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©May 1998

Carol Jane Remsburg



The Wickedness of Money Laundering








It's been in the news for years now, but this is much more widespread and deeply entrenched than the public would ever be let in on.  I am amazed at the multitudes who have ended up in prison over it.  The IRS spends millions each year investigating those who do it.  I feel this money laundering issue has gotten out of hand.


It's mostly a woman thing, but men do it too, even some older kids are in on the racket.  I never would have believed that this was something criminal or I never would have engaged in it myself.  There, I said it.  I'm guilty.  I am one of the many that don't always check the pockets of the dirty clothes that come my way to be washed.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I take full advantage of it.


Mostly it's just loose change.  A few pennies become brighter, some nickels, dimes and quarters are rinsed of the residual germs while the porcelain coating of my washtub takes a beating.  I always felt it wash worth it as payment for those few nicks and scars to save up for a new washer.  Especially since the screws, nails, and butane lighters don't bring anything much in retail value after a good sudsing.


When I discovered that money laundering was a crime, I became very nervous.  I guess I'd just had my head in the sand for all these years, although they say that ignorance of the law is no protection.  It wasn't just for myself that I was upset.  I knew my whole family was under the gun.  Friends too had confided that they had reaped the bounty of their washers of coins and paper money.


I wondered if I should turn myself in.  After 17 years of perpetrating this illegality, I had a total of $42.12 in the little jar I stash my treasure in.  The judge would know that after all these years I was beyond redemption or even rehabilitation.  Would it go better for me if I turned in my family and friends for immunity?  Even if I escaped without jail time, would I be able to live with myself?  Could I stop from keeping that "found" money I was considered it as such?


My fear turned to righteousness.  What was wrong with keeping the money left in the shirts and pants pockets that I washed?  It's not like hubby wasn't aware of it because I've hounded him for years to check said pockets so all the little papers left inside don't shred into a pulp-like mass that glues itself so horribly onto everything inside the washer that I have to wash the whole load again—if not several times.  I had always viewed it as a miser's bonus from hubby for the added chores.  Moreover, if I'd just helped myself to the contents of his pockets prior to the washing, then it wouldn't be a crime at all.  It's only community property after all between a husband and wife—at least in this state.


Where does the government get off poking their noses into family business?  Oh, I forgot, that's what they think their job is.


My blustering faded back into its proper perspective only to have my anxiety build anew.  Perhaps if I get ride of the evidence, that small cash horde of change and buy hubby a new pair of jeans that would purge my guilt.  Somehow, I don't think it will work.  Could my husband be just waiting to blackmail me for leverage over the purchase of a shiny new pickup truck?  Is that the reason for his secret smirk? 


I know that I cannot stop.  Just last week there was the biggest haul yet, two one-dollar bills all fresh and clean.  They looked good and smelled quite nice after the special softener that I applied during the rinse cycle.  There wasn't even any graffiti left on them.  I hung them on my little clothesline indoors with clothespins.  They even dried pleasantly so that they could be fed into some automatic vending machine somewhere, sometime without being spat back out like a bad taste.


Everyone has always said that money is dirty and full of germs.  So what is wrong with my cleaning up just one more little dirty spot in the world?  Nothing!!  I'm going to continue with my wicked practice and hope the coppers don't try to take me alive.  If you own a washing machine, it could be you too.  All you can hope for it that when you turn state's evidence that the Federal Protection Program won't relocate you to the wilds of Wyoming or anywhere they still use old-fashioned washboards instead of the newer electric models.  That would simply be too much punishment to take.



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