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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Die Hard and the law

Die Hard and the law

The world has lost another great actor today. Alan Rickman died at the age of 69. For any law student the word "bearer bond" can only conjure up "Die Hard" one of his first film roles. Mr. Rickman was a great stage actor and had many other wonderful films.

So what on earth is a "bearer bond" and why was Mr. Rickmans charachter, Hanz Gruber, so interested in obtaining them.  Using's defintion:  A fixed-income instrument that is owned by whoever is holding it, rather than having a registered owner. Coupons representing interest payments are likely to be physically attached to the security and it is the bondholder's responsibility to submit the coupons for payment.  

So what the hell does that mean?!?!?!  Basically it is a piece of paper issued by a bank that when you hand it in to the bank that issued it you get the cash amount on it.  It is like a blank cashiers check and whoever has it gets the money, where as a normal check would have a name written on it.  So, if you lose cash(in the park or somewhere public) and someone finds it, they can pick it up and use it themselves and no one will say anything about it being someone else's.  Same thing with bearer paper.

So why not just use large stacks of cash?  Cash is much more traceable than a bearer bond, the serial numbers on it can help the police and federal government track it.

But the whole thing is moot!! I got my father a $10,000 bearer bond, but only paid $5 for it on ebay.  Why, because the United States basically banned them to keep drug dealers and other criminals from misusing them.

Richard Simons
5525 Rockhill Rd.
Kansas CIty, MO 64110