As a well know firm of private investigators specializing in corporate investigations, we often get called for performing hidden asset searches. Usually, our clients are law firms in the pre – litigation stage of a court case.
They are trying to develop a complete picture of the company or individual they are going to be suing. While a lot of information can be gleaned from freely available open sources, it is very limiting and often not complete. Strict privacy laws limit the amount of information that can be uncovered this way. Thus, as private investigators, we need to become a little creative.
Find Hidden Assets
One of the major ways to hide assets is in the form of real estate. Of course real estate purchases are fairly obvious and prominent, but people often undervalue them. Many a times, companies and individuals may divide ownership in such a way that they own a significant portion of a property, without it being prominently listed as theirs. Our capable team of detectives can easily find such cases and determine the true extent of ownership or stake in a property and the actual value of the property, after subtracting all outstanding loans and payment balances against the property.
Another place we have often found people hiding assets are in shell companies. These are basically companies that on paper have no significant assets, but, they are responsible for earning a lot of business for the parent company. In many prior cases, we have found many shell companies serving as convenient fronts to effectively hide resources and assets away from the public eye. Thanks to our discerning investigations, we are able to identify such companies with ease, often uncovering significant asset amounts. Shell companies actually play an important role, and despite being a less obvious asset, are usually a popular hiding place for assets.
Find Hidden Money
Many a times, some extremely valuable information can also be found in prior court cases against the company. This is because, many a times, the company may have been awarded a large sum of money as a settlement in a court case. Often, this money is hidden away in some remote account. But, since court case filings are open to the public, these documents can easily be found and the money located. Occasionally, a company may have also had to supply the court with a detailed financial statement, including all assets. These documents can prove invaluable when searching for hidden assets.
Apart from all these, there are of course some general places to look for the assets of a company. These are easily available through the tax filings, corporate tie – ups, press releases, etc. however, a major limitation is that these can only confirm whether an asset exists or not and can’t actually confirm its value. This is because of prevalent privacy laws. For instance, though the various bank accounts of a person can found, the amount of money held in the account can’t be found. Thus, the person can claim to have very little amounts of money in each account.