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How To Flee The Country

I still don't get why Madoff didn't run or ride the bullet train. Here are the things you need to do if you've got means and need to flee the country.

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  • 1. Have an plan before you need one.

    Look, jackass, no amount of Ponzi money is going to help you out if you haven't done some prep. So take 10% of the time you're spending on bilking people out of their life savings and use it to take care of the basics. Lucky for you, there are already books on this subject. Buy them, read them, do as they say. At the VERY LEAST: Get a second passport. Stow money in an offshore account. Befriend or bribe high-ranking officials in the country to which you plan to flee.

  • 2. Get cash.

    Until you make it to your safe haven, cash is king. And knowing how you like to live high on the hog, you'll need a lot. Note that a big cash withdrawal is like a neon sign saying "Hey authorities, I'm running!" Make this the last thing you do before you go.

  • 3. Sever all ties.

    You're not going to make the next Yale reunion, and your kids are going to hate you (if they don't already). No calling, emailing, no letters or smoke signals. If you play it right, you might be able to use intermediaries at some point down the road to let people know you're okay, but that's IF YOU'RE LUCKY.

  • 4. Get to a country without an extradition treaty.

    As you can see from the list of countries that don't have extradition agreements with the government, there are some pretty nice places to live your new live as a fugitive -- the Maldives, for instance, has great surfing.

  • 5. Never, ever come home.

    If you've screwed up bad enough to go on the lam, you must be facing a lengthy jail term. But running is a life sentence, and there's no time off for good behavior.