Like most people, every so often I withdraw my entire life savings from the bank, load the cash into garbage bags, throw the bags in the trunk of my car then proceed to drive across country at an illegal rate of speed. It's exhilarating. However, whenever I embark on this journey I always remember one thing: Don't drive through Nebraska. Why should you avoid the Cornhusker state? You might be surprised to learn that the Nebraska state police happen to have some very quirky rules when it comes to transporting large amounts of cash from potentially questionable origins. Unfortunately, a 33 year old California stripper found out about these quirky rules the hard way and as a result had her entire $1 million life savings confiscated for more than a year. Wait… a stripper's life savings was $1 million in cash??? Believe me, in terms of strange stories, that's just the beginning.
Tasha Mishra (picture not found) is a 33 year old stripper from the Southern California city of Rancho Cucamonga. Tasha has a been a stripper since the day she turned 18. Impressively, after 15 years of lap dances, champagne rooms and pole splits, Tasha was able to sock away slightly more than $1 million in cash. The total amount was precisely $1,074,900. We can only assume most of the money was sticky dollar bills. Perhaps even more impressively, that $1 million was actually free and clear of all taxes. Turns out Tasha has been paying her fair share of state and Federal income taxes throughout her entire 15 year career on the pole. Considering she lives in California, which has thee highest state tax rate in the country, one can assume that Tasha had actually brought home closer to $1.7 million during her dancing career, before taxes. Actually far more than that, because we're talking about what Tasha managed to put aside in safe deposit boxes after living expenses. In other words, she managed to stash away an average of $111,000 every year in savings. That is mind boggling. Just running with my assumptions one step further, if you assume the average person spends $30,000 per year on living expenses, one could postulate that Tasha grossed $2.45 million over 15 years of shaking dat ass.
Related: How Much Does A Stripper Make?
In early 2012 the newly minted millionaire stripper decided it was time to hang up her G-string and explore a new career path. Not long after retiring, Tasha jumped at the opportunity to invest in a nightclub in New Jersey called Lounge 46. There was just one problem. How do you get $1 million in cash across country to invest? The maximum amount of cash you can fly with is $10,000. That left only one option, drive the cash across country. For some reason, Tasha did not want to leave California, so she hired two friends to fly out from New Jersey, pick up the cash in a rental car and drive it cross country to make the investment on her behalf. Those friends were a married couple named Rajesh and Marina Dheri. Rajesh and Marina began their journey in a rented Mercedes SUV.
Two days after they left Los Angeles, on March 3rd 2012, Rajesh and Marina were pulled over for speeding on Interstate 80 by a Nebraska State Police officer near the city of North Platte. Rajesh, the driver, was allegedly going 93 MPH in a 75 MPH zone. While Nebraska State Patrol Officer Ryan Hayes was issuing the speeding ticket, he asked Rajesh for permission to search the vehicle. Thinking they had nothing to hide, Rajesh agreed to the search. As you can imagine, Officer Hayes was shocked when he opened the trunk and discovered several hefty trash bags filled to the brim with bundles of $100 dollar bills. Still, thinking there was nothing to fear, Rajesh calmly explained the situation. He was completely honest about Tasha, the trip back east, the investment in the nightclub… He even got Tasha on the phone to confirm the story.
Officer Hayes wasn't buying it. Officers transported both Rajesh and the car full of money back to their local station. At the station, a drug sniffing dog supposedly found traces of drugs on the money. This is where Nebraska state rules get a little quirky. Even though their only "evidence" was that a dog supposedly smelled narcotics on the cash, that was enough for state police to seize the money until it was proven beyond a doubt that it had no connection to illegal activity. This was difficult because Rajesh openly admitted the money was not his and that he had only come into its possession two days earlier. Furthermore, Tasha herself couldn't simply explain what had happened because she was not the one who was caught with the money. Her tax records, bank statements and pay stubs had no bearing on the case, because, in Nebraska's eyes she was not involved. Kind of a Catch 22.
Tasha immediately sued the state to return her money. During the trial, a now seven-months pregnant Tasha Mishra provided tax returns dating back more than 10 years that proved she earned the money legally and had paid all obligations to the IRS. She also provided a contract that had been drawn up related to the agreement to invest in a New Jersey bar called 46 Lounge. Tasha further explained that due to the nature of her occupation, it is likely that some of the currency contained traces of narcotics from her customers, not an elaborate drug trade organization.
All in all, a fairly compelling argument. Perhaps instead of investing in a nightclub, Tasha should go to law school! Her arguments impressed U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon enough that earlier this week, he ruled that "there is no nexus [link] between the currency and any illegal activity". After an extremely frustrating year, not only will Tasha get her $1,074,900 back, Judge Bataillon also ruled the state owes her interest for the year it was gone. Roughly $32,000. That probably doesn't make up for an extremely frustrating year of court battles or the loss of her night club investment opportunity, but all in all the millionaire stripper finally got a happy ending. Wait… there's probably a better way to say that 🙂