Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Man hide life savings in oven, wife accidentally baked it


When it comes to hiding away large amounts of money in your house, the long-time favorite venue of choice has been underneath the mattress. But when an Australian man sold his Toyota Supra sports car for $15,000 , he thought he had come up with an even better place to stuff the cash. Opting not to squirrel away in a mattress or bury it in his backyard, he decided to hide them in..... his oven.

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Since neither the man nor his wife ever cooked, he figured he could finally make use of the oven as a cash hideout. But that evening, his wife uncharacteristically turned on the oven to preheat some chicken nuggets for their two girls, baking perhaps one of the most expensive nuggets ever.

The money melted (Australia uses polymer cash notes) into a damaged mess. The man said that was everything he has. "I have got nothing to my name. That money was supposed to go towards my mortgage. I had a call from Westpac (bank) on Tuesday asking me when I would pay because I missed a payment on Monday," he said. "I told them I will pay tomorrow but now the money is burnt."

His distraught wife said she "couldn't stop crying" when she told her husband what had happened. "I struggled to breathe, I said 'I burnt the money, I burnt the money'. I felt like I was going to faint," she said.

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$15,000 Australian dollar burnt in oven

With the melted cash he immediately set off to his bank in an attempt to deposit the money, but the counter refused to accept the cash, saying they are so badly damaged it could be difficult for bank tellers to analyze them. "I was quite insulted. I asked her to send it to the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia), I told her 'please it's all I got' but she didn't want to." he said. 

The RBA has a clear policy on damaged and incomplete banknotes, and advises people to take their damaged notes to banks, which the RBA encourages to "accept all claims". "If several pieces of the same banknote are presented, the Reserve Bank's policy is for each piece to be worth a share of the value in proportion to its size," the RBA policy reads. "The combined value paid should be the face value of the original banknote."

If less than 20 per cent of the note is missing full face value is paid, but if between 20-80 per cent of the note is missing "value is paid in proportion with the percentage remaining, e.g. half face value if half the banknote is present". If more than 80 per cent of the banknote is missing no payment is made. 

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How expensive can chicken nuggets be?

In the end, the bank agreed to send the damaged banknotes to be assessed at the RBA's Damaged Note Laboratory in Cragieburn, Melbourne, where analysts will carefully scrutinize them in accordance with RBA guidelines. A spokesman for Westpac said: "We will do whatever we can do within the guidelines to accept the damaged cash." He explained that the teller would not take his money because the notes were really shrunk and totally sticky. 

The man said he was forced to sell his sports car to pay bills because the slow-down in the building industry had affected his metal roofing business. "After a while it started to sink in, you've got kids, a mortgage, a family car to run and I'm thinking what am I going to do," he said. 

To make matters worse, the family's water was cut off today after failing to pay their bill. The Australian man said he was too embarrassed about the incident to have his identity revealed.

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