Ethical money laundering

2005-03-01 12:00

The idea of money laundering is to take money that is in some way dirty and make it clean. For instance, a business could take in a lot of cash, some of it stolen, but as long as that’s normal for that business, it’s hard to prove anything.

Let us imagine a contrast; money which comes from sleazy companies, and is to be made clean. This is the situation with junk fax money. These companies are slimey. I think every junk faxer that’s made statements under penalty of perjury in my cases has lied. So I have to make this money clean. One way to do that is give it away.

Note that we’re not talking any kind of tax dodge; I have to pay taxes, then give away what’s left.

I first came up with this when dealing with CaDan, who were an exceptionally sleazy defendant. My original idea was just to count junk fax money against debts people owed me… But it occurred to me that this is hardly a real gift. So I decided to, instead, give money to people. I started with people who owe me money; there’s plenty of those. The plan is to give them a bit more money than they owe me.

I can predict the response. “But if they just give you the money back, that’s not really a gift!” Well, it wouldn’t be, if there were some kind of requirement or expectation to that effect.

Here’s some of the things people have done with junk faxer money:


  • Pay off her car loan, making the difference between a $100/month budget shortfall and a $100/month budget surplus

  • Rent a u-haul van to move to live near his son

  • Keep his apartment and pay for gas to go to work during a lifestyle transition

  • Actually pay me back some

  • Who knows? Sometimes I never find out what happened to it

I’d say that’s a decent track record. This money is going to single parents trying to make ends meet, college graduates with long-overdue student loans, people trying to keep a job… It’s making the world a better place. It’s worth it. What was dirty money, ill-gotten gains of people violating a federal law with open contempt for the property of others, is becoming the money that keeps someone from starving, or being kicked out on the street. It’s good now. Junk faxers, when they pay their dues, are actually helping make the world a better place. Unwillingly, but results matter.

FWIW, the current breakdown is about like this:

Legal fees: 35%
Costs: 6%
Taxes: 2%
Gifts: 57%

These numbers are approximate, even when they’re down to the penny. There’s a few special cases; one junk faxer settled for $2,000, then paid $500; we still need to talk to the courts about the breach-of-contract case. The taxes are very hard to calculate; the US tax system lumps all income together. Legal fees may sound high, but for the number of hours my lawyer’s put into these cases, it’s a pretty good bargain. He’s getting better than minimum wage, but it’s a far cry from the kinds of numbers people associate with legal efforts…

These numbers are pretty reasonable, though, and they give some idea for where all the money goes. It’s frustrating, sometimes, thinking “hey, I could just keep this money”… But what good will dirty money do me? The temptation to litigousness is too real to me; I’ll give the money away, and consider this an expensive hobby. Well, not so bad; I’m currently down by about $35, and I’ve gotten hours and hours of fun.

Peter Seebach

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Comments

  1. Thank you. Because of you, I was able to pay off old debts and be able to take better care of myself.

    I will keep fighting the good fight, promise.

    Love,
    L.

    — Your Sister in Law. Or something. · 2005-05-03 18:48 · #

  2. Thank you. Because of you I was able to take time off work following a car accident. Instead of having to climb scaffolds with whiplash waiting for a decision from the insurance company I was safe at home and am recovering much faster. I would have put myself at great risk if not for your help. My daughter thanks you, too.

    — koan · 2005-07-06 01:10 · #

  3. money laundering is not ethical

    — Bogus · 2007-03-21 12:14 · #

 
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