All of you have heard the term "asset search" before. Like our blog on backgrounds, asset searches are at times cookie cutter and just flat horrible. Now that you have paid, sometimes thousands of dollars, for your search you receive a report, at times lengthy, and probably full of "fluff".
I will give you one example of a report I personally received from another firm that "specialized" in collections and asset location looking for my help to further their investigation. As you read I will explain what they did and what JB National Investigations did so that you can come to your own conclusions about whats professional and through and whats not.
What I had found, much like "basic" backgrounds, was that the information provided was simply a credit report, some old bank statements as well as information that was obviously taken from a simple database search.
If I were to take all of the FACTS that were listed in their report it may have taken 2.5 pages total. What was in the other 25.5 pages? Cut and paste pictures of current and past properties, cut and paste maps, the last 3 owners of a certain property (this could be useful but not in this particular case), pictures of the interior of homes that were completely outdated, paragraph upon paragraph of speculation, several pages of what used to be owned by the subject years prior to any involvement in legal action.....I could go on but it would be pointless, it was a report full of nothing basically trying to justify to their client their fee.
Let me now tell you what you need to know, what should be included in any written report and whats relevant when it comes to asset searches.
The most important piece of any asset location or search, especially for recovery, is getting a realtime "snapshot" of their assets prior to any action, legal or otherwise. This is paramount in cases of professional debtors, people committing fraud, and/or people who owe significant amounts of money. This "snapshot" will allow you to present this information to a judge and/or your attorney and prove
Your state laws may dictate how to move forward but in Arizona the order in which information is relevant definitely starts with liquid assets (cash/bank accounts) which can be seized immediately (with judgement of course). A professional private investigative firm, like JB National Investigations, should be able to provide you with your subjects banking institution(s). If the private investigator you have hired can't offer banking information, chances are they are not a truly professional asset location specialist.
Bank accounts as well as any another cash type account should give you a good idea about how the rest of your investigation will go. For instance if you were to garnish four accounts and they only contained a total of $1000 when you are looking for millions either your debtor/subject is very good or there just aren't enough liquid assets to continue to "throw good money at bad money".
The search for accounts should not be limited to "standard" financial institutions. They should include all retirement accounts, 401k's, IRA's etc.
In some cases an account garnishment may be all you need to accomplish your investigative goals.
Now that you know what your private investigator should be doing let me tell you what JB National Investigations did for the client we talked about at the beginning of this blog.
JB National Investigations followed the above mentioned standard to the letter when continuing the investigation for our now client. What we found as far as liquid assets were concerned was significant.
I will talk about physical assets in Part 2.
If you have questions or would like to know more about asset investigations please contact me anytime.
Director of Investigative Services
JB National Investigations, LLC
For further reading on offshore assets searches I found another blog that may interest you.
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