Hidden assets can be an issue in a variety of contexts — from divorce to bankruptcy to fraud. An acrimonious divorce, ownership dispute or occupational theft incident could all lead an individual or business to wrongfully hide items of value. In such cases, fraud experts use a variety of tools to uncover the assets — and the truth.
Net worth analysis
Experts often start their searches with a net worth analysis that looks at changes in a person’s worth, reconciling those changes with income and expenses. The first step is to reconstruct this data, which may involve some detective work. Experts search for clues in a variety of places, including:
Employment and loan applications also can provide insights, including current and previous residences, family members’ names, and previous jobs. Experts then may interview people such as the subject’s accountants, former spouses, former business partners and real estate agents.
Once they collect the financial data, experts typically have three ways of detecting hidden assets.
Fraud experts also typically obtain (through legal methods) and examine tax returns for specific items and general trends. Of particular interest are income from wages; interest and dividends; and taxable refunds of federal, state and local taxes. And the expert might review the existence and amounts of any distributed retirement plan assets.
If you suspect that someone is hiding assets, contact us. We can tailor our investigation to the circumstances of the case.