If you are unfortunate enough to view television these days undoubtedly you have seen a J.G. Wentworth commercial. They feature a variety of folks (opera singers, bus drivers, etc.) singing about the virtues of cashing in on structured settlements. They’re kind of catchy.
(Your money’s in the bank – go to jail noooow! Google Images.)
The federal gubmint has a similar scheme to cash in on your settlements. They call it “structuring” too! I wrote about the program several years ago. It is illegal to split cash deposits (your money mind you) so as to evade the banks’ legally mandated cash reporting process. Why the government needs to know how much money you deposit or that you deposit it, period, is beyond me. Something about fighting drugs and terrorists. Or was it drugged terrorists? Anyway, it’s all codified in 31 U.S.C. 5324.
Why split up the deposits? Beats me. That’s your business – or it should be. These days everything necessarily has to involve the government. Here are two examples of otherwise innocent splitting now criminalized by our kind friends in Washington:
“2. Jane needs $18,000 in cash to pay for supplies for her wood-carving business. Jane cashes a $9,000 personal check at a financial institution on a Monday, then cashes another $9,000 personal check at the financial institution the following day. Jane cashed the checks separately and structured the transactions in an attempt to evade the CTR reporting requirement.” CTR Pamphlet, www.fincen.gov.
“3. A married couple, John and Jane, sell a vehicle for $15,000 in cash. To evade the CTR reporting requirement, John and Jane structure their transactions using different accounts. John deposits $8,000 of that money into his and Jane’s joint account in the morning. Later that day, Jane deposits $1,500 into the joint account, and then $5,500 into her sister’s account, which is later transferred to John and Jane’s joint account.” CTR Pamphlet,www.fincen.gov.
Plain as can be. Jane and John are hardened criminals and need to spend time in jail. They will. Or, at least they will get probation and “forfeit” their money to the feds. So will Janet Malone of Dubuque, Iowa. Janet’s husband died and left her with the cash rewards of his gambling hobby. Janet decided the money would be better off in a bank rather than scattered around her house. She deposited some of it in a fashion which seemed reasonable to her. The IRS, always knowing better, objected.
With all the courtesy of starving termites they seized her money and have charged her with criminal structuring. She will probably enter some sort of guilty plea. Most people do. The IRS will likely keep her cash under civil forfeiture laws. There’s really nothing civil about it. Between 2005 and 2012 the IRS so seized about a quarter of a billion dollars in this fashion. It gave some of it back. Some. This is the same agency that now pays tax refunds to criminal illegal aliens who never paid taxes in the first place. Something smells on the Potomac.
Congress is incensed by this blatant theft from the people. They could just repeal the law or, better, abolish the IRS completely. They won’t. Instead they have convened a committee! It’s focus will center on stopping IRS abuse of small businesses. As an aside they may also examine the effects of Rearden Metal exposure on unicorns.
Know this: the government wants what you have. And, they’ll get it. They don’t even need a law to justify their thievery. The White house wants to raise taxes by executive decree. Abe Lincoln did this during the war between the States. The Supreme Court belatedly found this unconstitutional. Don’t hold your breath this time.
Do not look to Congress for any help. Remember the illegals? His Excellency, President Obama, has been using his pen to flout immigration laws. The brave Republican “opposition” collapsed faster than a jellyfish beneath a steam roller. This is the way it is.
As is, either keep your money to yourself or comply with the ridiculous law whilst banking. Otherwise, you’ll end up a poor inmate somewhere. It’s kind of like the old highwayman’s motto: “your money or your life.” Except these robbers write the law. Now you know.