- Preparation for Litigation – If you are on the road to litigation against a party, finding out if the party can pay for the damages is the ultimate goal of the case. Conducting an asset investigation and taking a proactive approach will give you the insight needed to determine if the party will be able to adequately cover the damages BEFORE the legal fees start to pour in.
- During Litigation – If an asset investigation had not been conducted prior to the start of litigation and the opposing side is claiming they simply do not have any assets, a comprehensive asset investigation will confirm or deny the claim, but the investigation will also uncover any assets that had been hidden or transferred to another family member, friend, etc. in order to keep them hidden.
- Living Beyond Means – The biggest indicator of investment fraud, or the biggest indicator that the opposing partner should be able to pay damages, is the clear ability for the subject to be living beyond his or her means. Big homes, big cars, big boats, etc.
- Due Diligence – Due Diligence Investigations are designed to evaluate the background and reputation of a potential business partner(s) before entering into a financial relationship. A look into the assets of an individual during a Due Diligence Investigation will help you determine the actual worth of the assets and their origin.
- Internal Affairs – Corporations use internal investigations for employees that have access to large sums of money or checks that they may be embezzling, or employees that may even be receiving kickbacks from clients. Asset investigations are a good way to see where missing money is going.
- Loans – Financial institutions or private parties may want some reassurance before accepting to lend. Also, these assets may be a lifeline to recovering payment if the party defaults.
- Divorce – During divorce proceedings, an asset investigation will be able to uncover if a party has hidden assets that the opposing is entitled to.
- Judgments – Court-ordered judgments ensure that you are entitled to payment, but an asset investigation will help locate the opposing party in order to collect.
- Leverage – When negotiating with an opposing party, using an asset investigation will give you a better understanding of their finances, allowing you to ultimately decide to pursue a bigger settlement or otherwise.
- Executive Background Investigations – To fight off potential fraud in the long run, screening executives that may be living beyond means or experiencing financial difficulty with asset investigations is a proactive approach.
There is absolutely no way, by law (unless court-ordered or proper authorization is provided), that we can acquire bank records. But our proprietary databases in conjunction with public records allow us to find assets under the parameters of the law:
- Real Property Ownership
- Motor Vehicle Registrations.
- Watercraft Registrations
- Aircraft Registrations.
- UCC Filings
- Civil Litigation
- Divorce Proceedings
- Probate Filings
- Corporate Filings
- SEC Filings
- Patents and Trademarks
- Nonprofit Entities
42-year-old Jonathan R. Taylor, Newark, NJ police officer and Plainfield, NJ resident, has pleaded guilty to insurance fraud early last month according to the Essex County prosecutor’s office.
Taylor stated his car was stolen while the vehicle was found burned. He then submitted a fraudulent claim to his car insurance carrier.
According to investigators, Taylor’s Toyota Sequoia was reported stolen on March 1st, 2013. Newark police discovered the SUV in flames in Newark. Prosecutors say a motive included expensive repairs to the SUV which had over 100,000 miles on it, accompanied by high payments and 20% in accruing interest monthly.
Taylor served on the Newark force for 17 years. As part of the plea agreement, “the state will recommend a probationary sentence but Taylor must resign from the force,” according to Claims Journal.
Often times, claimants get word that they are being investigated, or their lawyers may tell them to be cautious with their choices on social media. One day, their Facebook profile is visible and searchable; and the next day, it’s gone. In an effort to stay hidden, claimants may change their names and contact information on Facebook, thus making the search for their profile or the original link null and void.
This does not necessarily mean that your subject is no longer on Facebook. They may still have an active profile, but have changed the name, vanity name, and/or email address that was originally associated with the profile.
ICU will be implementing a new policy and procedure while conducting Internet Profile Reports. The staff at ICU has found a way to identify the original profile id number that had been assigned to the profile when it was created. Your claimant can change all of their contact information and even use the name “John Smith” in an effort to throw us off the scent. Fortunately, the Facebook id number associated with a profile can NEVER change, and we are electing to provide that link to you so you never have to deal with losing your subject’s social media presence again.
Dean Smith’s Profile with vanity name in link:
Dean Smith’s Profile with Facebook id number in link:
We’ll let you see for yourself.
Facebook pages, such as for a band, business, etc., also have Facebook id numbers and can be retrieved in the same manner.
ICU Investigation’s Page with vanity name in link:
ICU Investigation’s Page with Facebook id number in link:
PLEASE NOTE: A Facebook user can only change the username/vanity name (the name that shows up at the end of the link to their profile) ONCE during the lifetime of the profile, but they may change the name that displays on their profile as much as they want. This is why we are stressing the importance of capturing the profile id number while we can, before the claimant changes any of their information.
The above page can be accessed by going to General Account settings while signed into Facebook. You will be able to see where the name, username/vanity name, email address, etc. can be altered.
ALSO NOTE: The only way your subject can erase this information is to completely delete the profile, and as we know from experience, most would rather not (their 1,472 friends and 2,609 tagged pictures will be lost in cyber space!).
Faking your own death to get-rich-quick is obviously a desperate endeavor. Celia Seupel, who posted an article to CNBC about these scams featured on “American Greed: The Fugitives”, reports that Dennis Jay, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud says, “it’s hard for people to stay off the grid year after year.”
Here are 7 “fake death” scams in which the “dead” have risen, and have gotten caught:
1. Clayton Daniels and wife, Molly, faked his death so he would stay out of jail and collect a $110,000 life insurance policy. However, their plan went awry when DNA testing revealed that the corpse they removed from a grave, dressed in Clayton’s clothes, and burned in a “car crash” was indeed a female.
2. Raul Pero, a resident of Los Angeles, took a trip to his homeland, Chile, and unfortunately “died” while away. Gloria Alcaraz, Pero’s roommate, called West Coast Life to claim his insurance policy. A problem arose when Alcaraz happened to call the day BEFORE the issuing of his death certificate.
3. Sometimes, you think you’ve got all ends covered. You fake your death, change your name, but if you’re Philip Sessarago (formerly), you decide to write a best-selling book. The name change to Tom Carew wasn’t enough, because he was recognized in a tv interview after the release of his book, Jihad!
4. Raymond Roth of Long Island, NY, faked his death with the help of his son, Jonathan. Not even a month after “dying”, Roth was pulled over for speeding in Santee, South Carolina.
5. Harry Gordon was once a millionaire, an Australian businessman who faked his death. He was discovered by his own brother halfway across the world, hiking on Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, New Zealand. Gordon’s brother convinced Gordon’s “widow” to turn him in.
6. Anthony McErlean allegedly died in Honduras after being hit by a truck. According to Seupel, “maybe he blew it when he called the life insurance company pretending to be his wife.” But the best part of the scam was that his fingerprints were on his fake “death certificate”.
7. Ahmad Akhtary received a fake death certificate from Afghanistan and his wife collected his 300,000 pounds of life insurance; but Akhtary continued to live, work, and pay taxes in Gloucester, England, without changing his name. Six months after the scam began, Akhtary went to the doctor for what he though was a routine visit, but the couple was officially caught.
Erin Arvedlund of Philly.com reports that according to the US Department of Justice, 11.5 million victims suffer from identity theft annually, with losses averaging $4,900. Below is a compiled list of practices that you should implement in order to keep your financial information under lock and key, and ultimately help you and your family members avoid becoming victims:
1. Garbage and Mail: Criminals are not ashamed to dig through your trash. Use a shredder before disposing of any credit offers, bills, checks and statements, receipts, credit applications and insurance documents. If you don’t have a shredder, finely ripping mail will suffice. Also, if you are planning on being away from home, have a trusted family member collect your mail daily, notify your local US Postal Service and have them keep your mail in their facility until you return, or install a mailbox that locks.
2. Preapproved Credit Cards: This practice also ties into guarding your mail and trash. Preapproved credit applications or credit cards may flood your mailbox, and it’s simple for a criminal to grab a hold of this information and open a credit card in your name. You have the ability to opt out of these offers! Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
3. Run your Credit Report: National consumer-reporting companies, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, are required by The Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow you to run your credit report annually for FREE. It will pay off in the long run for you to utilize this service, especially if you’ve been a victim. Most people don’t know until it’s too late. It’s best to take a proactive approach!
4. Important Documents: Keep your social security card/number, birth certificate, passports, banking information and documents, etc. in a guarded place. Hidden lock boxes work great (especially if you’re living with roommates) and a safety deposit box is also a relatively cheap option.
5. Passwords: Assuming most of us use the same passwords for almost everything, think about changing them up. Typical passwords consist of birthdays, telephone numbers, mother’s maiden name, etc. Make note to change your passwords regularly to avoid compromising your financial information.