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We Asked Drug Dealers How They'll Dodge the $10K Cash Ban

All cash payments over $10,000 will be banned from July 1st, 2019.

by Mahmood Fazal
21 May 2018, 2:44am

Photo Supplied

Shifty deals have long relied on cash. I grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong where everyone paid taxes, but the odd cash-in-hand gig always meant a sweet deal. It was an area riddled with heroin and burglaries, and a few blue collar workers bolstering their income with cash-off-the-books didn’t seem like a problem. But apparently the government thinks it is.

From July 1st, 2019, all cash payments over $10,000 will become illegal. The launch of the multi-agency Black Economy Standing Task Force is expected to retrieve $3 billion in revenue over the next four years.

"This will be bad news for criminal gangs, terrorists and those who are just trying to cheat on their tax or get a discount for letting someone else cheat on their tax," announced Treasurer Scott Morrison during his Budget speech. "It's not clever. It's not OK. It's a crime."

To find out how black market will respond, I spoke to some drug dealers. And interestingly no one was worried.

Richie, Tobacco Farmer/Trafficker (32)

VICE: Hey Richie, What do you think of the government's attack on the black economy?
Richie: They have to catch us first. They can’t catch up to us, [because] crims are always making moves ahead of these dogs in suits. It was coming sooner or later. They’ve been working out ways to keep track of our money for ages. That’s why all these businesses expect you to pay on card these days. I went to buy some new shoes at Chaddy the other day and the shop only accepts cards. Can you believe that shit? Back in the day it was “we only accept cash.” Now it’s becoming card only.

How do you plan on getting around it?
I’ve got family overseas who I’m business partners with. I wire them the cash, look after their village and they send me my share every month. And I pay tax. I’ve been doing this for 15 years. You know when the government started to come down on tobacco farmers? When they started taxing them through the roof and they realised people will pay 50 bucks a packet. I got raided a few years ago and the detective said, “You’ve made your money, get out. It’s not your trade anymore, it’s theirs.” They want to make sure everyone kicked up the money to them.

Is the 10,000 cap on cash going to affect your business model?
No. If you are turning over big money on the street you’ve got your ways to wash money. You would have to be the dumbest cunt in the world to be turning over 10K a week and not have your money invested somewhere. Anyway to the dealers out there, you have until next year to get your shit together. I would suggest a panel shop or go into commodities trading overseas.

Related: watch our video on Australian weed growers:


Iqbal, Cocaine Dealer (26)

Hey, what do you think of the government's attack on the black economy?
I think it’s funny. Don’t they have anything better to do? Aren’t their more important things to take care of first. In my opinion it’s just a diversion. The government likes to put crooks in the headlights because criminals are easy to pin down. My old man is a blue collar worker, he’s a carpenter that makes furniture for a living. He gets by with the cash jobs on the weekends. Is it a crime? Technically. But it’s how a lot of people working for peanuts get by. Going after cash economy is basically going after the poor because drug dealers have been washing cash since the 90s. What about all the mining companies that have outsmarted them? They can’t go after them so might as well go after the ones they can outsmart, the poor people doing cash jobs on weekends.

Is the 10,000 cap on cash going to affect your business?
No, it just means I can’t buy cars with cash anymore. Every serious coke dealer has been buying Bitcoin and putting their money online for at least the last two years. My money is tied up online and in stocks. That’s what the whole crypto scene was about and we’ve got people that look after that shit for us. The government thinks gangsters are still operating like they were in Chicago in the 50s.

How do you plan on getting around it?
It’s not a problem and actually it’s going to force me to live a smarter lifestyle. I’ve already bought my house. Now, all the cash I make will be going into actually living, going on holidays, taking my family out. I’ll be spending less on chains and Rolexes. And more on smaller things that make life more enjoyable. It’s made me more humble and realise that you don’t need to spend stacks to make yourself happy. You don’t need to drop 20K on a Rolex, even though the Armenians are more than happy to take your cash for diamonds, because it impresses other people. You can get a flight to the Hamilton Islands and sit on a yacht with a few Coronas instead.

Lopez, Methamphetamine Dealer (34)

What do you think of the government's attack on the black economy?
I reckon it’s a load of bullshit. They can never stop black markets. As long as there are laws in place cunts are going to be making money behind the scenes.

Is the 10,000 cap on cash going to affect your business?
When was the last time you spent more than 10 grand on anything? Exactly! And I’m no different. I just keep making money, so that me and my kids will be able to get by comfortably. I don’t even understand how it’s going to affect gangs. It’s not like they’re buying furniture from Toorak for thousands of dollars. Criminals are humans, as much as you may find that hard to believe, and they are usually from really poor hoods. In my opinion if there’s cunts out there making millions and washing it through their businesses, they should get caught. We turned to crime because no one would give us a shot in the real world. I was raised in the flats and both my parents were junkies. When I made enough to get by I was happy mate. These cunts that have turned dirty money into big business can get fucked.

How do you plan on getting around it?
I’m going to buy a pizza shop at the end of the year. Like every other shifty Italian I know and it seems to be working a fucking treat for them. That’s the way the world works, we are always going to find loopholes. The government should invest $100 million somewhere we can see it and maybe we will pay our taxes. Get our kids off the street, make ‘em feel part of the community instead of putting them on Crime Stoppers for shoplifting. Why didn’t any representatives from the government come to our schools and listen to what we had to say. Once a year they would send the cops in to do a bit of dodgy PR. Is that what it’s come to, you expect us to tell the coppers how we feel?

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