The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Who Needs Fiction: Forgery on a Grand Scale


I guess if you're going to commit a crime, it might as well be a big one so the pay off would be worth the risk. A friend sent me an article form which I've excerpted a portion below. You can read the whole article here.

Italy Intercepts Billions in Fake Treasuries

Ever since two middle-aged men with Japanese passports were caught in Italy this month trying to smuggle a purported $134.5 billion in United States government bearer bonds into Switzerland, the Internet has been abuzz with theories.

Was the Japanese government, or some other creditor nation, secretly trying to dump Treasury bonds to drive down the value of the dollar? Had the Italian mafia stolen the equivalent of 1 percent of the American gross domestic product, using the paper, which supposedly was instantly convertible into cash, to run a giant scam?

Adding spice was the whole Bond — James Bond — aspect of the tale. A crowded customs checkpoint near the Alps; two men traveling on a local train, professing that they had nothing to declare; and a false-bottom suitcase containing United States government bonds made out in stratospheric denominations.

In all, the Italian financial police and customs guards confiscated 249 paper bonds, each supposedly worth $500 million, and 10 bonds with a face value of $1 billion each.

Too bad the bonds were fake.

“The whole thing is a total fraud,” Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, said Thursday. “They don’t look anything like real securities, which in any case were never issued in any of those denominations.”

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