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U.S. AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATE BURIED LOOT
An E-Sylum reader forwarded this article about a mystery hoard of buried U.S. banknotes. Accompanying the article is a nice slide show of images from the mutilated currency division of the Treasury department in Washington, D.C. -EditorThe businessman arrived at the Treasury Department carrying a suitcase stuffed with about $5.2 million. The bills were decomposing, nearly unrecognizable, and he asked to swap them for a cashier's check. He said the money came from Mexico.
Money like this normally arrives in an armored truck or insured shipping container after a bank burns or a vault floods. It doesn't just show up at the visitor's entrance on a Tuesday morning. But the banking habits of Franz Felhaber had stopped making sense to the government long ago.
For the past few years, authorities say, he and his family have popped in and out of U.S. banks, looking to change about $20 million in buried treasure for clean cash.
The money is always the same decaying $100 bills from the 1970s and 1980s.
Felhaber is a customs broker, a middleman.
His company, F.C. Felhaber & Co., is just minutes away from the bridge between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Tens of billions of dollars of Mexican goods cross that bridge each year, aided by people such as Felhaber who navigate the customs bureaucracy.
Customs brokers don't own the stuff that comes into the United States. They just make sure it gets here.
So it is with the $20 million. Felhaber says the money is not his.
To read the complete article, see: Buried loot a mystery for authorities (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080728/
Wayne Homren, Editor
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