If you are searching for the assets of an individual, company or other structure then you have come to the right place. Rushmore Forensic is comprised of specialist forensic accountants and investigators who may be able to assist you.
The exact approach employed when conducting an asset search will vary depending on the circumstances, however below is a ten step checklist which may assist you with your enquiries.
1. What information do you have to begin with? If you have an individual’s name then it will be useful to find any other information about them, such as their address. This can be done by doing a search on the online Whitepages. Alternatively you could use another online database such as an Electoral Roll search or at the other end of the spectrum; you may employ a private detective to follow the individual to a particular address. Always ensure that you use a reputable investigator and stay within the law. This will ensure that any information relating to your asset search can be admissible as evidence at a later date in Court.
2. The address. Once you have the relevant address, you can perform a property search with your state or territory’s Land Titles Office. If you have the physical address, you can perform a search and obtain the Folio Identifier of the property. Once you have the Folio Identifier you can then perform a Title Search on the property and determine the owners of the property.
3. Securities Commission Searches. Personal extract and Company extracts are commonly used when compiling information about an entity for an asset search. These types of searches can be performed online for a small fee and can provide useful investigative information for further enquiries.
4. Email records. Email can be a very valuable source of information. Provided you have accessed the email legally, it can lead directly to the relevant asset you are looking for. If you suspect that the asset is located overseas, then direct your search to emails from these types of email accounts. Scan the list of folders and see if you can identify any other useful information. Folders with the name “Personal” or similar names can often provide valuable investigative information.
5. Google. Often overlooked when conducting an asset search, a search on Google using different strings of key words can often reveal the information you are looking for. If you suspect that an individual has say purchased an overseas tourist property, you could search for “john smith bali resort”. Google regularly caches all the information on the net and it’s surprising what can be found using this free online tool.
6. Travel History. Do you have any other background information about an individual such as where they grew up and where they frequently holiday? This can lead you directly to an overseas city. Depending on how developed the country is and the legal system in that country, you may be able to perform both online searches or use a private investigator to obtain the relevant information.
7. Other Technology. Whilst it may be inappropriate (or illegal) to use in some circumstances, there are limited situations where a GPS locator can be placed on an object, such as a car that you own to monitor its movements. Typically the vehicle can then be tracked remotely on the internet and the whereabouts of the car can be tracked. This can be very useful in an asset search but is generally only used in specific circumstances. As we always advise, seek legal and other professional advice before you decide to employ such techniques.
8. Other Forensic Technology applications. In the modern technological era, there are many electronic devices that retain useful information. A Forensic computer expert can extract data from a variety of devices. This can include a printer, mobile phone, blackberry, other P.D.A device, desktop or laptop computer and memory sticks. Forensic technology professionals are even able to recover deleted files from these types of devices. The information recovered from these devices may lead to the asset you have been searching for.
9. Credit Card Statements. A review of an individual’s credit card statement can be surprisingly effective at locating assets. Once you have obtained the credit card statement it may show information that can be used to conduct other searches. For example the location of a restaurant can be found by typing in the vendors name into Google. This may indirectly assist you in your asset search.
10. Bank Statements. If you have access to bank statements of the individual or company in question may show large round numbered transfers or other suspicious transactions to other entities or to other countries. This information may directly lead to the assets in question.
As can be seen, there are numerous techniques that a forensic accountant can assist you with in relation to an asset search. The exact techniques will be dependent on the client situation and will depend upon your relationship with the individual or company concerned. Asset searches can have mixed results but in particular circumstances, they are well worth the time and cost that’s incurred. If you are concerned about assets being transferred out of your control then our experts at Rushmore Forensic will be happy to discuss your requirements in a confidential manner. Rushmore Forensic have expertise in divorce, commercial litigation and other forensic accounting engagements. Please contact us to arrange an appointment in our North Sydney or Baulkham Hills offices.