Our Asset Recovery Investigation division is used to reveal the financial profile of an individual or business. An Asset Recovery Investigation can be useful making a wide variety of business decisions. There are several levels of asset recovery investigations, from a basic search of public records to very thorough “deep” asset investigations, which can reveal hidden assets such as bank accounts, brokerage and retirement accounts and even offshore accounts.
People hide assets for a variety of reasons that range from personal to business in nature, but essentially they have property or money that they do not want discovered. Hiding of assets is not always a sign of criminal intent, but just as often it shows a moral or ethical failing in a subject’s character in that they feel there is a reason to hide all or a portion of their wealth from scrutiny.
There are clearly situations of a business or personal nature in which it is essential to check for the possibility of hidden assets. Knowledge of such assets can make a big difference in the establishment of grounds for particular types of interpersonal actions or the furthering of certain business relationships. And of course the law enforcement community needs to monitor underworld activities, a part of which is watching for laundered or hidden assets, especially those that might end up being removed to offshore accounts. Thus, an asset search is vital to full disclosure of resources in a variety of matters both civil and criminal. The primary reasons for an asset search in the private or family sector are evaluated below:
Entering into a New Business Venture – If one is considering investing in a new business, bringing a new investor into an existing company or contemplating a merger between companies, it is essential to conduct a thorough background check on the individual or corporation. Such a check also includes a comprehensive assets search.
Prior to Entering into a Lawsuit – (Pre-Judgment) – It is important to conduct an assets search prior to filing suit against an individual or company to determine what assets or regular income is present in the event a judgment is ordered by the court. It is not worth the cost of legal fees to file a suit against a person or company that will be unable to pay any court-ordered sum. It is also important to determine what assets or property could be attached on an uncontested basis once a judgment is issued, assuming victory in the suit. If the entity to be sued has nothing of value that can be taken, there is no point in entering into a suit.
Collecting on a Judgment – When the court order a sum of money to be paid as part of a civil action, a judgment is issued, this is simply a court order for the payment of funds. It is rare for the defendant to simply pay the amount ordered on the spot. The judicial system only orders payment, but collection is the responsibility of the plaintiff.
A judgment will stand for ten years, but can be extended to become permanent. However, this requires that the defendant, who is now considered to be the debtor, be questioned in a deposition or hearing under oath regarding their financial status. If the debtor is going to surrender an item of property such as an automobile or boat, be certain to do an asset search before taking possession. If there are any liens against the property, taking possession may also bring with it liability for the lien.
Divorce – The finances involved in a divorce can often become rather complicated. It is not uncommon for a spouse to hide assets that would be open to dispute. An asset search of the party being divorced is very important to be certain that all assets are accounted for.
Child Support/Alimony – Public child support enforcement agencies are ill-equipped to locate parents who evade their child support obligations. Quite often the errant parent will attempt to hide assets, thus pleading an inability to meet child support or alimony payments. In child support cases, once the parent is located, information regarding their wages or any hidden assets should be given to the proper child support enforcement agency that can then facilitate collection.
Contesting of a Will – Quite often personal assets may be hidden and not disclosed in a will. Potential beneficiaries or those entitled to a claim against the estate should search for the possibility of hidden assets.
Everything that is owned is potentially an asset. Stocks, bonds, real estate, money in the bank, automobiles, RV’s, boats, airplanes and even household furnishings are all considered assets. Personal assets are classified as either being personal property or real property.
Tangible Personal Property – This includes vehicles, equipment, inventory, telephone systems, computers, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and paid insurance policies with cash value. Any items of value that a person or a company buys or comes into possession of constitute a tangible asset. Ownership is determined by possession unless the property must be licensed such as vehicles, boats or airplanes. For those types of property, the ownership is determined by title and registration. For all other property, a sales receipt or cancelled check can be used to determine ownership, but the courts have been guided by the belief that possession is nine tenths of the law.
Intangible Personal Property – This category includes patents, royalty agreements, promissory notes, contracts, accounts receivable, wages or other income.
Real Property – All homes, condominiums, apartment or commercial buildings and land are classed as real property. Only a residence that is protected by a homestead exemption is exempt from being attached. All other real estate is subject to claim through the courts.
In business matters, asset searches are used to determine the financial worthiness of a potential partner, also known as due diligence investigations. In business matters where there is a potential for legal action, they can be used to determine the ability of a party to pay if the law suit is successful. In instances where one party owes money to the other, they are used to collect a debt or judgment. This includes the collection of small claims judgments. In some cases in individual may have declared bankruptcy, yet there is a possibility that assets may have been sequestered.
Asset Recovery investigations are also useful as part of pre-employment screening for executives and management personnel. They are also useful in matters of loss prevention and uncovering employee theft and fraud. Employees living beyond their means can be a major red flag in such matters. Asset investigation are also used in researching the competition in new and existing markets.
We often tell business clients that discovering assets is an art not a science. This is especially true of the more thorough investigations in cases where assets are deliberately being shielded and hidden. In these instances you need the skills of seasoned professions whose knowledge of the ways such assets are hidden enable them produce positive results on your project.
Ranno Investigative Services, LLC offers a wide variety of Asset Recovery investigations. The information below spells out each level of investigation we offer.
Ranno Investigative Services, LLC
PO Box 1324
Middletown, CT 06457
Connecticut Private Investigators that conduct Insurance Fraud Investigations, Workers Comp Insurance Fraud Investigations, Liability Claims Investigations, CT Private Investigators that conduct surveillance on claims for Insurance Companies, Self Insured Businesses, Small Businesses, Large Corporations, Law Firms, Colleges, Government Facilities, State Agencies, Workers Compensation Commissions and the the general public. Other investigations include Personal Injury, Criminal Defense Investigations, Locating Missing Persons, Infidelity Investigations, Cheating Spouse Investigations, Witness Statement, Child Custody Investigations, GPS Rentals and much more.