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$98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: haikuman
Date: November 12, 2013 12:36AM
[news.yahoo.com]

New Haven, Connecticut Rabbi Noah Muroff bought a desk he found listed on Craigslist and ended up discovering a bag filled $98,000 cash stuffed inside the purchase. Rabbi Noah told WTNH News 8 that when he got the piece of office furniture home, "The desk didn’t fit into this office by fraction of an inch.” He and his wife attempted to take the hinges off his office door, but that didn’t help. So they unscrewed the desktop and noticed something unusual. "Behind the drawers there is this plastic bag, like a shopping, I’m talking about. And in that bag, I could already see through the bag, there’s it looks like a hundred dollar bill,” said Rabbi Noah. He continued, "We open it up and it's full of cash. We count it up and there's $98,000 cash sitting in the bag…Right away my wife and I sort of you know looked at each other and said, ‘We can't keep this money.’"



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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 12, 2013 05:28AM
Interesting ethical delimma..

Your first instinct is like the Rabbi's - return it the owner.

But who is the owner? The person who previously had the desk was obviously unaware it was there. Perhaps they never even knew. Perhaps they received the desk from someone else? Regardless they seemed to have not been concerned. So returning it to them is not necessarily returning the money to it's rightful owner as that person may have no more claim than the Rabbi.

Keep it? you bought it, no matter how unintentional. Technically you are the rightful owner now. But that really doesn't seem right.

Give it to charity? Here it would do the most good, but is it yours to give? that takes the question full circle.

It could be a fun question in an ethics class.



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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 12, 2013 05:52AM
while you think about these difficult choices, you better invest this in a savings account or money market to get some interest. Then think about it.
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 12, 2013 06:10AM
as that person may have no more less claim than the Rabbi.


If I were to keep it, I'd leave it in the desk.

It would be cash spending money on small to medium items, groceries, no big purchases. No bank, no interest, no taxes.

The other consideration is where that money originally came from. If the money is from ill-gotten gains, the serial numbers *might* get flagged.

THAT'S a dilemma!






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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: haikuman
Date: November 12, 2013 06:21AM
The equation is rather simple
$98,000 ÷ Hookers and Booze

phffft ~!~



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"






Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2013 06:23AM by haikuman.
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: November 12, 2013 06:32AM
You can bet that with the publicity, the seller on CL will claim the money is his. Unless, of course, as RAMd®d suggests, it's "ill-gotten." I would suggest waiting a reasonable period of time, and if no one comes forth with a plausible claim to the money (e.g. "It was my late uncle's desk, and the $98k is in his accounts ledger—see?"), it's yours.

/Mr Lynn



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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: November 12, 2013 07:33AM
I found about $20 worth of quarters in a couple of broken arcade games that I bought for $5... that was a pretty good day.

Both games were repairable, probably put all of $75 into both of them.
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: November 12, 2013 08:15AM
Generally when you buy a thing, you buy the contents as well. Certain exceptions apply to legal documents or classified documents (there have been cases of surpus military furniture sold with classified documents still in them).

Ethically ? Being a Rabbi, he had no choice. Although accepting it as a gift from God for the Temple would have been kind of cool.
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: Acer
Date: November 12, 2013 08:52AM
Quote
RAMd®d
as that person may have no more less claim than the Rabbi.


If I were to keep it, I'd leave it in the desk.

It would be cash spending money on small to medium items, groceries, no big purchases. No bank, no interest, no taxes.

The other consideration is where that money originally came from. If the money is from ill-gotten gains, the serial numbers *might* get flagged.

THAT'S a dilemma!

Yup, that's the dilemma. Or what if the "rightful" "owners" "send" their "boys" over to "inquire" about the "lost" "item." IYNWIM. This is why I am content not to find money in a bag on the street. Who needs the stress?
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: mikebw
Date: November 12, 2013 09:21AM
Go to a bank with a black ski mask on your face and demand they take the money!
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: mrlynn
Date: November 12, 2013 09:32AM
I hadn't read the article when I suggested that the previous owner might step up to claim the money. That of course was moot once the Rabbi called the lady who sold him the desk. Sounds like she had a plausible claim to the money, since she bought the desk new and assembled it. Had it been second-hand, she'd have had to prove somehow that the money was hers and not a former owner of the desk's.

Clearly Rabbi Noah did the right thing. As it turned out, there was no element of risk. In other circumstances, Acer's question does raise unsettling possibilities. . .

/Mr Lynn
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: rz
Date: November 12, 2013 09:58AM
I work with a guy who bought a house that had belonged to a former gun dealer who had been stabbed to death. He was in the attic working on some wiring when he found $100,000 in cash. He wanted to keep it but his wife made him call the police because she was afraid someone was going to come looking for the money. The former owner's estranged wife was contacted, and of course she said it belonged to her. Apparently they worked out a deal where he got some money as a "finders fee".
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 12, 2013 11:21AM
A person may be charged with Felony theft if they keep valuable items they know / should have known they were not entitled to keep. This find could qualify. Simplest and safest course of action; turn the money into local Law Enforcement with an explanation as to how it cam into your possession. Of course, the serial numbers should be recorded before doing so. The law specifies how "found" property is to be dealt with. After a prescribed period of time, if the rightful owner cannot be located, the property is returned to the finder. At that point, said property is now legally owned by the finder.
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: space-time
Date: November 12, 2013 11:29AM
After a prescribed period of time, if the rightful owner cannot be located, the property is returned to the finder. At that point, said property is now legally owned by the finder.

how long?
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: haikuman
Date: November 12, 2013 12:37PM
space-time as your Attorney I advise you to say nothing more except
that you are innocent . . . old fogey smiley



“Stay Hungry Stay Foolish"
Steve Jobs

"There are only two mantras yum and yuk mine is yum "
Bernard Mickey Wrangle<>Tom Robbins<> "Still Life With Woodpecker"

"There is a fine line between a rut and a groove"
G.D. Kittredge III

"


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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 12, 2013 03:30PM
Quote
space-time
After a prescribed period of time, if the rightful owner cannot be located, the property is returned to the finder. At that point, said property is now legally owned by the finder.

how long?

The length of time varies according to value and jurisdiction. In NY, I believe the longest hold period is five years. The shortest may still be under one year (for low value items).
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: 3d
Date: November 13, 2013 10:23AM
If you keep it, remember to declare it to the IRS for tax purposes. grinning smiley
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: Janit
Date: November 13, 2013 12:36PM
Quote
testcase
A person may be charged with Felony theft if they keep valuable items they know / should have known they were not entitled to keep. This find could qualify. Simplest and safest course of action; turn the money into local Law Enforcement with an explanation as to how it cam into your possession. Of course, the serial numbers should be recorded before doing so. The law specifies how "found" property is to be dealt with. After a prescribed period of time, if the rightful owner cannot be located, the property is returned to the finder. At that point, said property is now legally owned by the finder.

Yes, but buying something with unexpected contents is different from "finding" something. A bag of cash sitting in the closet of your new house is different from a bag of cash sitting on a park bench. In general purchase of a material thing is understood to include all contents of that thing.

A interesting puzzle as to whether a bag of cash sitting in the closet of your new house should be classified as "income." The IRS will have a position of course, but are they correct?
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Re: $98,000 cash found in desk bought on Craigslist
Posted by: jimangela
Date: November 27, 2013 03:04AM
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