Assets include money in bank accounts, insurance policies with a cash value, stocks and bonds, a new car or boat with no liens, real property, a stack of 100 dollar bills stashed under a mattress, or just about anything else that a business or individual owns. Sometimes, assets are not what we normally consider to be “property” but are nevertheless quantifiable financial holdings which provide distinct financial benefits to those who possess them. These include such things as tax credits, cryptocurrency like Bitcoins, Dogecoins, and Peercoins, stock options, riparian and mineral rights, foreign trusts, and even such things like baseball card collections, stamps, and antiques.
Companies and individuals attempt to hide assets for many nefarious reasons. Because of federal and state financial regulations it is increasingly difficult for private investigators to lawfully uncover many of these assets. Almost any investigator can search public data bases for assets owned by an individual but these rudimentary searches will not likely reveal clues to hidden assets. If you have a need to know what a business or an individual really owns, we have a number of lawfully creative ways that can be successful in finding hidden assets.
Why would anyone want to know about someone’s assets? Here are just a few reasons:
Court Ordered Judgments
An asset investigation should be conducted before you sue someone to make sure that assets will be available should you win a judgment. However, few businesses or individuals have the forethought to do this. Once you win a judgment it is often hard to collect the court ordered sum because you do not know what assets the defendant has or where they are located. Your attorney can help you with “Writs of Garnishment” and “Debtor Examinations” but if the assets are hidden these legal actions will not do you any good and they will just increase your legal fees. If you are thinking of suing someone or have already obtained a judgment, Babnick and Associates can work to discover assets that a court can seize to help satisfy your judgment.
Going into business with someone is a big step and one that could have serious repercussions if your partner(s) have not been truthful about their financial worthiness. If you are considering starting a business with a partner or considering a merger of an existing business, you should certainly conduct an assets investigation. As asset investigation, coupled with a “Due Diligence” background investigation, will help you make informed decisions before committing to establishing a business relationship.
Bankruptcy and Fraud
One of the most common forms of bankruptcy fraud is concealment of assets. Locating hidden assets can assist in satisfying a debt owed to you as well as help in contesting bankruptcies. If someone owes you a debt and they are talking about declaring bankruptcy, you need to take immediate action to protect what is owed to you. Babnick and Associates is knowledgeable in areas of fraud, understands the legal process, and can investigate business or individual assets. If fraud is discovered, this evidence can be used by you to contest a fraudulent bankruptcy and protect your rights as a creditor.
Collecting Child Support
In some cases, a parent who has been ordered to pay child support claims they have no assets to make payments but they appear to be living just fine. They drive a nice car, have money to go on vacations, and live in a nice house, but because they are “self-employed” they are able to hide their assets. Often they claim poverty and escape their financial obligations. Uncovering hidden assets in child support cases can be a time consuming and expensive process and most state child support enforcement agencies do not have the resources to pursue this. Babnick and Associates can conduct a cost-effective preliminary asset investigation. The results of this preliminary investigation can be used to decide whether a full scale investigation is warranted. When assets are discovered a court can seize these assets to satisfy outstanding child support obligations.
In dissolution of marriage proceedings, it is important to determine the assets and liabilities of the parties so that a court can divide them up equitably. Where a party has controlled the finances for the marriage, the marital income and assets may be hard to find and many attorneys do not know where to begin to look for hidden assets. If you sense that divorce is possibly on the horizon, contact Babnick and Associates – before it is too late, and discover what your spouse really owns. In many cases, you may be entitled to all or part of the discovered monies but this is only possible if you and your attorney are able to find the assets.
Investigating and locating hidden assets is a complex and intensive process that often involves concomitant methods of asset identification, including overt and covert field investigation, targeted surveillance, proprietary database searches, foreign sources, record checks, third party information, and document collection and verification. Babnick and Associates recognize that each case is unique and approach each investigation with diligence and integrity.
All asset searches are only conducted for lawful purposes using legal asset location methods. These methods may include, but are not necessarily limited to, public records, creditor information, insurance records, UCC filings, proprietary data bases, covert trash inspections, surveillance, vendor records and payments, and other third party information sources, both foreign and domestic.