Latest from The Divorce Asset Hunter

The college admissions scandal has been full of wonderful teachable moments – about ethics, humility, greed and corruption. Now for asset hunters there is a new nugget today: overpaying on purpose. As the Boston Globe reported yesterday, a municipal home assessor found it odd that a home in Needham, Massachusetts (near Cambridge, where Harvard is) sold for close to a million dollars even though it was assessed at $549,000. Why would someone overpay so…
At some point with nearly every asset search our firm conducts, we end up telling clients that finding assets is often more than a one-step process. The one step some people think we need to take is to consult some databases, and voila! A pot of gold they can easily seize. While there have been times when we discover real estate ownership in the name of the asset concealer, our clients in these cases usually…
One of the most frequently-asked questions new divorce-related clients ask us is: “If I need a forensic accountant can you do that?” The answer we give is that we are not forensic accountants, but you probably need us anyway because forensic accountants don’t do what we do. And, you may need a forensic accountant as well. Fact-finding and forensic accounting go together to give you a much better shot at finding assets than either function…
Nearly ten years on since the arrest of master Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, the Ponzi fraudsters are still with us. Maybe not with as much money as Madoff’s billions, but powerful enough to do a lot of damage. Being devoted to finding assets, this blog doesn’t usually talk about ways to lose them. But we have had asset searches in which we suspect money was lost in a Ponzi scheme. The schemer may have assets,…
Clients who hire us for asset searches always want to know what we find. As often as not, the big news after an asset search is when we don’t find something we should be seeing but are not. When someone is concealing the truth, they often put in place a lie to throw you off. One of the best ways to figure out if someone is lying is to ask yourself, “is this likely?” Remember…
Finding assets can be satisfying work, but frustration sometimes comes in realizing that a client’s lawyers haven’t been asking the right questions in their depositions. We have written repeatedly that getting bank account information without a court order is illegal (other than discovering it on a shared computer or in records lying around). When we are looking for assets before a lawsuit has been filed, getting at bank records is a long shot, and what…
Just as it’s nice to know what number someone is using when they call you, wouldn’t it be useful to see where someone was when they sent an email? That information is often contained in the “fine print” of an email known as the “header.” In brief, the header describes the route an email takes from sender to recipient, sometimes bouncing eight or ten times across the internet in the space of a second or…
We’ve written plenty about why it makes sense to do an onshore search within the U.S. when you’re looking for offshore assets. See for instance our Offshore Assets Playbook and here. What comes as news to many clients is how secretive people are allowed to be with their assets right here in the U.S. Sometimes we find that the distinction between accounts in an overseas tax haven and one in certain American jurisdictions is…
For women wondering whether their ex-husband (or soon-to-be ex) is hiding assets on them, rest assured that you are not alone. According to a new white paper put out by Francis Financial, a wealth-management firm that specializes in advising women, 63 percent of women the firm surveyed “felt strongly that their husband was hiding assets during the divorce process.” The firm says this was among the first such studies focusing on women who have…
It may all come crashing down, but if it doesn’t the cryptocurrency market is your newest headache in trying to find hidden assets. Long written off by many as a joke, cryptocurrencies are still dismissed by many as a bubble waiting to burst. Just the other day, the Wall Street Journal ran this piece arguing that Bitcoin (the largest and original cryptocurrency) is way overvalued. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was worth almost nothing for several…