1. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania

    Gold's the worst idea

    Discussion in 'Research' started by I Am Vague, Jan 31, 2015.

    I have a character who comes into a massive amount of cash. It's earned illegally through pushing/ manufacturing drugs, so for someone to just empty a huge amount of money into their bank account would definitely raise some suspicion. The character has always had a low level job his whole life, is young, and could in no way get this much by any traditional means. He keeps it in his home or just around places he frequents.

    At one point, he decides it is safer to hide his riches, but the quantity has grown so much by the first time he thinks of this idea, that hiding it is no longer an option. He decides to convert it. One friend of his who has "connections", to say it plainly, can do this for him. Gold is his first choice, but obviously it won't work. Gold bars are hard to come by, they take up space, there'll be a lot of them, and they're heavy.

    Gold is unconventional because of its inconvenience. More importantly, its value changes. I'm trying to decide what material/ substance/ item is valuable enough to use as a placeholder for all the money, just for the time being. Something that can be "redeemed" and the value will not change (Or seldom change) and will rise if anything.
     
  2. plothog
    Offline

    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    514
    Location:
    England
    Diamonds are probably the most obvious option which is often used in crime fiction, because you can get a lot of value into a small place.

    Antiques and collectibles could be good, because only an expert would know how valuable they are. Thus even if someone did raid your property they may fail to find your wealth.
     
  3. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    Diamonds are the only alternative I can think of. This works especially well because others will avoid the moral dilemma of buying conflict diamonds. Fortunately, this is not the case with my MC! This is the best case I can think of, but I was just wondering if there were any other ways I haven't thought about. As for collectibles, it would be less suspicious if found, and you have an excellent point about them keeping their value, I just don't particularly know of what I would choose for him to receive, and they would definitely be harder to acquire in my opinion because of their rarity.
     
  4. daemon
    Offline

    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    1,361
    Likes Received:
    982
    Maybe set the story in a world where some kind of perfected cryptocurrency has become a universal currency. In theory, cryptocurrency perfectly meets all your requirements, namely because of the fact that it cannot be traced and the fact that it poses no physical inconveniences.

    Read about Ross "The Dread Pirate Roberts" Ulbricht and the Silk Road. Think about how things might have progressed if he had not been caught (by old fashioned detective work, to note, not by any vulnerability in the system) and if BitCoin had gone on (or will go on?) to become the de facto world currency.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  5. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Buy property. If you're smart about which area that is, the value of your properties would grow. At the very least you can rent it out and be earning cash from it. That's how rich people usually invest in order to make more money, I think? (invest in properties, then either keep it, let it, or sell it) Buy shares and stocks strategically, too.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
    Offline

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    2,636
    Likes Received:
    1,731
    Location:
    Virginia, United States
    Fine art. Famous paintings, sculptures, or the like. They don't depreciate with time. They get more expensive. Granted, those would be things he couldn't hide. So he could claim they are cheap knockoffs to those close to him.

    Have you ever seen Breaking Bad? The MC cooks meth. Once he has too much money to simply "deposit" into his account without arising suspicion, he buys a business and just claims that the extra money is profit from the business. Slowly, of course. Eventually they have to buy a storage locker and fill it with the money. :p

    That's all I got. :( Good luck!

    Edit: You could always have your MC pay to forge a death certificate of a "long-lost auntie." lol Instant inheritance, no hiding need.
     
  7. J Faceless
    Offline

    J Faceless Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    New England
    Fun fact, you know tide detergent. It is a common form of international currency for the outlaw world. Has a standard value and watering it down and then exporting it to china is a major thing. Drug dealers are known to accept tide detergent in place of actual cash in a lot of places. You could also do emeralds as you can use them as currency in south America and Caribbean. In another country you pawn it getting the money for it. Gold bars are heavy, and suspicious, not to mention hard to move.
     
  8. Robert_S
    Offline

    Robert_S Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    163
    Actually, diamonds are a bad investment. They are artificially inflated, so resale value is poor.

    Other precious gems are a better choice, but may be hard to come by.
     
  9. Robert_S
    Offline

    Robert_S Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2013
    Messages:
    874
    Likes Received:
    163
    Anything that leaves a paper trail is going to be a bad choice. It'll raise a red flag on someone's computer.

    So, it's getting harder and harder to do this.

    You may need money laundering. If this is taking place today, perhaps bitcoins or some other form of decentralized currency. Otherwise, you'll need to go to the black market and the deep web to find a means of hiding the money.
     
  10. Jack Asher
    Offline

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,571
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Location:
    Denver
    Bearer Bonds are completely unregistered by the government or any agency, can be issued by any company, have a constant legal value, and are completely untraceable.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearer_bond
     
    Robert_S likes this.
  11. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,995
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    Collectible postage stamps? The top-end famous collectibles would probably leave too much of a paper trail, but something like the Penny Black, for example, is not rare. I believe a good used example is worth a few hundred, and a good unused example several thousand. And they take up almost no space. (Well, the stamp itself takes up almost no space; I don't know precisely how one would protect several dozen or hundred--an ordinary stock book or something fancier/bulkier?)
     
  12. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    I also got the idea for emeralds, seeing as they are far rarer than diamond, and the demand for diamonds has been manipulated over the years. I looked up how much emerald was, and they go for around 3,800 per carat. That's 200mg, and that's $19,000 for a gram of emerald. A pound of emerald would cover about 8.5 million dollars. Diamond is less than half of that value, going at about 1,500 dollars per 200mg and he would control at least large chunk of the supply for emerald if he chose this path.

    There's not really competition in the emerald department, and it would take up much less space. And diamond would cover a little over 3 million per pound.

    However, I have no idea if this would work in real life. I'm sure anyone who could get massive amounts of diamond could also get massive amounts of emerald if they knew the right people. I know diamond is possible, but is emerald?

    Also, I don't know if I just like the thought of a chest full to the rim of glittering diamond, or a chest with several large chunks of emerald sitting inside.
     
  13. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    Collectibles seems to work out fine, at least in retrospect, but overall I'd have to think they aren't worth it. Acquiring them would be cumbersome, and then housing them, keeping them in pristine condition, and then finding a buyer, let alone one who gives you the amount you ask for, all of this is a factor. Plus, depending on the rarity, it could very easily be made public. I'd much rather not interact with other people who might spill the beans.
     
  14. Aled James Taylor
    Offline

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2013
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    462
    Location:
    UK
    Avoiding a paper tail would be the primary concern so purchasing anything might be a problem.

    I'd delegate. Give the money to trusted companions to look after. In smaller chunks it would be easier to manage and if anything went wrong, someone else would go to jail. What could possibly go wrong?
     
  15. Howard_B
    Offline

    Howard_B Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    52
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Big bills .. private plane to the Caribbean. No questions asked Bank. Job done. It's fiction.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,995
    Likes Received:
    5,503
    Well, that's why I'm talking about common collectibles. While I was looking up the value of the Penny Black, I ran across an article by someone who claimed that a buyer in mainland China had put in an order for ten thousand Penny Blacks. Yes, it's a collectible, but a collectible can also be a commodity.
     
  17. Bryan Romer
    Offline

    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    891
    Likes Received:
    381
    He doesn't need to convert it, he needs to launder it. Make it appear to be legal income. There are criminals who will do that for you for a fee. Or you could set up a business and claim large profits. So long as you pay your taxes, it is unlikely you will be investigated unless you as a person are already under investigation.
     
  18. Patra Felino
    Offline

    Patra Felino Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Colombia
    You mentioned that your character got the money from drugs. Don't know whether you can fit this into your story, but Colombia is the world's biggest supplier of emeralds.
     
  19. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    He's a kid more or less around the age of 20, so starting a business would only be possible if he was a faceless figure and got someone else to run it for him and to keep quiet. That could happen, but obviously people would want their cut, and he'd have to invest a large portion in something that's public and can be seized if he's caught. Plus, I don't want to copy off of breaking bad XP

    Anyways, paying someone off, all the expenses to be stuck in a business that could be busted or fail, plus whoever he hires would have to know about his situation (At least the higher ups) are all variables in the situation. Walter had Skyler, someone he could trust, but my MC has no one like that, and a kid doesn't have access to much. Especially him, who's been a failure all his life and a drug addict. That's another possible person to talk and lead everything back to him if shit hit the fan. Basically this kid only trusts himself.

    Sorry for being picky, everyone, and infuriating you all >_< Feel free to defend your ideas and tell me I'm full of shit.

    But yes, Patra, Colombia was my first thought when I came up with emeralds. I forget what it is exactly but they're the most valuable. They're mixed with some certain element that makes them better than others, although I forget which one. That's kind of why I went with diamonds/ emeralds, because the exchange can literally go cash-in-hand, gems-in-hand, end of transaction. No record of it ever happening, as far as I can think...

    It's pretty much between emeralds and diamond at this point, (Thank you ALL for your other suggestions, I appreciate and have gone over all of them, but this just hits me better). I kind of really like this idea because I imagined him seeing, either on the news or something, that the underground diamond trade has exploded and that someone is causing it, although they do not yet know who. It'll give him something to think about, and he can mull over how sinister his actions are.

    Now the only remaining choice is either Colombian emerald or African diamond...
     
  20. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    +1 for this.
     
    Mckk likes this.
  21. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    I can still use the property option, there are in fact two different kids who are in similar situations. One can use the gem idea, the other can use either bitcoins or property. The second kid is 18 does not come into nearly as much money but can use his mother, who he can trust, to cover the business end. I actually didn't even think of him because he's an antagonist to a degree.

    Now there are two questions,
    Emeralds or Diamond?
    and
    What type of property or business would he invest in?
     
  22. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    Firstly, on the diamond idea- surely if someone were buying up lots of diamonds and not in the jewellery business it would raise eye-brows?
    In terms of the type of property or business- how about a car wash?
     
  23. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    I must be thinking of it the wrong way. The way I imagine an underground diamond/ emerald deal going down is that they're mined or found by slaves for lack of a better word, given to the highest up eventually, and then exchanged somewhere low key. After that, snuck into the US etc etc etc. Of course it would be in small increments. I may be completely wrong, however, because I've never dealt diamonds before.

    Car wash would work, but it's in the show! Walter White already thought of it :D. Well... actually Skyler did.
    But I could always just have him take inspiration from watching the show! It is more or less only to have an explanation for the money, and seeing how it worked in the show, it'd work there too, it is fiction after all.
     
  24. Chinspinner
    Offline

    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    1,019
    Location:
    London, now Auckland
    It is not my area of expertise, but these days aren't diamonds stamped or something to ensure they come from reputable mines and to allow them to be traced? I mean I am sure there are people who find ways around this, but don't know much about it.

    Yeah, the car wash was a joke. If it was me it would be buy-to-let properties.
     
  25. I Am Vague
    Offline

    I Am Vague Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Altoona Pennsylvania
    I couldn't tell if it was a joke or if just by happenstance mentioned a car wash. I'm stupid

    I think diamonds bought by De Beers weren't intended to be purchased from those types of people. I know Sierra Leone diamond dealers didn't care who was buying as long as it was money they could have. I've also read a book about the trade (I forget the name unfortunately, it's been so long...), but it didn't cover much of the actual dealers' interactions, just a few tidbits, so I can only assume the rest. It mentions cases full of rough diamond before being shipped and unnamed buyers. I'm not sure about these days though, or to what extent the trade is operating.

    I could always have the mother invest in a hotel/motel, or even a casino. A casino would be cool... and would reap massive amounts of income if it got going.

    Or I could just have them purchase a laser tag arcade...
     

Share This Page