Financing asset location
Finding concealed assets is an expensive business, and one which is about to become unaffordable for most Americans. This is because Congress is moving inexorably to pass some version of the Deadbeat Dad and Fraudster Protection Act of 2006 (the name will doubtless be something else, but the effect will remain the same) which will make it difficult to impossible for private investigators to get information based on social security numbers.
For a woman struggling to get by, and who cannot afford an attorney to work with the legal system, locating the errant father of her children will now be impossible. By the same token, the poorer spouse in a divorce, or a less-than- rich victim of a small fraud (as opposed to the theft of a few hundred million), will be unable to afford a search for concealed assets.
For those of us whose business involves looking for large amounts of money, where the information requests are generally in the form of subpoenas, the effect will be minimal. However, we still generally face the issue of financing a recovery, often on behalf of individuals or groups who have been badly burned.
In the case of a divorce involving significant assets, the secret is that the divorce attorney needs to start looking for the assets early on, before they have run through all their client’s money. Unfortunately, most divorce attorney’s don’t know much about how to find assets, so if you – or someone you know – are going to be involved in a divorce, you should immediately download the March 2000 issue of ÆGIS, print out the article “Location of hidden assets in divorce proceedings” (one of our two most popular downloads), start following the advice in it, and give a copy to counsel at your first meeting.
In the case of fraud and theft, the best approach is to go to the person with the money: The fraudster.
In general in fraud and theft cases, even though most assets are concealed or in transit to concealment, there is always some set of assets that are visible. The goal is to find these, and to force their availability for use in locating the rest. As it turns out, location of concealed assets is a specialized area, so if your attorney is not entirely clear on how to do this, have them call us.