Don't Get Busted While Banking

 

When the fellow standing next to you in line at the gas station pulls a thick wad of cash out of his greasy jeans, it’s polite to avert your eyes here in Humboldt.  But the Feds aren’t averting their eyes any longer from what is rumored to be the thick wads of cash that enter our banks. According to the Press Democrat, “Federal regulators are instructing North Coast banks to scrutinize their customers’ financial transactions for signs of money laundering and drug deals, the result of the region’s reputation for marijuana production….the North Coast had been designated a high-risk area for money laundering.”  The article goes on to quote Mike Leonard a former Sheriff’s Detective who now works for a bank. ““We are both a federally designated high-intensity drug area, and a high-intensity financial crime area,” Leonard said. “There is more drug cash circulating in our economy.”

According to rumors, the local banks have very different cash patterns than the rest of the state.  Most banks, to meet the needs of their customers, must get cash from the Federal Reserve Banks. They need the bills to put in ATM’s and hand out over the counter.  Humboldt and Mendocino banks actually have a surplus of cash that they turn in to the Federal system.  One local banker I talked to wanted to confirm this fact.  She contacted a representative of the FDIC and asked for a break down by county of how much cash is transacted through banks.  In return, she was told they were not able to provide this information.  But the rumors persist and the article in the Press Democrat seems to confirm this.

So, when you have a bunch of money from the sale of oh, say…parsley at the local farmers’ market, how do you avoid drawing federal attention with this increased scrutiny that Humboldt and Mendocino are getting?  Under normal conditions, any cash transaction of over $10,000 requires a report to the IRS.  So, theoretically one could deposit $9,999 every day without drawing attention. But, here’s a hint, that’s a little ballsy.  Might want to keep it under that…waaaay under that.

According to the Press Democrat, “regulators have pushed North Coast banks to install advanced equipment that allows bankers to closely monitor the transactions of all customers and report any suspicious activity to regulators and law enforcement agencies.”  I’ve talked to two people in the banking business that say that they are required to report any transaction that looks unusual especially those involving cash.  So, should you actually have a market for your…parsley, be very careful how you deposit the proceeds or you might have to explain why your parsley farm is so lucrative.

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7 comments

  • Is the term “skunky twenties” used anywhere else?

  • Hmmmm……. I haven’t got any parsley in my garden but there’s lots of basil. What’s the going rate for basil these days?

  • Hmmmm……. I haven’t got any parsley in my garden but there’s lots of basil. What’s the going rate for basil these days?

  • Sydney Setterlund

    Humboldt has the most unusual problems! In the words of Rosanne Rosanna Danna, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” I live in a world where it’s hard to believe that having too much cash can be a problem!

  • Sydney Setterlund

    Humboldt has the most unusual problems! In the words of Rosanne Rosanna Danna, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” I live in a world where it’s hard to believe that having too much cash can be a problem!

  • Some years back I got an inheritance check and deposited it locally. When I went back on the ninth day to see about the check clearing, the tellers eyes got wide. I said “What, did they add zeroes?”… caught in an awkward place she nodded yes, then no. I said “am I a millionaire?” and she nodded yes and no again, and went for the supervisor. Whoosh, one minute you are a millionaire, the next you are not. I suppose Homeland Security will be coming for me anyday.
    Having told my parents when I was young that I would retire at 55 as a millionaire, I did retire and was, on paper, for a very short time, a millionaire… somewhere in heaven my folks got a good laugh and I…. felt like a million bucks.

  • Some years back I got an inheritance check and deposited it locally. When I went back on the ninth day to see about the check clearing, the tellers eyes got wide. I said “What, did they add zeroes?”… caught in an awkward place she nodded yes, then no. I said “am I a millionaire?” and she nodded yes and no again, and went for the supervisor. Whoosh, one minute you are a millionaire, the next you are not. I suppose Homeland Security will be coming for me anyday.
    Having told my parents when I was young that I would retire at 55 as a millionaire, I did retire and was, on paper, for a very short time, a millionaire… somewhere in heaven my folks got a good laugh and I…. felt like a million bucks.

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