Divorce & Hidden Money: An Asset Search For Nominees
Many Asset Search Blog articles emphasize the role intermediaries, (i.e. “nominees”), can have in asset concealment schemes. This 24th post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series reminds you that your divorcing spouse might utilize nominees to hide assets from you.
During your divorce you may need to pursue an asset search in order to determine whether your spouse concealed marital assets from you. Asset searches sometimes include: hiring private investigators; employing forensic accountants; seeking a copy of your spouse’s passport to help look for any assets parked offshore; tracking trademarks, copyrights or other intellectual property your spouse may own; etc.
Your particular circumstances should dictate whether you pursue an asset search in these ways. Whatever steps you take in your asset search, it is important to always look for any nominees your spouse may have used to hide marital assets. As discussed by “Nominees & Hidden Assets,” your spouse may rely on a nominee to open a secret foreign bank account. It is also true that one can hide or transfer almost anything through one’s nominees.
An illustration of this is the Court’s decision in Dempster v. Overview Equities, Inc., 2004 slip op. 01149 ; 4 A.D.3d 495; 773 N.Y.S.2d 71 (2d Dept 2004). According to the decision, the divorcing husband fraudulently transferred title to his residence to his Delaware company. The company was the husband’s nominee. The husband established the company and transferred his residence to it right before the asset valuation hearing in his divorce. The transfer was the husband’s apparent attempt to prevent the residence from being partly distributed to his wife during the divorce.