Capital Crime

Bilking a money-market fund

When he was asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton reportedly gave the legendary reply, "Because that's where the money is." If Sutton were still alive, he might be robbing money-market funds. In the past three years, Americans have put $113 billion into money-market funds, often by taking their cash out of low-interest savings accounts. The increasingly popular money funds pay high interest (last week an average of 16.9%) by investing in short-term securities like U.S. Treasury bills.

Last week the booming money-market funds passed yet another milestone: their first reported theft. The FBI alleged that a Brazilian couple,...

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