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Money can’t buy happiness...or can it?

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2013

Thomas Bleming, shown in an archive campaign photo, claims his arrest for possessing counterfeit currency is a misunderstanding.

On Dec. 19 Thomas Bleming heard a “muffled” knock on his door. As he looked out, he had a decision to make. He recognized the Lusk Police Department officers and noticed they had others with them. “At first I thought they were there to take me to a FEMA concentration camp to kill me,” said Bleming. Bleming claims to have had a 9 mm mac 10 and an M-1 carbine for protection but continues that he never “leveled his weapons” at the officers. “I became tranquil, I knew I was innocent and I decided I wasn’t going to resist,” said Bleming. He continues that he was traumatized by the event. “They [officers] had their weapons pointed at me. They said they had a search warrant, but they never showed it to me until they got me to the police station,” Bleming said.

Bleming explains that his arrest for possessing counterfeit currency is a misunderstanding that is easily explained. On Oct. 30 he traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam for what he describes as a “classified discussion”. As he was walking to meet a friend, he noticed a $100 bill in the gutter. When he picked it up it disintegrated in his hand and he realized that it was not real. While in Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon, Vietnam he met with a coin dealer. Bleming’s Mother had collected coins so he negotiated with the dealer who originally was asking $50.00 per coin but decreased the price to $5.00 per coin. “I thought it was a deal. I bought several dozens of coins...I bought 80, 90, 100 coins. I told him that if they were good I would return,” said Bleming.

On Nov. 19 he arrived back in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He entered the Luxury Boutique Guesthouse. There didn’t seem to be anyone around but he noticed a stack a $100 bills approximately “a foot and a half square by a foot tall” lying on the floor. It was sitting next to a Buddhist shrine. He returned the next day with a friend and spoke to the owner of the hotel. He asked the owner why she would leavethat amount of cash just lying on the floor when she wasn’t there. Bleming explains that the hotel owner began to laugh at him and told him if he wanted money he could have it. “I picked up one bill and noticed that the back of the bill was off color and there wasn’t a watermark or security strip. The hotel owner said it was Buddhist prayer money. I knew nothing of this through all my travels. She said the tourists take it home to show their friends they are wealthy. They also use it for celebrations of life or death and throw it in the air. They use it to make people temporarily happy and joyous. When you throw one on the ground and someone finds it, it makes them happy for a second and then they realize it isn’t real,” explains Bleming. He continues that he brought back approximately 230 bills when he returned home.

For the complete article see the 01-01-2014 issue.

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