What I mean by this is that I will start to buying gold with the money, several times in small amount, each week for a year or so. Until it reach ~30% of the value of money. For roughly calculation it takes less than 25 kg of gold for equivalent value of money at $ 1 Million. (My regular dumbbell's exercise is about 20-25 kg for each my hand) Then after that timeline, for 20 to 30% equivalent of the money's value, I will buying in a diversified Cryptocurrency. Again, do it for yearly basis and do it for each week and deposit to it little by little. Estimated time: 1-2 Years Step 3) Investing After 1-2 years and there's no any kind development on the money. I start to make investment for real asset. For example, buying several small business, real estate, or maybe in a form of stock/bond. The business, real estate, or that stock/bond must be very safe to the point of become boring investment, but it still can generate some profit. Estimated time: 2+ Years -------------------------------------- The bottom-line is I just don't immediately in spending it, and just only to spending it after it has generate profit which is maybe could take a several years. No problem, it takes time.. because by nature it's not my own money by my handwork though 🙂 On regular basis I still regular guy with same regularity. -------------------------------------- NB: If at any point someone or something came up in that above time-line, I just convert it/sell that gold/crypto/assets, since there's no value of money I've spent from it's original as like firstly I found it.

  • Anchor 2018-04-29 10:06:45

    Who really cares how it got there? I would simply operate on the assumption that it was from a generous benefactor. Quickly fly to the Bahamas or some bank haven and deposit the money. If someone actually came back to me and asked about the box of money, I could always claim innocence. Nobody would know. And that is because I wouldn't spend it all extravagantly. I would simply use the money to maintain my current lifestyle (which is good), but I would work a lot less. And since I own my own business I could easily justify any nice expenditures as a good sales cycle.  

  • Caleb Jones 2018-04-29 10:34:05

    Another idea I just thought of, reading your comments, is that you could immediately move. Immediately pack your shit and move to another city far away. You'd have more than enough money to do so. Then a lot of the possible fear would be alleviated. The problem is, and I know this well from telling men to move, is that you'd come up with a thousand excuses as to why you "couldn't."

  • CSR 2018-04-29 10:42:17

    The problem is, and I know this well from telling men to move, is that you’d come up with a thousand excuses as to why you “couldn’t.”
    First excuse: if you move, they'll know. They are already tracking you.

  • Cronos 2018-04-29 10:55:25

    Cool post. I don't know what I would do but I would be paranoid as hell. I think I would take just some of it and report the rest.

  • kevin 2018-04-29 11:09:21

    Well there was a movie about this very thing a guy found a lot of money he kept it and things got very difficult for him the movie title no country for old men

  • Piotr 2018-04-29 11:15:58

    no avengers review? disappointing ... :p

  • What 2018-04-29 11:54:40

    I really don't understand people who think 'the IRS/big brother will find out if you use it to buy $50 of groceries' don't think the IRS will especially will find out if you use it to buy fucking houses, stocks and businesses, stuff that is extremely monitored. Most crypto currency is also a bad idea, since the transaction record lasts FOREVER unless your using a few privacy coins.  And that privacy might be compromised in the future, like Monero has been in the past.

  • Dave from Oz 2018-04-29 21:44:08

    Police, but I live in Australia.

  • The Lord Humungus 2018-04-29 22:39:38

    I've thought about this scenario before too. I would definitely hide it and lay low for a while. Weeks, maybe even months. Then I would go to Vegas for like 2 weeks and play in a bunch of high stakes poker games, go to a bunch of casinos etc. Then come back and say I won a shitload (spread out here and there over the course of the two weeks) claim it on my taxes, and be good to go.

  • Investor 2018-04-30 01:04:08

    I really don’t understand people who think ‘the IRS/big brother will find out if you use it to buy $50 of groceries’ don’t think the IRS will especially will find out if you use it to buy fucking houses, stocks and businesses, stuff that is extremely monitored.
    Not only that, but unlike what most people think the penalties for "forgetting to disclose" are suprisingly low in many countries. For example, I have seen countries where you just pay 30% surchage on top of the tax you were supposed to pay. I have also seen countries where they have increased this surcharge substentially if they find out that you forgot to pay (probably because at such small surcharge it was worth just taking the risk for most people so I guess it was heavilly abused).

  • Michele 2018-04-30 01:13:50

    I would advertise the event on certain e-dating sites, and marry, with a regular contract, being one of those the gentle ladies over there call "good man".   Lol   just kidding

  • JEB 2018-04-30 02:04:52

    A quick search taught me that police, even in police-state Spain, will happily award you the money after 2 years if no one asks for it
    This is likely what would happen in most European countries, excluding eastern Europe. However, you'd have to be prepared for a full audit of your finances as well as some surveillance, as the police will likely suspect the money to be drug related. Otherwise, any drug dealer could simply launder their money clean by claiming to have found all their earnings, then waiting two years and voila. I'd likely go with something like this: -Pack a suitcase and the money -Immediately fly to another country -Use a small percentage to buy a passport or two in another country (i.e. like the five flags plan) -Move to one of the promising Asian countries -Invest most of the money in another Asian country (they don't give a rats behind where the money is from) -(Have my pharmacist license recognised in China with their booming pharmaceutical growth) Perhaps then a name change and renouncement of citizenship would be in order, but that would only be to try and mask the paper trail, since my country doesn't tax citizens living abroad.

  • Limitless 2018-04-30 02:21:05

    Option 2 or 3, without discussion. With so much money in my hands I won't have to work for the rest of my life. That 's the dream.

  • Shura 2018-04-30 03:18:16

    -Immediately fly to another country
    Good luck getting out of the EU with more than 10k€ cash undeclared. The USA can't be much different. https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/alcohol-tobacco-cash/index_en.htm

  • JEB 2018-04-30 03:59:42

    Good luck getting out of the EU with more than 10k€ cash undeclared. The USA can’t be much different.
    Good call. You could probably fly schengen to schengen without much trouble though, then cross by land. Otherwise, you could always go the entire distance by land and hope not to get searched too thoroughly.

  • Investor 2018-04-30 04:07:09

    Good luck getting out of the EU with more than 10k€ cash undeclared. The USA can’t be much different.
    Good call. You could probably fly schengen to schengen without much trouble though, then cross by land. Otherwise, you could always go the entire distance by land and hope not to get searched too thoroughly.
    Yes traveling by land outside of EU should be very easy and very unlikely to get searched. You can also convert the cash into gold/diamonds and travel with that, possibly in several trips. Gold coins will probably look like regular coins on the scans and diamond jewelry you can simply wear, possibly get some hot chikcs travel with you and get them to wear it.

  • Investor 2018-04-30 04:11:05

    However, you’d have to be prepared for a full audit of your finances as well as some surveillance, as the police will likely suspect the money to be drug related. Otherwise, any drug dealer could simply launder their money clean by claiming to have found all their earnings, then waiting two years and voila.
    Thats funny idea. Imagine some guy finding bags of one million on regular basis and always reporting them to police. Anyway converting cash into gold/jewelry is pretty easy. Then sell that for cash in another country and deposit that money in a secret bank account. There are also places where you can convert cash into cryptos (some kind of reverse crypto ATM - no experience with those though).

  • Shura 2018-04-30 04:37:19

    Gold and jewel shops in the US and EU are subject to Anti-Money-Laundering rules, that is, the State would know of your purchase. Also, the list of countries to go to has shrunk: starting this year 100 countries are sharing automatically all tax-relevant data of their citizens. It's the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Included are, of course, the whole EU (but not the US, which already have their own imperialist system) as well as many "tax havens" like Panama, Belize, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Truth be told, I'm sure in its infancy it isn't as effective as they make it sound, but the future is here. Now that we're at it, did you know that some EU countries have strict limits on how much cash you can pay? Spain and Portugal have banned cash for anything more valuable than 1k€ (it says 2500€ for Spain but it's outdated). https://www.europe-consommateurs.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/eu-consommateurs/PDFs/PDF_EN/Limit_for_cash_payments_in_EU.pdf By the way, I have it confirmed that you can't fly from the USA with more than 10k$ cash undeclared either. So far, by what I see, the best shot to flee with the money would be a land border to a non-CRS country and praying for good luck at customs.

  • Investor 2018-04-30 04:57:09

    Gold and jewel shops in the US and EU are subject to Anti-Money-Laundering rules, that is, the State would know of your purchase. Also, the list of countries to go to has shrunk: starting this year 100 countries are sharing automatically all tax-relevant data of their citizens. It’s the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS). Included are, of course, the whole EU (but not the US, which already have their own imperialist system) as well as many “tax havens” like Panama, Belize, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Truth be told, I’m sure in its infancy it isn’t as effective as they make it sound, but the future is here. Now that we’re at it, did you know that some EU countries have strict limits on how much cash you can pay? Spain and Portugal have banned cash for anything more valuable than 1k€ (it says 2500€ for Spain but it’s outdated). https://www.europe-consommateurs.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/eu-consommateurs/PDFs/PDF_EN/Limit_for_cash_payments_in_EU.pdf By the way, I have it confirmed that you can’t fly from the USA with more than 10k$ cash undeclared either. So far, by what I see, the best shot to flee with the money would be a land border to a non-CRS country and praying for good luck at customs.
    These rules are mostly for selling gold and jewelry. For buying the limit is very easy to work around: If the limit is 2000 euro you buy stuff worth 2000 euro. Then you come back 5 minutes later and you buy stuff for another 2000 euro. The limit is per transaction so that works. Of course the guy in the shop can refuse you but from legal point of view he is allowed to do this and if you tell him he either does it your way or you go somewhere else most will accept (as long as they are sure they arent breaking laws).

  • Caleb Jones 2018-04-30 13:25:56

    First excuse: if you move, they’ll know. They are already tracking you.
    How do you know? That's a little too paranoid.
    no country for old men
    Right, that's another of those "found money" movies that paint a pretty scary picture. A Simple Plan is the ultimate one though.
    no avengers review?
    Coming in about a week.
    I really don’t understand people who think ‘the IRS/big brother will find out if you use it to buy $50 of groceries’
    Correct. The IRS won't find out if you use it to buy groceries or gas or whatever, even if you do it the rest of your life. It's the big expenses they may nail you on.
    Then I would go to Vegas for like 2 weeks and play in a bunch of high stakes poker games, go to a bunch of casinos etc. Then come back and say I won a shitload (spread out here and there over the course of the two weeks) claim it on my taxes, and be good to go.
    That's a great idea, but the one issue is you'd have to drive there and drive back, since you can't legally take more than $10,000 cash with you when you fly in the USA.
    Gold and jewel shops in the US and EU are subject to Anti-Money-Laundering rules, that is, the State would know of your purchase.
    Correct. In the USA, if you buy more than $10,000 from one gold coin vendor within a calendar year, they will force you to fill out a federal form or they won't sell it to you (unless they're on the black market). You could purchase $9,999 in gold or silver (or whatever) from multiple vendors in your area, but you're limited by the number of vendors you can find.
    By the way, I have it confirmed that you can’t fly from the USA with more than 10k$ cash undeclared either.
    Correct. The USA is not a free country.

  • CF 2018-04-30 13:48:49

    I'd be paranoid. Some drug dealer probably dropped it off at the wrong location. Realistically, no way that much money can just magically be mine... Unless I won the lotto. I'd still bring it inside. But never spend it. I'll gradually open high interest accounts at different banks and credit unions to get interest. The interest can be "mine". If whomever tracked the money back to me, I'd still be able to return the "principal". If they want the interest too, well I just lost that gamble. At least it was a nice X duration of daydreaming. I cant leave the country. I'd be living my life with some level of paranoia. I wouldn't be truely free or happy.

  • BigTime 2018-04-30 14:01:20

    Let's narrow down the options.  If the bills are new, have sequential serial numbers, are marked, or if there are explosive dye packs -- you can be sure it was stolen from a bank or armored car company.  If they are old/used, 99% it is drug money.  You need to do a thorough check before deciding what to do next. Second, somebody knows it got delivered to YOUR HOUSE.  The rightful owner is going to find out from him that you have it.  Assume you are both going to have your nuts roasted with a blow torch until you talk.  So we need to dismiss any option that involves pretending you didn't receive it. In the US we have the lovely asset forfeiture laws.  That means if the cops even suspect property is crime related in any way, they can take it and make you prove it was obtained honestly.  We've all heard stories about how someone had their car, house or money taken and 10 years later they still don't have it back. So any option involving going to the cops, banks or any gov't agency is out unless you want to lose the money and spend your lifetime defending yourself.  Which means spending everything you have on lawyers.  Fun times. That leaves 2 options. If it's new/bank money, you can never spend it.  Not even a little at a time.  As soon as a bill is spent and hits the next bank, feds will be crawling all over the area.  Did I mention every store video records?  You might as well turn it in and hope for a reward. For old money, wait around to see who comes calling.  Then spend it slowly if somehow you luck out.

  • Anon 2018-04-30 16:08:13

    Plot twist: Caleb has just robbed a bank and is now contemplating possible ways of laundering his $3M : )

  • kevin 2018-04-30 17:24:40

    I think the go to Las Vegas and claim imaginary winnings on taxes is flawed because a licensed gambling place has a tax receipt they give you if you win about 600 dollars if you try to claim winnings of 400k or more their books won't balance even if you get a fake receipt if you say you won it in a private game then that is a high stakes unlicensed place And that is a problem to the IRS

  • Caleb Jones 2018-04-30 19:53:18

    I think the go to Las Vegas and claim imaginary winnings on taxes is flawed because a licensed gambling place has a tax receipt they give you if you win about 600 dollars
    Incorrect. I have won thousands of dollars in Vegas playing blackjack and they never gave me a receipt nor made me fill out anything.
    if you try to claim winnings of 400k or more their books won’t balance even if you get a fake receipt
    Yeah, if you literally drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on them, they'll probably have to report something / make you fill out something.

  • kevin 2018-04-30 21:29:25

    Hmm... the old accidental gas water heater explosion would level the house and make any remains untraceable giving you a fresh start in another city

  • The Lord Humungus 2018-04-30 23:07:01

    That’s a great idea, but the one issue is you’d have to drive there and drive back, since you can’t legally take more than $10,000 cash with you when you fly in the USA.
    well, I actually already live in Vegas, but yeah you would have to drive or take a bus.
    I think the go to Las Vegas and claim imaginary winnings on taxes is flawed because a licensed gambling place has a tax receipt they give you if you win about 600 dollars if you try to claim winnings of 400k or more their books won’t balance even if you get a fake receipt if you say you won it in a private game then that is a high stakes unlicensed place   And that is a problem to the IRS
    That's why I said poker games specifically. Poker money is taken from other players, the casinos don't track the amount you walk out with versus what you bought in for. You don't even have to purchase or trade in your chips at the same time you are playing. No way the IRS (or anybody else) is going to go around to every casino in Vegas, look at all the footage from their poker rooms, and try to track your actual net result. Impossible, even if they had some reason to try. You just want a little evidence you were actually there, playing in games where winning millions over a few weeks is at least possible. I seriously doubt the IRS would even care, they just want to be paid.

  • Investor 2018-04-30 23:07:04

    Is gamling with random dudes in a pub illegal? If not you can just say you won it that way.

  • joelsuf 2018-05-01 11:25:12

    Option 6 = Refuse the temptation to take even a dime of it, and put it on someone else's doorstep. That is a very suspicious amount of money, too much for me to worry about. So let someone else worry about it.

  • Cronos 2018-05-01 13:29:28

    put it on someone else’s doorstep
    That's like the worse option. Say a neighbour sees you while you do it. The the other guy reports it to the police and tells them they saw you putting that money on someone elses door. Now you have some explaining to do.

  • Anon 2018-05-01 13:44:37

    Now you have some explaining to do.
    Including to the thugs that will come after the money.

  • Investor 2018-05-02 01:32:22

    You can always just ignore it and leave it where you find it. If it wasn't addressed for you it has not been given to you nor has it anything to do with you, just leave it there. If you are in detached house and doorstep means actually on your property, that is something else, however again if you are not expecting it, it has not been addressed to you and there is no explanation attached then its safe to assume it was not meant for you. Therefore a good citizen thing to do would be to report it. However, no one is going to do that. But then again this is also never going to happen in the first place.

  • mago 2018-05-02 05:33:08

    Option 3, I would be fucking paranoid, after some month I would start investing I guess, so if the Mafia comes to me I could give their money back.

  • Throughfare 2018-05-02 08:54:43

    The IRS won’t find out if you use it to buy groceries or gas or whatever, even if you do it the rest of your life. It’s the big expenses they may nail you on.
    Yes, this ^ ^ What tax authorities in all western countries do is they look for what they call "changes in lifestyle" that don't have any change in earning potential to explain it. If you have an employer they know what your salary is, in a quarterly time frame (because of payroll tax remittances they get from your employer.) If you're self employed they know what your income has been in previous years, and they can call up major banking and investment transactions almost in real time from FINCEN. So let's say they get a tip, because a car dealer had to report the purchase of a luxury car (yeah, in the USA shit like that gets reported, especially for cars & boats) and they decide to look into what you're doing. Let's say you had been reporting a middle class income of something like $120k/year, but they find out you're driving a Lamborghini. They have a chart of what income is required to own and operate all luxury vehicles (and boats) and they know no one can own a Lamborghini, even their low-end model, on an income of less than about $500k/year. https://www.clearviewwealthadvisors.com/personal-finances/salary-need-lamborghini/ They will flag you, investigate whether you have a new income, and you are almost certain to experience an audit. They can even take you to court and charge you with tax evasion on the circumstantial evidence of your lifestyle change, if you can't explain where the money came from (innocent until proven guilty doesn't apply to tax matters in most western countries.) Oh, and another option is to find a lawyer you can trust implicitly, talk to him or her and see if the money can be put into an escrow or trust account, and the lawyer can handle the legalities. Then, you can travel to another country where you set up a business, and once some or all of the money is yours, you move the money to your new business flag country by legitimate business transactions between your US company or sole proprietorship and the foreign company. And use the dough to start a business, or accelerate your current one, and to kick start your move to internationalize. Don't act like moron lottery winners and buy a Lamborghini, or a bigger house! http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2016/01/why_do_70_percent_of_lottery_w.html  

  • PrepZ 2018-05-04 12:26:30

    Hmm. Interesting Q.  It took me about 60 seconds to come up with this plan.   I'd do what any reasonable person would and should do... en-TRUST it by forming an offshore  trust to hold and preserve the cash, and then benefit underprivileged women and children in poor countries with the cash until claimed. Where  to do this? Belize. If you don't know why Belize, then you've got some homework to do. You'll need at least two trustees -- a legal manager, preferably a foreign attorney, to maintain attorney/client privilege, and a 2nd trustee to manage trust investments to grow that initial cash deposit grow at least 10% per year.  The trustees, of course, will be well compensated from the trust assets for their services. The beneficiary will be an offshore charitable foundation, calling it something philanthropic sounding (New Worldwide Hope for Impoverished Kids), which you shall found with the initial cash proceeds, but NOT put your name on (don't be a "Clinton" Foundation, sheesh!). However, feel free to make yourself Director of the foundation for which you'll receive a modest salary, if you wish. Just enough to continue building your social-security payout while minimizing your US income tax liability. As grantor/settlor of this international trust, you'll retain Powers of Direction over the trustees to guide the decisions over the trust, including making investment choices and changing the beneficiary(ies)  of the trust, if and when necessary. You'll direct the trustees to loan you trust funds to invest in countries that provide economic citizenship programs as well as countries that have zero income tax, where you'll seek citizenship.  Of course, with only a couple million, you'll be buying a closet apartment in a place like Monaco, if that's even possible, or a decent pad in someplace like the Bahamas -- both zero income tax countries. Want to get that 2nd citizenship in a few months? Buy a place in Dominica or St. Kitts/Nevis. Get the quick citizenship first, then work on the harder and longer citizenship in a zero income tax country like the Bahamas. One of the things you may direct the trustees to do is offer to you, the grantor/settlor various personal and business lines of credit loans. Of course, you may make money, or loose money with those funds. If you happen to default on such loans, the trustee may have to simply write-off the lost monies and report that the the beneficiary, the foundation, with you as Director. If you're savvy with the trust assets, you'll eventually more than double that initial $3 million investment. If you're just irresponsible and blow all that borrowed money on travel, lifestyle and bad business investments, then you'll have to hope for another bag of cash to save your ass. Should anyone come looking for the money, they'd have to figure out how to deal with getting back from the trustees of an international trust over which no US law enforcement or court will have any jurisdiction.  If you've doubled the money and feel the compunction to return the original found cash, then have the trustee cut a check and live on what's left in the trust by making yourself the beneficiary of the trust, all for doing the right thing. Just my $.02

  • Throughfare 2018-05-04 20:34:52

    @PrepZ, The above sounds all very cool, but you haven't addressed the question of how you get the cash out of the police state that is the USA into Belize. Remember that the USA forbids taking more than $10,000 in cash or cash equivalents without reporting it. If you take more and report it, it goes to FINCEN, and IRS personnel have direct access to FINCEN records from their desktops (as well as Homeland Security, which may take an interest in you right at the airport.) If you wire the money, or send it in any other, the FINCEN reports are still required. This is why I was recommending investing in a business that sends money to your foreign country by legitimate business transactions. And concerning Belize as a country to do business in, my opinion is that the place is run by nutbars and thugs. Great place to visit if you want to go to a (reputable) resort and snorkel & fish. Terrible place to go if you want to do business that depends on the Rule of Law.  

  • PrepZ 2018-05-04 21:24:04

    Ah, the devil's in the details. I had posted a lengthy reply to address those sticky points. But it was lost when the page errored out. So, I'll just say that this is a thought experiment, not a comprehensive plan. I quickly banged out the outline of how someone could successfully handle said situation while remaining completely legal, and sidestep a few landmines. If you happen to find that bag of cash, feel free to hit me up for the details on handling that cash. Of course, you'll not deny me a tidy consulting fee for my services.

  • Sachmo 2018-05-25 02:44:18

    Interesting scenario.  This was mentioned before, but the first movie that comes to mind is No Country for Old Men. There's no way that the original owner of that money wouldn't be looking for it.  Leaving it at your doorstep was probably some desperate act to avoid a run in with the police, or getting killed or something by the original owner. And to have $3M in cash, my guess is that the original owner is not some guy who's just a normal businessman or something like that, more likely some extremely successful drug dealer or something else illegal. In any business where you can't deposit cash in the bank (think legal marijuana industry), the only feasible alternative is to secure money with guns.  Original owner definitely has guns. He's going to come looking for his money at some point, and I would give strong odds that he finds you. Not worth getting killed over money.  Option 4 hopefully avoids that, and also hedges bets with the police.  If you report the money, you can get the protection of the police, from whomever this is.

  • jack 2018-10-21 11:44:32

    First thing to do is to go through it, wearing gloves and a mask, assume it might be laced with meth particles or worse. Clean the money, wash it and dry it properly. But first make sure there isn't an RFID chip tucked in somewhere or a tracking device, do this first. Then after you're sure, vacuum seal the cash and hide it away for a few months. Perhaps launder it slowly buying untraceable items. Pretend that you don't have it, don't go buying expensive clothes or restaurant meals, tips. Pay for things with change, act like you're penny pinching. Above all TELL NO ONE, even your spouse. Ignorance = safety. When you're sure you're relatively safe and no one's following you, start buy buying used items at sales, swap meets, garage sales and resell or have a garage sale yourself. If the IRS does come knocking keep records of those garage sales,photos etc.  

  • Steven C. 2020-08-09 15:44:50

    Some decades ago, a teen-age boy found a bag of money on the Toronto subway (Ontario, Canada).  He turned it into the police and received a receipt for the money, which was a few hundreds of thousands of dollars.  After a year and a day had passed, the police returned the full amount to him as it was unclaimed.  I imagine anyone claiming the money would have had to provide sufficient details to convince the police that they were the lawful owner, and the money was placed in a trust until the boy was a legal adult.

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