Private Investigator Asset Search Investigations
If you are in the midst of needing a private investigator to search for assets due to a divorce, have a judgment to collect, or want to find out if someone has money might seem easy enough. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy anymore. Banks and other financial institutions only give out such information if they have a good reason. That being said, what are your options? A private investigator can help. A financial asset search investigation will collect information about income, assets, and debts.
How Do Private Investigators Find Assets?
Private investigators are trained to find assets. This training included being compliant with the Privacy Act and the GLB Act. Assets can be anything from money to property and are often hidden from view by the person in question. They can use various methods, sources, and tools for their private investigator asset search. These include:
- Searching through bank statements, credit card statements, and other records
- Searching through emails, texts, and social media accounts
- Searching through phone records (both landlines and mobile phones)
- Checking public records, such as property records and tax records.
- Direct questioning of persons involved in disputed claims (e.g., spouses in divorce proceedings)
- Discovery through litigation proceedings (e.g., subpoena duces tecum)
- Using other investigative techniques such as surveillance.
In short, there are many ways private investigators gather financial information on people involved in disputes such as divorce cases or child custody disputes by conducting asset searches.
Can a Private Investigator Find Financial Information?
A private investigator (PI) can search for any financial information, including bank accounts, credit card statements, tax records, etc. Suppose you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you to reduce their alimony obligation. In that case, a private investigator can help you prove that they are lying about their income or expenses.
A PI may also be able to prove that someone who owes child support isn’t paying it by tracking their spending habits and finding out where their money goes each month.
It is essential to know that there are limitations on what information can be obtained through these asset search methods. For example, asset search California laws protect certain information from being disclosed to third parties. These include credit reports and medical records, among others.
What Does an Asset Search Reveal?
A financial asset search is conducted to provide information on any current or prior assets in the name of the individual being searched. This includes the following:
- Bank accounts
- Bonds and mutual funds
- The results may also include real estate holdings
- vehicles and other assets that may be owned by the person being searched
A financial asset search will not reveal how much money is in each account or what type of investment it is. It does show if an individual has any assets at all and where those assets are located.
The results of a financial asset search can be used as evidence in court cases to prove that someone owns certain assets or items of value. They can also determine whether someone has enough money to pay child support or alimony payments if he or she loses his job and cannot find employment for some time.
Can You Do an Asset Search on Someone?
You can do an asset search on someone, and it’s easy to find out if they are hiding assets from you. Most people probably want to avoid admitting that they have hidden assets, but there are many reasons why it may be beneficial for them not to tell the whole truth about their finances. Sometimes, a person may hide assets from creditors to avoid paying off debts or taxes.
In other cases, the individual may be trying to protect their financial interests while still being able to spend money as they wish. This could be because they have significant debt or don’t feel like disclosing how much money they have in savings. It’s important to note that someone can hide assets from a spouse or partner.
This could be because they want to avoid paying alimony or child support. It could also be because they have other financial obligations that must be kept secret.
For example, if a person has embezzled money from their employer and doesn’t want anyone else to find out about it, they would certainly not want their spouse to find out about any hidden assets.
What Does an Asset Investigator Do?
Asset search companies and private investigators are trained to find hidden assets. These individuals can help you find your target’s hidden assets so that you can see whether or not they are hiding money from you.
Asset investigators use techniques such as analysis of documents and financial transactions, surveillance, and interviewing witnesses to find out where assets are hidden. They may also assist with legal proceedings such as arrests and asset seizures or appear as expert witnesses.
The role of an asset investigator varies according to their employer’s needs, but they will often be involved in the following:
- The tracing of funds – bank accounts, property ownership records, etc
- The identification of assets (such as cars or boats) belonging to the person being investigated
- Interviewing witnesses – including former employees who may have given away sensitive information about the suspect’s finances
How Much Does a Private Investigator Asset Search Cost?
The cost will vary depending on the size of your case and the number of assets you need to track down. Typically, a full-blown investigation can cost between $1,000 and $5,000. However, if you want to track down one specific asset, like a checking or investment account, this will be less expensive than hiring someone who tracks down all of your spouse’s assets.
How to Find Someone’s Hidden Assets
The best way to get your hands on the hidden assets of another person is to contact a private investigator. They have the tools and experience to discover secret bank accounts, property, or other assets.
When it comes to hidden assets, the most common situation is where a divorcing spouse has hidden some or all of their assets to avoid being divided during the divorce process.
This is a big problem because the other spouse will not receive their fair share of the marital estate, which could mean financial hardship for both parties involved in the divorce process.
A hidden asset search goes beyond bank accounts to uncover a debtor’s true wealth. Your investigator examines the debtor’s records and makes connections to locate their existing assets.
People usually hide their assets in these places:
In Their Bank Accounts
The first place to look is the debtor’s bank account. Creditors are allowed to look through a debtor’s bank records under certain circumstances, and they can get a court order if they cannot obtain those records on their own. In addition, creditors can look at the debtor’s credit card statements, which show how much money the debtor has spent and where they have spent it.
In Offshore Accounts
If your debtor has moved money offshore, you will have to get help from a licensed investigator or law firm specializing in asset tracing. Offshore banks often charge enormous fees for information requests and may not respond if they feel it’s an easy case and can get away with saying no.
Many people put money away in retirement accounts so that it will not be taken by creditors if they ever go bankrupt or file for bankruptcy protection due to debt problems. This is why private investigators need to be aware of this to include this information when filing documents on behalf of their clients.
Another common place where debtors hide assets is real estate. They often sell their home or condo to pay off debts. But some will transfer the property’s title into another person’s name – a relative or friend – so creditors cannot seize it. Other times, they may transfer the deed to their attorney or accountant, who holds the property in trust until their bankruptcy case is resolved.
Businesses and Investments
Debtors may hide their business assets by dissolving the company and transferring ownership to another person. They may also transfer ownership of a business to another corporation or trust. This is not always easy, but it can be done through legal steps such as transferring shares or setting up new corporations with new shares or assets.
Many people hide their securities in various ways, making it difficult for creditors to find them. These include transferring ownership of stocks or bonds without filing the proper paperwork with the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) or moving stocks out of one name into another person’s name who is not legally obligated to reveal them (such as a spouse).
Trusts can be used to protect assets from creditors in two ways:
The first is through a spendthrift trust.
This type of trust is designed to protect a person’s assets from creditors who might try to seize them. For this type of trust to be effective, it must be created before any potential creditor has a lien on the estate. Once a creditor gets a lien on an estate, it is much more difficult for that person to get her hands on any assets held by the debtor.
The second way is through an “alter ego” trust.
In this type of trust, the trustee holds all legal title and ownership rights over property that belongs to someone else. Alter ego trusts are complex for creditors to challenge because they have no rights under state or federal bankruptcy law.
Cryptocurrency is becoming more popular as an asset that people want to keep hidden from creditors because it can be challenging to track down who owns what crypto wallet address and who has sent how much.
Settlement Statement (HUD-1)
Another possible hiding place for assets is through a settlement statement (HUD-1). This form lists all assets transferred during the bankruptcy process, including bank accounts, cars, and homes. If you see an asset listed on this form that isn’t yours, it’s probably been gifted away by your debtor. You’ll need to get in touch with your lawyer immediately.
One of the most common ways debtors hide assets is by transferring real estate ownership into a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legal agreement in which a landowner sells some or all rights over their property, such as building on it or developing it. Instead of selling the property outright, they transfer some rights to an organization that agrees to protect the land from development and preserve its natural state. The organization pays the owner money for this right, which can be used to pay off debts.
Antiques and Expensive Artwork
Creditors will often look at antiques and expensive artwork to find hidden assets. These items usually have hefty price tags and can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. This makes them a very tempting target for creditors looking to recoup some of their losses from unpaid debts.
Family and Friends
Debtors often have friends willing to help them hide assets or give them money to get out of debt. These friends may offer support because they are sympathetic toward the debtor’s situation or want to help out a friend.
How Is an Asset Search Done?
An asset search gathers information on an individual’s assets and liabilities to determine their financial situation.
The First Step of an Asset Search Is Asking the Right Questions
The investigator needs to ask questions that will provide answers related to the subject’s assets. For example, if they are looking for a person’s bank accounts, they should ask where they banked previously and where they bank now. If there has been any change in banks, it could indicate that this person has moved their money elsewhere or opened another account at another institution.
The Second Stage Is Analysis
Once they have gathered this information, they will analyze it and look for links between different sources of information. If they suspect that a person has made false claims about their financial situation, they may look for inconsistencies between different types of information or between other pieces of evidence collected during their investigation.
For example, if someone claims that they own a rental property but it does not appear on any mortgage documents, this would be an inconsistency that could indicate fraud or misrepresentation.
The Final Stage Is to Act on the Report
If you have hired a private investigator asset search California company to find out if someone has assets you can use in a divorce, your next step would be to use those assets as bargaining chips during settlement discussions.
In complicated matters, irretrievable records can be unearthed that were thought to be non-existent. With financial asset search investigations, the past and the present can be revealed. If you’re looking for an experienced private investigator to conduct a financial asset search investigation, contact us at 1-800-577-1080! Our investigators are former Federal agents. Our network of private detectives are former IRS, FBI, DEA, and Secret Service personnel.
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