Here at International Investigators, we get asked a lot of questions about what we do and can do. Sometimes it is to help a specific client and sometimes it is just curiosity.
Asset Investigation is an area that intrigues people and also an area so many people find themselves thinking they might need help.
Hiding assets can occur in many situations, but the primary reasons often center on a separation or divorce and when anyone is thinking they are going to be sued. Lawsuits could be for debts, when someone is found guilty of a crime or negligence or even for business reasons. It really comes down to personal liability and sharing assets.
Hiding Money in a Divorce
When one spouse does not want to share their assets in divorce, and especially if they are the spouse initiating the divorce, they have time to plan for the dissolution proceedings. And that means they have time to shift money and other assets into hidden bank accounts or convert funds and possessions into other unknown assets. It is not always the husband, many times it is the wife.
Asset Investigation for Potential Lawsuit
People usually know when they will be named in a lawsuit. They are aware of the situation and just wait. Some wait impatiently and some spend their time shifting assets around leaving a complex bowl of spaghetti for the asset search investigator to track. All of a sudden their previous possessions become missing assets that seemingly appear to have disappeared.
Finding unknown accounts and the ability to locate hidden assets requires process, experience and imagination. Unless the skills of a forensic accountant are required, the asset search investigator follows the trail of money and locates potential accounts. They pinpoint where money may be and supply that information to our client's attorneys so they know what bank to send a subpoena for records. Otherwise, an attorney might have to subpoena hundreds or thousands of banks. And that is neither time nor cost effective.
Sometimes assets are converted into assets held under different names. For instance, a vacation home, boat or paintings may appear to have been sold and the sales proceeds payoff the outstanding debt. On closer inspection – and knowing what to look for - a hidden asset investigator might find that the buyer is a friend or relative of the subject under investigation. After the divorce or lawsuit is final, the intent is to regain possession of the assets. Sometimes subjects will even involve ownership in their businesses, which will open them up to a business asset search, too.
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators
-B. McGinley, Director of Operations, International Investigators