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Asset Searches: Not Just for Divorce

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One of the most common reasons why a private investigator will look into an individual’s assets is because their client is involved in divorce proceedings. The reason why a private investigator will look into the individual’s assets is because one person in the marriage hides money from the other to prevent that amount from being included in their total net worth.

Individuals who hide money from a partner or spouse are more common occurrence than you might think! A study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) discovered that 1 in 3 adults with combined finances hide some of their money in some way, shape, or form. In addition, 3 in 10 of adults with combined finances that hide their money do it by hiding:

  • Bank accounts
  • Statements
  • Bills
  • Cash
  • Purchases

To top it all off, 13% of the adults with combined incomes included in the study indicated that they have lied about how much they earn, or about how much debt they have in their name.

Despite the fact that private investigator firms receive many requests for divorce asset search services, the same type of activity applies to many other situations outside of a dissolving marriage. After all, if an adult is willing to steal or hide money from their spouse, what’s stopping them from participating in fraudulent activities with the company they work for?

It’s true that these situations might not score as high on the private investigation asset search list, but they are just as important to understand because they absolutely happen. And let’s not forget the negative impacts hidden assets can have on the client (whether they be an individual or company).

PI for Hire: Top Reasons for an Asset Search

As mentioned above, there are many reasons why a private investigator will conduct an asset search. Some of the top reasons why a private investigator in Canada (or an even an international private investigator) will conduct an asset search on behalf of their client include:

Employee Fraud

It might sound horrible, but there are individuals across Canada who treat the company they work for like a bank. They might have access to a corporate credit card, or maybe even the company’s bank account. Some employees also have access to confidential information like, bank account numbers for every employee within the company.

It is not difficult for these individuals to use the corporate credit card for personal purchases, or in extreme cases, move large sums of the company’s money to an offshore account.

In this case it might work to your company’s benefit to hire an undercover private investigator. This is someone who will pretend to work for your company, while secretly investigating the individual or individuals in question. It is beneficial to the company to build a case against the individual stealing assets before charging them, or having them arrested. Hiring a private investigator will make building a case easier as they know exactly what to look for as well as the information you can use against them in court.

Business Partnerships

In addition to hiring the right people, companies also need to carefully consider who they select as their partner(s). Potential candidate companies might lie about their financial state in order to enter an agreement, while others actively engage in illegal business practices like, fraud, and embezzlement.

Hiring a corporate private investigator, or a private investigation firm to investigate the other company is simply good business sense. These investigations will uncover any hidden assets that might lead to bad press and expensive court dates down the road.

Individuals looking to partner with someone, for any reason, should also look into getting a private investigator or private investigation company to uncover any potential hidden assets. Taking a leap of faith and giving someone (even a family member) money for an investment could end in disaster. To prevent yourself from losing money, a PI can make sure that whatever or whoever it is that you are investing in is legit.

Recover Stolen Assets

Perhaps you’ve had a large sum of money stolen from you or your company. Hiring a private investigator, or private investigation firm, will provide you with the resources you need to find that money again. While finding hidden assets in general is challenging, private investigators know all the tricks of the trade to uncover the information you need to take the person or company to court.

Quite often, when money is stolen, it’s immediately turned into other types of assets, which are also possible to hide. Other types of assets that a private investigator can search for include:

  • Jewelry
  • Art
  • Real Estate
  • Boats
  • Stocks
  • Loans

Investment Opportunities

Similar to how businesses look into any partnerships they might want to develop, an asset search also helps to determine whether or not the investment is valid and real. Unfortunately, there are people out there who present investment opportunities that crash and burn (in a way that leaves you with an empty bank account). These people then hide the money that others invest, and skip town.

The good news is, hiring a private investigator or private investigation company to look into the investment before any money exchanges hands can prevent you from losing assets. If you have already given your money to someone who has seemingly disappeared, a private investigator can track him or her down, in addition to uncovering where your money has gone.

Private Investigation Firms & Asset Searches

Many private investigation firms in Canada offer asset search services. This makes it a bit trickier to know and understand the difference between a scam and getting actual results. After all, there are people out there who will present themselves as one thing, when really, all they are interested in is taking your assets.

Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure the private investigation firm or private investigator you choose comes with some good references. Something else to watch out for is that many private investigation company’s or individuals will try to charge you to conduct one specific type of asset search, and when that search is complete, they require additional fees to continue searching.

Good private investigators will want the bigger picture, which means they are going to give you a rate, upfront, that will include everything they need to get the job done.  

The Smith Investigation Agency offers private investigation services in Toronto and the GTA, as well as Ottawa, Barrie, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington and more. If you require asset search services, or more information about asset searches, don’t hesitate to contact us at:

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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