English language reading materials for students & teachers graded by CEF language level.

CEF English language level: B1

How do you hide $55 million dollars?

Hatsue and Yoshiko were the daughters of a very wealthy man. One day they would inherit his fortune. They would pay a very large tax bill.

‘It’s not
fair,’ their father told them. ‘It’s your money.’

‘But what can we do?’

‘Take the money out now,’ he told them. ‘Then it won’t be there when I die.’

The sisters began taking money out of their father’s bank accounts.

‘We’ll hide it at home,’ the father told his daughters. ‘That way the tax authorities won’t know about it.’

Where's the money?

Every month they withdrew large amounts of money in cash. And when their father died there was very little left money in his bank accounts.

The sisters only needed to declare only a small part of the family fortune. They did not mention that they also had nearly 58 million US dollars in new bank notes.

But the tax authorities became suspicious. Their father had been a very successful property developer. Where was all his money?

‘He spent it all!’ said the sisters.

The tax authorities remained unconvinced. And when the police investigated, they soon discovered the missing millions.

‘They hid most of the money in cash in a shed attached to Hatsue's house,’ an Osaka tax official said. ‘We found 50 cardboard boxes packed with cash.’

I Forgot

When the police found the boxes of bank notes, Hatsue looked surprised: ‘I had forgotten about that money,’ she said. ‘I put it there when I was tidying up the house.’

For some reason the police didn’t believe her. They charged the sisters with the biggest tax evasion in Japanese history.

First published in the English language learner section of Ming Pao Daily. Illustrations by Iris Tsoi.

Buried Cash * Activities