I’d like to deposit this cheque, please

22 06 2010

I was fascinated by this report, which asserts that disgraced financier Bernie Madoff allegedly gave a total of nine billion dollars to three of his friends. Presumably, this means that each friend got three billion, though I suppose there is a possibility that one friend may have been favoured with a gift of four billion while another got the shaft and only got two billion.

But it leads me to wonder: what do you say when someone gives you over a billion dollars? (“Gosh… er… thanks.”) And how does the receiver’s financial institution react when faced with a deposit of that size? (“I’d like to deposit this cheque for three billion dollars, please.” “Oh, jeez. I’ll need authorization to do that, and my supervisor’s on lunch break. Can you come back at 2:30?”)

And are the beneficiaries of Mr. Madoff’s largesse allowed to spend any of the money, or are they just expected to hold it for him? Can they keep the interest while the cash is parked with them? Wouldn’t they be tempted to siphon off just the odd million or two? How is this going to work?

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