A financial investigation is an important tool in fighting against money laundering and terrorism financing. These investigations are typically conducted by private investigators and can be helpful in a variety of situations.
If someone is refusing to pay debt or claims they have no assets, an asset and financial investigation can help uncover their true financial status.
There are many ways people attempt to hide assets, including transferring money into and out of accounts, using sham companies for financial transactions, hiding debt with false invoices, and selling assets to friends and family. Lawyers and investigators can start by looking at bank statements, searching for unusual withdrawals or transfers. They can also scour business records, employee benefits programs, real estate holdings, and even travel or reward program accounts.
One common misconception is that hidden assets only occur in illegal or unethical businesses, but this isn’t the case. Hidden assets can be found in any type of business, even those that are well-established and reputable. It’s important for businesses to identify and address hidden assets, as they can make it more difficult for investors, creditors, and tax authorities to evaluate the financial health of the business.
Asset and financial investigation can help uncover these hidden assets, as it helps law enforcement officials follow a paper trail of criminals’ illegal earnings. This can help in locating criminals’ partisans, settling property loss cases, and resolving shareholder disputes. It can also be used to uncover fraudulent or illegal activities that are associated with money laundering, terrorist financing, and drug dealing. This type of investigation can be performed by professional investigative firms, law enforcement officers, or private individuals. Typical sources of information include county records, such as deeds offices and property appraisals; public records, such as health and weights and measures departments; and state records, such as corporation registers and business employee reports.
There are many reasons to conduct an asset investigation, including determining the value of a person’s assets and whether they are hiding any money. An investigation will be able to locate hidden assets that a person may attempt to conceal by transferring ownership, using shell companies or offshore accounts, or failing to disclose on financial documents. In a divorce proceeding, an investigation can also help determine the amount of alimony or child support to be paid.
Following the money trail provides valuable leads in fighting criminal activities, such as terrorism financing. As such, EU countries have incorporated this important component into their national legal frameworks and made financial investigations a priority in their anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) efforts.
TIN can verify the financial and non-financial assets of individuals and entities, including real property, vehicles, aircraft, equipment, unclaimed property and more. TIN can also conduct GLB compliant bank and brokerage account searches to uncover information regarding the movement of funds. TIN conducts these searches in compliance with state and federal laws, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This information can be used in a lawsuit to recoup any losses suffered due to financial fraud or other violations of the law. This is particularly important when an individual attempts to avoid paying a debt by claiming a lack of financial means.
Fraud is a common and costly problem in any business. Suspicious patterns such as unexplained transactions, multiple accounts opened under one name, or a sudden spike in expense account spending can indicate fraudulent behaviour and should be investigated further. Employees should be vigilant and ensure that internal policies and alert systems are in place. In addition, if an individual is handling multiple roles that would normally require oversight from different departments (such as accounting and IT) this could also be a warning sign of a potential fraud.
To detect fraud, investigators need to look at all financial records including bank accounts, investments, trusts, property, share holdings and any overseas activities or corporate interests. Additionally, investigators should consider all physical assets like cars, boats, art and jewellery, as well as a wide range of trading activity in foreign currency.
Another aspect of a financial investigation involves following the money trail to identify associates and uncover hidden assets. This is especially important in counter-terrorism investigations where criminals often hide their profits to finance terrorist attacks or for other illicit purposes. The goal of a financial investigation is to deny criminals the means to commit crime by depriving them of their proceeds. This is why financial investigations are considered a priority when fighting serious and organised crime. The 2020 Counter-Terrorism Action Plan outlines this as one of its key priorities.
Identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of people every year. When criminals gain access to a person’s personal sensitive information, they can use it to make fraudulent charges, open credit cards and loans in their name, file tax returns with the IRS, obtain medical services or utilities and more.
There are different types of identity theft, depending on how the victim’s personal information is used by a criminal. Financial identity theft is the most common type of identity theft. Fraudsters can sift through trash bins or buy stolen data breaches to get your banking and credit card statements, then make purchases with your money or apply for loans using your name and address.
Another popular type of identity theft is medical identity theft, which involves a criminal using your name and health insurance information to seek healthcare or receive treatment under someone else’s policy. Criminals who steal identities can also be arrested under someone else’s name, which is sometimes referred to as “criminal identity theft.”
Children are often the victims of identity fraud. Criminals can use a child’s Social Security number to open lines of credit, apply for government benefits or apply for jobs with a background check. This is known as synthetic or child identity theft, and it can stay with the victims for their entire lives.