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Pt 2864
I was just reading our post about the “hollow spy bolt” and ran across the government group with RSS feed that looks for stuff like this (cool job) – so it turns out mailing yourself money hidden inside brochures to get out of paying taxes hack doesn’t work via ANIMAL.

[he]… withdrew cash from his Swiss account and taped it to the inside pages of multiple brochures, careful to include just under $10,000 per brochure (staying under the federal reporting requirements). Packaging the cash-laden brochures in envelopes, he mailed each one at different times from different Swiss post offices to his Virginia residence.

It’s the “ICE team” that looks for things like this, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

ICE agents have discovered that cash – lots of it – can crop up in unexpected places before its illegal journey is intercepted. ICE has found the following and more in recent years:

  • $176,320 packed inside the pant legs of an air traveler headed for Turkey
  • $3 million hidden in a compartment of a bus headed for Mexico
  • $515,000 in a false-bottom suitcase about to embark to Columbia
  • $2.1 million concealed in a boat in Puerto Rico
  • $147,921 strapped underneath the shirt of a woman headed to Mexico
  • $186,000 rolled and concealed in cigarette packs destined for Turkey

“At ICE, we follow the money trail to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most complicated financial schemes and seize criminal assets,”…

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. robotmonkeys.net says:

    Under federal law, banks must report transactions of $10,000 or more to government to aid in money laundering investigations. What many people don’t realize is that they also report transactions that appear to be structured to get around the $10k threshold. So don’t think making 10 $9,999.99 transactions are going to go unnoticed.

  2. Kirt says:

    Hollow spy bolt was interesting because it involved making something from something else that served a purpose. This is just an article about smuggling. How does this relate to Make magazine in any way?

    If you did an article on Meth labs it would be more relevant, but I’d still question your reasons for doing so.

  3. Phillip Torrone says:

    hi kirt, thanks for the comment – i thought it was interesting that there is an entire division devoted to finding these “hacks” specifically the physical ones…

    “$515,000 in a false-bottom suitcase about to embark to Columbia”

    “$186,000 rolled and concealed in cigarette packs destined for Turkey”

    it’s spy-like related stuff, which we cover a lot in MAKE, including an entire issue devoted to it. while “spy tech” may not be an arduino project it’s in the maker spectrum.

  4. Alan says:

    This is cool stuff to read about. The ways people try to smuggle money – as well as other contraband – are often truly ingenious. If you’re looking for another topic like this for the Make blog, you might look into narco submarines.

    However, I was chagrined to see that the ICE does not know how to spell the name of Venezuela’s western neighbor. It’s ColOmbia. The ICE’s misspelling is a common error, but as a graduate of ColUmbia University, I find it particularly annoying.

  5. Mattyfu! says:

    I wouldn’t say doesn’t work so much as I’d say “can sometimes be caught”.I’d say for every person getting caught smuggling cash there are many many MANY more not.