How Money Laundering Works


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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh Clark

Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. Wake up, Chuck Bryant.

Chuck Bryant

What's up, buttercup?

Josh Clark

Chuck is fading. He's ready to get out of here, so we're gonna -

Chuck Bryant

I'm not. I'm good.

Josh Clark

Don't lie; Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

These rainy days, you know. Rainy days and Mondays!

Josh Clark

They always get you down? Karen Carpenter, what a waste.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, sad.

Josh Clark

Yeah, so -

Chuck Bryant

This is not on anorexia.

Josh Clark

No, it's not actually. It's on money laundering, which we can or can't say, I think, is one way to put it. Whether or not Karen Carpenter ever engaged in that, God rest her soul.

Chuck Bryant

I believe that she did not.

Josh Clark

You never know, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

I'll go on record.

Josh Clark

Chuck, you ever see Scarface?

Chuck Bryant

You kidding me? Of course!

Josh Clark

So you have seen it?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, many times.

Josh Clark

Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, no. I thought you were talking Pacino.

Josh Clark

I was. I just don't like it when you gloat.

Chuck Bryant

I know. Jerk.

Josh Clark

So you know that one scene where he's sitting there laundering the money with the guy who turns out to be the cop?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

And for some reason, DePalma made it so it actually simulates the eight hours they're supposedly sitting there dong it. That was actually a pretty good lesson what not to do when you launder money. And I think the moral to it was never launder money with an undercover police officer.

Chuck Bryant

Right. My favorite part of that movie is when he burie

s his face in a huge mountain of cocaine on his desk at the end.

Josh Clark

That is a good part.

Chuck Bryant

And thousands of bullets, hundreds of bullets could not even take him down at that point.

Josh Clark

But they did, eventually. No, no - yeah, they did.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

No, I couldn't remember if he died in an explosion. Because there are grenades in that scene! It's so nuts. That is a good, good movie. Anyone who has not seen that can sign up to be derided by Chuck and I on our blog, which we'll talk about later. But first, let's talk about money laundering, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Let's.

Josh Clark

So you know like for the most part, it's a - well, you would think for the most part it's the realm of drug dealers. They use cash almost exclusively. They've got to wash it. It's dirty money. They can't account for it. And the tax system, especially in the US, is set up in a way that that's supposed to be obvious.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Which is where money laundering comes in? It's a way around this declaration of, "Hey, I made a bunch of money by selling heroin," which you can't really do because then they bust you for selling heroin.

Chuck Bryant

I'm surprised the government wouldn't just say, "Oh, that's great. We'll take 30 percent of that, and just be about your way."

Josh Clark

Yeah, I mean really, honestly. Would the IRS contact the DEA, or would the IRS just be like, "You're an upstanding citizen, you drug dealer."

Chuck Bryant

Well, that's one of the big arguments of legalization of drugs is you can just tax the heck out of it and legitimize it and make a lot of money off it.

Josh Clark

And again, remember when we were talking about how moonshine works. During prohibition, it kind of add to this forbidden aspect to drinking. And so, of course, drinking increased. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

So that makes you wonder if drug use would drop.

Chuck Bryant

But that's neither here nor there.

Josh Clark

It isn't. But what I was saying is you would think it's mainly drug traffickers engaged in money laundering.

Chuck Bryant

It is a lot.

Josh Clark

$1 million in cocaine estimated at 20 kilos. Right? Weigh 44 pounds, or 20 kilos, for our metric friends, and $1 million in cash weighs 256 pounds. So it's kind of tricky. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Uh huh.

Josh Clark

The thing is, though, it turns out it's not just drug dealers who are laundering this heavy, heavy cash because the UN estimates - this is a 2005 estimate. It's the latest I could find that the global drug trade is valued at about $321 billion annually.

Chuck Bryant

That's a lot of dough.

Josh Clark

It is a lot of dough. But it's estimated that the value of all of the money that's laundered every year globally is somewhere between $500 billion and $1 trillion. So clearly, the entirety of the drug trade three times over couldn't account for the high-end estimate of all the money that's being laundered in the world every year.

Chuck Bryant

Terrorists. Big money launderers!

Josh Clark

Terrorists, white-collar guys. Basically, anybody who has come across a substantial amount of money that you can't just walk around with in your pockets!

Chuck Bryant

And you don't want to pay taxes on.

Josh Clark

Right, you launder the money. So how do you do this? Also, I should probably say the vast majority of cash that's getting washed is the US dollar for two reasons. No. 1, it's pretty much the defacto international currency. We learned about that in our audio book. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Which we'll get to later.

Josh Clark

I'm sorry. Our spoken word album! And also because the US has some of the strictest banking transparency laws in the world.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So if you have some dollars and you want to get it back into the US, you've got to wash it first. Right! So how do you do that? Let's talk about the three steps, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Sure. No. 1 is called placement. You've got three steps of money laundering. Placement basically means that the launderer inserts dirty money into a legitimate financial institution. So they'll put their money in bank.

Josh Clark

Right. But it's dirty money.

Chuck Bryant

It is dirty money at this point.

Josh Clark

So this is the riskiest stage. This is like the water making that tense, hollow sound as it's filling up in the drum of the washing machine.

Chuck Bryant

Right and it's risky because large amounts of cash are always a red flag these days. And in fact, in the US, the limit is, I believe, a $10,000.00 deposit.

Josh Clark

And it's not just the US that holds that standard, but definitely -

Chuck Bryant

Other folks are now.

Josh Clark

Sure, yeah. The international task force!

Chuck Bryant

Well, they're required to report anything 10,000 - or I believe it's anything totaling 10,000 within like a five-day period. Is that right?

Josh Clark

I think one day.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, one day period. Okay, you're right.

Josh Clark

But yeah, still, the gold number if you're laundering money is to stay below ten grand in a day in deposits.

Chuck Bryant

Right. So once you've got that done and your dirty money is in a bank, lots of it, you move onto Step 2, which is called layering. And that means you start to send this money out via transactions. We're talking bank-to-bank transfers, wiring money, investing in some high value items, like you go buy a yacht or something like that. And you're basically just trying to send the money out and spread it around to all different sorts of places.

Chuck Bryant

The rinse cycle. Very nice!

Josh Clark

Yes, it's being agitated. And it's the most complex part of laundering money as well because you're taking one lump sum and then dividing it into as many things as you possibly can.

Chuck Bryant

Which makes it hard to trace, which is really essentially the whole point to money laundering? You want to make it really hard to trace back to you. So then, we come, Josh, Joshy, to integration, which is Phase 3 and this, is when the money comes back into the mainstream economy looking like legitimate transactions.

Josh Clark

Right. You divest from those legitimate businesses you invested in, you sell that yacht, or you transfer money from these kind of shady banks, or banks in countries with shady systems, which we'll talk about in a minute, into US banks again. Something like that.

Chuck Bryant

And then at that point, as Joe Pesci would say, the money is laundered.

Josh Clark

Yes.

Chuck Bryant

That's from Lethal Weapon 2, I think.

Josh Clark

I call - that's sad that you know that. I'm ashamed of you right now. Next thing you know, you're going to tell me you watch The Closer.

Chuck Bryant

No, I've never seen that show. But I'm a big Kyra Sedgwick fan.

Josh Clark

All right, so - good, that's nice. I was at one point.

Chuck Bryant

Until The Closer?

Josh Clark

Yeah. Let's get off her. Okay, so since there's so many different countries out there that have banking secrecy protection, basically, there's so many places where you can go buy a yacht, and they're not going - they don't have to, by law, say, "Where'd you get this money?" And businesses don't have to say, "Hey, where did you get this money," if you're investing in them. That it seems like it would be impossible to catch.

Chuck Bryant

It is hard to catch, too.

Josh Clark

It is.

Chuck Bryant

Well, Josh, it's certainly not from a lack of looking because there are a lot of places that try to find money launderers, like the Department of Justice, State Department, FBI, IRS, DEA. They've all got money laundering departments or money laundering - they're not laundering money, obviously.

Josh Clark

No, they're looking for money launderers.

Chuck Bryant

Exactly.

Josh Clark

So the IRS can find you. And I imagine if you're a money launderer, they can find you, too.

Chuck Bryant

Right, and there's also - since we're talking about - those are the United States based organizations. It gets global, too, because it usually involves global transactions. That's kind of the key to the whole thing. So there's something called the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering. The FATF.

Josh Clark

That was the other organization I was saying that has that $10,000.00 reporting requirement, too.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, okay. Right! Well, that's fantastic. The UN gets involved, too, our buddies at the UN.

Josh Clark

Yeah, the world monetary fund.

Chuck Bryant

Uh huh. So that's who is looking out for money launderers.

Josh Clark

International Monetary Fund, I am sorry about that one.

Chuck Bryant

Right. So do you want to talk about some of these methods, Josh, like the peso exchange?

Josh Clark

Yeah. That's pretty cool.

Chuck Bryant

Hit it.

Josh Clark

Okay, so that is the black market Columbian peso exchange system, and this is like the world standard. And actually, it is centered in Columbia. What happens is is like say you are a drug trafficker, and you have a bunch of dirty money, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Say it.

Chuck Bryant

I am a drug trafficker, and I have a load of dirty money.

Josh Clark

Well, I just happen, friend, to be a peso broker, and I can clean that money for you. You want to hear how I'm gonna do it?

Chuck Bryant

Well, what do you mean by clean, Josh?

Josh Clark

I'm going to make it so that it's legitimate again.

Chuck Bryant

Okay.

Josh Clark

Okay. So what's going to happen is you're going to give me your dirty money. I'm going to give it to a Columbian importer who is going to buy a bunch of American made goods, and we're going to buy them on the black market because we don't want to pay any taxes on any of this. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Oh, no, no, no.

Josh Clark

So the importer goes and orders a bunch of stuff, gets it under the radar, imported to Columbia. Sells it for pesos! Takes the pesos. The Columbian importer is going to give me the pesos, take a little bit for himself any profit he can make off of it. He's going to pay me back the equivalent of the US dollars I gave him in pesos. I'm going to skim a little bit off the top. And bada boom, bada bing, my friend. You've just converted your dirty US dollars to clean, Columbian pesos.

Chuck Bryant

Thanks.

Josh Clark

And go forth, do whatever you like with it.

Chuck Bryant

We've got a deal.

Josh Clark

Thank you. Thank you, friend, for coming to see.

Chuck Bryant

It is basically that easy.

Josh Clark

It is. And actually, sadly, it is very easy, and it was flying under the radar, like we said, for many, many years. And apparently, the Columbian government and the American government were trying to figure out what was going on with all of these illegal US imports and came to figure out also, "Oh, yeah, well, Columbia also has a huge money laundering problem."

Chuck Bryant

And they're known for selling drugs.

Josh Clark

Now, we understand it. Yep. That's the old black market Columbia peso exchange two-step shuffle.

Chuck Bryant

Very nice. And apparently, that's just a one stop shopping deal if you want to launder your money.

Josh Clark

That's the place to go. But there's also another one, and I know this one is your favorite because of the name. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Smurfing?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Structuring deposits is the formal name, but they call it smurfing. And basically, this entails when you break up large amounts of money into smaller, less suspicious amounts. So in the US, it's got to be below $10,000.00 because like we said, that's when banks have to report you. And the money is deposited, the smaller amounts are deposited into one or more banks by people called smurfs. That's what they call them.

Josh Clark

Yeah, for no apparent reason.

Chuck Bryant

So smurf that.

Josh Clark

Unless Peyo, the creator of The Smurfs, was caught doing this. Maybe that's where it was. Maybe that's where it originated.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Sounds like a smurfing good idea to me.

Josh Clark

Have you ever seen the Smurf carpet bomb ad?

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

I think it was for UNICEF. It was UNICEF ad, and they played it in Belgium, and basically, it was an anti-war public service announcement, and they used the Smurfs, and the Smurfs' village is carpet bombed, and they're all killed. They show the aftermath, and burning Smurfs are walking around. It's really something. You should look it up.

Chuck Bryant

Geez. So that's disturbing. On to overseas banks, which is always big? You always hear about offshore accounts. And growing up, you hear this from watching Chips and stuff in my era. You hear about offshore accounts, and I always picture some like bank floating in the ocean.

Josh Clark

Yeah, I know what you mean.

Chuck Bryant

That's not what's going on there. But they're basically countries that have really lax - oh, not lax, but they have secrecy laws, and allow anonymous banking to take place.

Josh Clark

Yeah, like Bahrain is one that's not in the Caribbean.

Chuck Bryant

Bahamas.

Josh Clark

The Caymans. I always think of Caymans.

Chuck Bryant

Hong Kong.

Josh Clark

Hong Kong, sure. There's a place called Macao off the coast of China.

Chuck Bryant

Underground alternative banking, which kind of cracks me up. I don't know that I would invest in an alternative bank.

Josh Clark

This seems kind of like tribal in nature.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, exactly.

Josh Clark

Like it's existed long before any banking regulations.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Very popular in Asia and other than Pakistan; the Hawalas system in Pakistan and India and the Fei Chen system in China!

Josh Clark

Yeah, so basically, it's a trust system. There's no paper trail.

Chuck Bryant

No paper, which is key because if you're gonna launder money, you don't want paper. That's the whole point.

Josh Clark

It's very much like the off shore accounts. Like these are secrete accounts! They won't reveal your identity. There's no paper trail that's public in any way, shape, or form. So these are really good places to use if you plan on laundering any money.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Not that we would encourage that because it's illegal. You get busted. You go to jail.

Josh Clark

No, although if you put together some of these seemingly random podcasts we've done, you could make moonshine, sell it -

Chuck Bryant

Launder money.

Josh Clark

Launder money, and -

Chuck Bryant

Invest that into a Ponzi scheme.

Josh Clark

Exactly. Early on! And then get out. So there you go. Step by step.

Chuck Bryant

Here we are. Couple of schlubs! Not making two pennies.

Josh Clark

You think we'd take our own advice. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Yes. And then, Josh, there are shell companies. Of course, when you have like a fake company you'll set up that really doesn't sell or manufacture anything.

Josh Clark

What's the difference between a shell company and a front company?

Chuck Bryant

Is there a difference?

Josh Clark

There is a difference. You want to know?

Chuck Bryant

Well, then why don't you tell me?

Josh Clark

I was just trying to set you up, bud.

Chuck Bryant

Okay, I don't know the difference.

Josh Clark

A shell company is set up - it doesn't really do anything. It only really exists on paper.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, okay. Yeah, sure!

Josh Clark

And its express purpose is to launder money. A front company -

Chuck Bryant

Is a real company.

Josh Clark

Right, but it's meant to launder money, too, but you could say it's a store. You could actually go into the store and buy something. But really, the purpose is to launder money. And that actually leads us to one of the problems with money laundering. You ask why would I care if people are laundering money, aside from the obvious one. Like I hate drug dealers, you know, and I don't want them laundering the money. Or I hate terrorists. Clearly, everybody hates terrorists.

Chuck Bryant

There's a lot of reasons.

Josh Clark

Yeah, but for this reason, the last part with the front company, it affects local economies in that small businesses can't compete with a front company because they're not trying to turn a profit off their product, so they can sell it like at or below cost if they want and drive other companies out of business. Well, that seems a little flashy to me if you're a front company. I would think you'd just kind of want to stay even keel the whole time. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, but greed, brother.

Josh Clark

It's true.

Chuck Bryant

Same with the Ponzi. Its greed takes a hold, and then you're screwed.

Josh Clark

Same with the what?

Chuck Bryant

It's a Ponzi scheme.

Josh Clark

That's right. But on a much larger level, there's bigger problems. Like it can affect whole financial sectors and economies! Right!

Chuck Bryant

If enough money is laundered through - well, one of the reasons why a lot of these countries that these things are running through are small countries, and they don't have the big, huge economy the United States does. So someone is laundering $75 million through a tiny little country, it's all false. That's going to affect the economy of that country. Plus, no one pays taxes on it, so you and I end up making - well, not you because apparently, you don't pay taxes.

Josh Clark

I do now, pal. I just didn't in the mid early decade.

Chuck Bryant

Sure. So yeah, we ended up making up for that, tax payers do by having to pay higher taxes.

Josh Clark

Right, but I think ultimately, the reason why the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS, and the DEA are all involved in trying to catch money launderers is the government ain't making any money off of it.

Chuck Bryant

Exactly.

Josh Clark

You know what I mean? We're talking - if it's a trillion dollars, what's 30 percent of that? $300 billion! I've got to tell you, the US could use that 300 billion right now if it could get that much of a chunk of it. Right!

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, totally. And we'd go give it to some institution that's collapsing.

Josh Clark

Exactly.

Chuck Bryant

That's a good use.

Josh Clark

That's robbing Peter, pay Paul. Oh, wait. That was from the Ponzi scheme one. Wasn't it?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, but that's still a nice term.

Josh Clark

Okay, thanks a lot. So Chuck, you want to talk about a couple of famous money laundering busts?

Chuck Bryant

I would love to talk about Crazy Eddie.

Josh Clark

Okay, good because I want to talk about Franklin Jurado.

Chuck Bryant

Isn't that great when it works out like that? Serendipity!

Josh Clark

I knew it would.

Chuck Bryant

Crazy Eddie. I remember this guy when I lived in New Jersey. Seeing the Crazy Eddie's TV commercials!

Josh Clark

Oh, really?

Chuck Bryant

Oh, yeah. He was one of those guys that is exactly how you would think. Crazy Eddies! This is the in 1980s. Eddie Antar. Crazy Eddie's Electronics! He skimmed millions of dollars from his own company to hide it from the IRS. So he was doing this. He had some co-conspirators. And eventually, he thought, "You know what? I should send this money back into my own company disguised as revenue."

Josh Clark

Right because he was going to launch an initial public offering.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, so I'll inflate my soon to be stock quote.

Josh Clark

And he did, substantially. Right! By like $30 million or something.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, but that's false money, so it was over-inflated, and the end result for him was bad news. He laundered more than $8 million and was busted. And he flew to Israel, and they found him in 1992. They extradited him back to us to stand trial, and he went to the huska for eight years.

Josh Clark

Yeah, which isn't that bad? I imagine he probably had a lot of money stashed away, waiting for him.

Chuck Bryant

I know. I was kind of surprised. Most of these prison sentences in here are like six to eight years. I figured it'd be a little more than that.

Josh Clark

That's why I think the Bernard Madoff sentence is going to be so huge. He's going to get like 100 plus years. So can I talk about my guy now?

Chuck Bryant

Oh, yeah.

Josh Clark

Franklin Jurado. And you want to be an R towards the end of it, but it's not. It's Jurado. So he was actually an economist, and apparently, economists are really good people to get to launder money for you because they know exactly what they're doing!

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, sure. You just need to get a crooked economist.

Josh Clark

Pretty much. And from what I understand, this guy was it. There's a Columbian drug kingpin named Jose Santa Cruz Londono. And he had Jurado basically place the drug money into Columbian banks, which we've already seen Columbia, not that big on the banking regulation laws. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And then from there, he started making wire transfers and deposits to 100 different accounts that had been set up. Some in made up names, some in family members' names in 68 banks in nine European countries! Right? And he was doing this really well for a while. I think he managed to launder $36 million, but he

was smurfing, actually.

Chuck Bryant

Did you mean something else there, or you mean smurfing?

Josh Clark

He was smurfing as far as money laundering goes.

Chuck Bryant

I thought you were just using smurf like they did on -

Josh Clark

Get your mind out of the gutter there. He was probably doing that, too, because he was laundering millions of dollars. So all the smurf he wanted.

Chuck Bryant

Getting his smurf on.

Josh Clark

The - that just threw me off there, Chuck. But he was smurfing, and like none of his deposits topped $10,000.00. Right? So imagine how active this guy was. And he had a lot of money to deal with. He got busted, basically, in two ways. A red flag was raised when a bank in Monaco collapsed and an audit revealed that he had a bunch of accounts that didn't have his name on it but could be traced back to him, which is fairly unusual. And then really when he was actually arrested -

Chuck Bryant

This is great.

Josh Clark

His neighbor called the cops to file a noise complaint because Jurado was running his money-counting machine all night. The cops show up, and this guy is surrounded by millions of dollars in cash.

Chuck Bryant

I love those machines. You see them in the movies. So cool!

Josh Clark

Yeah, they are pretty cool.

Chuck Bryant

I've never had enough money to put in. Mine would go - and it would be over. Here's your $15.00.

Josh Clark

Exactly what you would - you have $15.00? Lucky!

Chuck Bryant

I know.

Josh Clark

So yeah, that's how Jurado got busted, and he got seven and a half years.

Chuck Bryant

And he's a Harvard man. We should know. So it's not just all poor derelicts.

Josh Clark

That's why I purposely left off the Harvard educated economist because I mean I think - look at Madoff. He's an intelligent guy, and he's as crooked as they come.

Chuck Bryant

It's called white collar, dude.

Josh Clark

It surely is. For a reason! So I guess do you want to just quickly go over Operation Juno?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Do you? You know what I'm talking about? Because you know it happened right here in Atlanta. This is the headquarters for it.

Chuck Bryant

I was a part of it.

Josh Clark

Were you really?

Chuck Bryant

No, but this was in Atlanta, and the DEA pulled this one off, and it was not a sting operation for pregnant teens like the movie Juno. This is pre that. This was 1999 is when it ended, and basically, it was a sting operation. They set up drug traffickers, gave them resources to turn their drug money from dollars into pesos using the original peso scam. And they busted 40 p

eople. $10 million they seized.

Josh Clark

What's substantial is the amount of cocaine that they seized.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, 36 kilograms of cocaine.

Josh Clark

No, buddy, 3,600 kilograms of cocaine.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, what did I say? Thirty-six?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, two zeroes.

Josh Clark

Three thousand six hundred kilograms of cocaine.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that puts Scarface even to shame.

Josh Clark

It really does. You can't stick your face in that mound and walk away from it.

Chuck Bryant

No.

Josh Clark

No. So that was operation Juno. That was the DEA. That's about as successful as it comes, from what I understand.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, I always have mixed feelings about sting operations, though, to be honest.

Josh Clark

Sure. It's shifty. It's deceptive.

Chuck Bryant

It is.

Josh Clark

Nobody likes deception.

Chuck Bryant

Well, at the same time, though, you're getting - you've busted these people, so the end result is nice. But you know, Machiavellian. End justifies the means in some cases.

Josh Clark

Sure. Yeah. I think that's a definite motto for a lot of law enforcement practice.

Chuck Bryant

I just think it's interesting that a cop can go up and say, "Hey, man, you want to launder this money? We'll make it happen. And then we'll arrest you for it."

Josh Clark

I know. Clearly the Columbians who were busted never saw Scarface.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So that's money laundering. If you want to try your hand at it, you know pretty much everything you need to know right now.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, but you should not do that. And we want to thank JR from Portland Oregon. JR was who suggested this.

Josh Clark

Yeah, thanks, JR. That was a good idea.

Chuck Bryant

Right out of the suggestion box.

Josh Clark

We wonder why, JR, but whatever.

Chuck Bryant

He actually said in his e-mail, "I d

on't want to try this. I'm just curious." So if JR -

Josh Clark

That's what he did. Didn't he?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, if he follows up with counterfeiting, he'd like to hear that one, or Ponzi - well, actually, that's called -

Josh Clark

Or digging your way out of prison.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

Well, if you want to know a little more, this is actually a great article by our colleague Julie Leighton, excellent writer. You can type in money laundering in the handy search bar at HowStuffWorks.com. Don't go anywhere because we are about to blast your ears with our spoken word plug.

Chuck Bryant

Right. Josh and I and Jerry - I'm sorry, Josh and me. Please don't write in and correct me again, grammar police.

Josh Clark

We've been getting that a lot.

Chuck Bryant

I know. Yeah, it's called the Stuff You Should Know Super Stuffed Guide to the Economy, and we get to go out and interview folks and go on location. And we really break down economics and the economy into a way that everyone can understand. It was a lot of fun to do.

Josh Clark

Yes, it was.

Chuck Bryant

And we recommend it highly. For $3.99!

Josh Clark

On iTunes. Just type in Super Stuffed in the iTunes search bar! It should be the first thing that comes up. And what's most amazing to me is it doesn't suck.

Chuck Bryant

No, it's good. We're very proud of it, and we appreciate your support thus far, and if you guys could support us with this, we might get to record another one and say something more interesting than the economy because you know -

Josh Clark

Chuck, blog me.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, blog. We also need to give a quick shout out to our blog called Stuff You Should Know on the website, HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh Clark

We each post once a day. Me in the morning, Chuck at night! You should visit twice just to see them.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and I do a podcast recap on Fridays, so that's where we can all sit around and chat about what we do here.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and you said you can find it on the right rail of the homepage.

Chuck Bryant

Yes sir.

Josh Clark

And that means thank you for bearing with us. We try to do a little shorter than usual because it's listener mail time.

Chuck Bryant

So this comes to us from Meg, and I'm just going to call this exceptional listener mail. Only one today!

Josh Clark

I think I know which one this is.

Chuck Bryant

It's good. Epilepsy!

Josh Clark

Yes.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, it's a good one.

Josh Clark

So in our déjà vu podcast, we talked a little bit about epilepsy and that it's tied to déjà vu many times, as is smelling lavender before you have a seizure.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

So Meg writes in, and she wanted to thank us for talking some about epilepsy as she is an epileptic. She has temporal lobe epilepsy, and she said she does suffer from déjà vu on a fairly regular basis, but it doesn't necessarily mean wait for a seizure, which is what you said. It is a seizure, basically.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, really?

Josh Clark

That's how she describes it. Déjà vu is a simple, partial seizure. It can give way to a complex, partial, or generalized seizure, but it doesn't always have to. She's pretty amazed by her own epilepsy. She's really fascinated.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, she called it amazing.

Josh Clark

Yeah, she said the brain does crazy things when it's working normally. Just imagine what it can do when it's not. Some of the simple partial seizures I have included smelling lavender, déjà vu, tunnel vision, sparkly lights, and they sometimes but not always give way to complex partial seizures that can leave me drained for quite a while. So there's obviously a down side. It's not all cool lights and lavender.

Chuck Bryant

Flashing lights. Yeah.

Josh Clark

So we just want to thank Meg for writing in, and she said one day, maybe we can do something on epilepsy, but I know eventually, we're gonna have a health podcast here, so we're probably not allowed to touch that.

Chuck Bryant

We should probably leave that to Clamburger.

Josh Clark

Yeah. But thank you, Meg, for that. And good luck with your epilepsy. Thanks for sharing.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, thanks for sharing, Meg. That's pretty cool. Exceptional listener mail, indeed! If you have anything exception to say or you just want to say hi, or you want to tell us that we say - we interchange I or me too much - actually, not that last one. You can send us an e-mail to StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com.

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