Another question about money

What would happen if I walked into a Porsche dealer and hunked down the requisite tens of thousands of dollars in cash (as opposed to financing, or writing a check)? I see four possible responses:

  1. The dealer gleefully accepts the money and then lets the matter drop.

  2. The dealer accepts the money and then notifies the DEA/IRS/??? of a “questionable” financial transaction.

  3. The dealer refuses to accept the money and makes those calls.

  4. The dealer fills out a few extra pages of paperwork in case this transaction is ever evidence in a criminal proceeding of some kind, but then takes the money and lets the matter drop.

I suppose the same scenario could be applied to other merchants as well: realtors, boat dealers, banks, etc.

Anybody have any thoughts on the issue?

2) The dealer accepts the money and then notifies the DEA/IRS/??? of a “questionable” financial transaction.

I think this is the action that would be taken. IIRC, they are require by law to report transactions over $10,000.

But hell if they’re gonna refuse that kind of cash, being the the greedy @!#?@! they are.

(Can you tell I’m bitter towards car dealerships?)

<marquee>Gotta test this feature</marquee>

If you have the precise amount in Federal Reserve Notes (or U.S. Notes, if you remember them), I think the dealership has to take the money under the Legal Tender laws. (Just because something is often done illegally, as with the tender of large amounts of cash, does not preclude its being done legally.)

Um, amend that. If there is any explicit or implied contract, e.g., if you’ve signed the paperwork, or they’ve advertised that they will sell car X for $15,000, then they are compelled to take the money. As to whether they are required to accept an amount that would require them to make change, e.g., you give them 20 $1000 notes for a $19,500 car (including tax, title, dealer prep. charges, and whatever else they think up to tack on) and expect them to come up off $500 in change, I think the policy on this is already set in the tacit acceptance of stores that post “No $100 bills after 6 PM” and such.

They don’t have to accept cash. Don’t even have to accept a $1 if they say so. This is america, right?

Yes, they must report any cash transaction over $10000. Correct. So does the bank when the bank gets the cash.

Odd. I’m in Canada and now you have me wondering if something similar applies here. Also, is this specifically just cash money? Some time ago I cashed in a whack of mutual funds to buy a car - gave the dealer a check for $32 plus thousand and there were not only no forms or extraneous paperwork, they didn’t even want the check certified. Surely a check this size would have to included in any notifications, etc.???


Dilbert: But that would be dating myself
Dogbert: Well, it’s not like anyone else would date you

When I bought my last car (back in 84) I paid $7,000.00 for it. My S&L was right across from the dealer. He wanted a certified check or cashier’s check. I told him that was fine by me but he would have to deduct the cost of the check processing. He took cash without questioning.

A couple of shady characters bought a Benz off of me (well, my dealership, with myself as the agent) at an auto auction once. It was a plain vanilla old Benz and they paid about 14K for it, with a $4,100 check and $9,900 cash. Jesus, was I nervous, counting out this huge wad of money in a parking lot in Pennsylvania, a two hour drive from home.

Once the money was counted and the deal done, one of them hopped in the car and parked it with the four other cars the two guys had bought that day, all older high line cars in the 10-15 thousand dollar range. That damned check cleared like it was made out of gold. You can bet those guys didn’t want anything bouncing, not when you’re doing the laundry like that.

And no, we didn’t report it. In an industry with a population of sociopaths only slightly lower than that of showbusiness and politics, car people learn quickly to “mind they own.”

Of course most don’t report it! How are dope dealers driving kick a** cars! They are pretty cash-based individuals. Pimps and the like pay cash, and something tells me they don’t report anything to the IRS.

gordo, it’s entirely possible that these guys keep their money in a safe-deposit box so they don’t have their large cash deposits reported, find out the price of the car, and go get a cashier’s check for the total.

Um, not that I’m a dope-dealing pimp or anything.

This nifty site explains the ins and outs of filing form 8300, the report to the IRS of a cash transaction of $10,000 or more.

As for focing the dealer to accept the cash, sorry, no go, the law does NOT require anyone to accept cash in payment of a sale. The notation that a dollar bill is ‘legal tender for all debts, public and private’ is merely a notation that the bill CAN be used for legal tender, as opposed to unauthorized coins or bills (remember, the right to issue money is limited to the federal government under Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution).

Okay, so I read the IRS page and it just raises another question: a cashier’s check or money order is considered cash but a personal check is not. Huh??? What the heck is the reasoning here? If you got a $20,000 money order, the bank would have to report the transaction and so would the car dealer; but if you wrote a personal check no one would report it …

Assuming there’s a similar Canadian law (still working on this, but I think it’s a reasonable assumption), this might explain why the dealer didn’t want a certified check from me - this would cause some extra paperwork on their end.

Dilbert: But that would be dating myself
Dogbert: Well, it’s not like anyone else would date you

I think your’e misunderstanding what’s going on here, supernerd. The purpose of all of this is to try to catch moneylaunderers. You only report traveler’s checks, etc. if the face amount is for under $10,000 and added to cash or other traveler’s checks to make a total transaction for over 10K. While this is done most commonly with bank checks, let’s use traveler’s checks in our example.

The buyer is probably trying to get around the all cash rules by going to a Bank A and buying a traveler’s check for 5K in cash (no reporting), walking across the street to Bank B and repeating the process (again, no reporting), and buying something from you. If the whole transaction is paid for with a single traveler’s check of over 10K, you don’t have to report it, because the bank already did.

They don’t worry about personal checks both because they are easy to trace and because the kinds of people they are targeting with the law generally don’t have a personal checking account or are too smart to do anything that traceable. So if Sofa King received a personal check and the cash, he’s fine. If he got a bank check and the cash, he should have filed the form.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Nope, sorry, I still don’t get it

As I understand the rules, I could just as easily go to bank A, deposit $9,999 dollars (cash), go to bank B, deposit $9,999, repeat as required. Then, I could go to the car lot and write them a series of personal checks (or cheques, as all good Canadians call them (sorry, had to mention this at least once)) on the different accounts that total over the ten k limit and this will never be reported by anyone.

BTW, in a few drunken episodes a few friends and I have come up with ‘perfect’ crimes - grab a large amount of money in such a way that no one can ever trace the crime back to you. We’ve come up with some really clever concepts (never actually tried any of them, honest), but the lingering question has always been: how do you get rid of that much folding cash money? Obviously I’m just a newbie at this kind of thing but it seems to me that converting the cash into bank deposits is the key to making crime pay.

I know, I know - this is the essence of the whole concept of ‘money laundering’, a subject that probably could be another thread on it’s own, but we’ve never had the energy to research the concept.

Disclaimer: our best plans were born from much beer and wine and we (as far as I know) never intended to actually do anything with them. Please DO NOT TRY TO BLAME ANYTHING ON ME. Thanks.

Dilbert: But that would be dating myself
Dogbert: Well, it’s not like anyone else would date you

According to a manager at Norwest (soon to be Wells Fargo) they report every transaction over $5,000.
The folks who want to do the laundering figured this out real early. Note that SofaKing’s check was for $4,100.

To write a personal check, you need to have a checking account at the bank, which means that you must have given them positive identification. Every check you write is specifically associated with that account, so if your transactions are ever audited, there is a very easy paper trail to follow.

On the other hand, you don’t need a bank account to get a money order. If you have $10,000 cash in your pocket, you can walk into any random bank and get a money order for that amount. (IIRC, you don’t even need to show ID.) This makes it harder to trace money orders than personal checks, which is why the IRS wants as much information about them as it can get.

Of course I don’t fit in; I’m part of a better puzzle.

Theoretically, that won’t work. If the cashier’s check requested is for more than $10,000, and is paid for in cash, the bank must report the transaction. If multiple cashier’s checks totaling $10,000+ are presented for purchace, the dealership must report the transaction.

Banks are also required to report in the aggregate. That is, if one deposits $1000 at a time 10+ times at the same bank over X period of time, the bank must generate a report. Nifty programming involved there, to be sure.

As for the $9900 cash/$4100 check example, that too, by regulation, must be reported as a “suspicious” transaction. Penalties for non-reporting are steep enough to bankrupt most companies. It’s not a regulation you want to “forget”.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

I once bought a car straight-out, no financing. We paid by check, maybe certified, I don’t remember. Anyway, as we were wrapping up the deal, my wife asked if we might get a cash discount, since they’re getting paid up front and won’t have to wait years for their money. The guy was unusually candid, and suprised me with “Actually, we’d prefer if you financed it. I would have gotten a 1/4% commission on the loan.” (That was 15 years ago. I’m a lot less naive nowadays.)

Best way to buy a car is to invite said seller for a drink or two or three. Eventually, you’ll get a very low price.

That’s kinda how my mother bought her last van. It was paid for up front with (1) a personal check from my checking account (2) a personal check from her checking account and (3) the remainder in cash. She did not want to finance it and pay the car dealership outrageous interest, so it was paid for with cash from my dad’s emergency fund, as much as she could spare from her account and the remainder borrowed from me (but with the check written directly to the dealership). The only thing the salesman did was call to verify there was enough funds in the accounts to cover the checks.

I moonlight as a poker player, sometimes playing fairly high limits. After a good night you may win $1500-$3000, and the casino always pays in cash. So after a while you can wind up with a lot of cash. You also get in the habit of carrying a lot with you, because you should have at least $1000 in cash just to sit down in a medium-limit game.

I’ve paid a lot of bills and bought a lot of things by just pulling out a wad of hundreds and peeling them off. I’ve never had anyone look twice at it. But it does make me uncomfortable. So what I’ll usually do is throw a $500 overpayment on my credit card any time I’m at a bank and let the balance build up, then just use my credit card for purchases.