Divorce hidden assetsOne afternoon, Becky, a middle-aged Indianapolis, Indiana woman heard the doorbell ring.  Not expecting anyone, she went to the door to see her postman on the porch.  He asked her to sign for a certified letter and then returned to his mail truck.  Anxious to see what this unknown letter was about, Becky immediately ripped it open.  She was shocked by the letter she was reading: her husband of 29 years had filed for divorce.  After getting by in a daze the next few days, she stopped by an ATM to get some cash for necessities.  After three attempts with an error message on the screen, she went inside to speak to the teller.  Her jaw dropped to the floor when the teller informed her that the account had been closed 6 days ago.  As a forensic accountant who specializes in locating hidden assets, the story of Becky is all too common. 

Unfortunately spouses like this, who’ve had a successful careers, make the hurtful decision that they no longer want or need to share the fruits of their fortune.  They stealthily and strategically begin to structure the divorce months or years in advance.  A structured divorce is nothing new: an intentional and diabolical way to gradually withdraw cash and liquidate personal assets including but not limited to: property, cash, retirement accounts, joint personal bank and checking accounts, and ownership in their company.  They dwindle their asset accounts to a minimum by the time the divorce papers are served, and presume that their spouse will simply believe what is on the current statement.

A forensic accountant who also possesses a private investigator’s license holds a rare combination of skills and can locate assets using state-of-the-art financial investigative techniques.

There a many roads a forensic accountant must travel in order to locate and uncover hidden assets, but the essentials of any forensic investigation must involve bank statements, financial statements, and a full background investigation.  A full background check is mandatory as well in an attempt to reveal personal hidden wealth, but without ALL the bank and financial statements from all parties involved, it would be near impossible to identify the areas of hidden asset risk.

If you feel you are the victim of a structured divorce, please contact CFFI.  We are licensed both as a CPA and Private Investigation firm and we’ll get to the bottom-line of the truth!

Michael R. Hathaway, CFE, CAMS, P.I.