Australia seems to be missing a large quantity of its $100 notes and an unlikely culprit is being suspected of a peculiar hustle. According to an article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, “there are now ten $100 notes in circulation for each Australian, far more than the commonly seen $20 notes.” If you’re asking yourself why you’re the only one who doesn’t have $1000 in Cash in your wallet, you’re not alone.
So if we’re not all carrying around wads of cash, then where have all the notes gone? First thoughts go to a tax dodging cash market or international drug cartel? Who could be behind such a scheme and what are they gaining from it?
Former Reserve Bank official Peter Mair is pointing a finger directly at Australia’s pensioners. One allegation is that Nan and Pop are doing some serious fraud in order to qualify for pension benefits. In a letter to the Reserve Bank Governor, Glenn Stevens, Mair alleged that “our pensioners could hold as much as $50,000 in undeclared $50 and $100 dollar notes to get access to pension.”
By hiding their cash under a mattress rather than in a bank, pensioners then pass the for ‘means-tested’ benefit. And its not just pension they profit from. Pensioners also get large discounts on council rates, discounted car registration, discounted phone rental and benefit payments, making the $100 cash concealing scheme very lucrative, if indeed this is going on.
But before you go expecting an extra $100 in this years birthday card from gran, outraged pensioner groups are fuming, claiming the allegations are unfounded and unfair. They say its more likely that pensioners are simply more comfortable with cash opposed to modern plastic and electronic payments.
What do you think? Are pensioners our biggest frauders or is the case of the missing $100 notes yet to be solved?