Those online services on the Internet are great for searches, as far as they go. Problem is, they don’t go very far. If the system cannot find, or gives an old address on your target, you are done. Your only alternative is to put another nickel in and start over, perhaps with a different Find a Person system.
Skilled researchers, information brokers, and investigators use search programs that can be manipulated with several different variables. In the jargon of the intelligence trade, we use multiple information collection platforms. This not only provides flexibility, it allows for verification of the information gained from one or two basic platforms, or sources. When you order a Skip Trace from a professional firm, you pay for expertise to know which sources to use for the most cost-efficient searches.
Let me tell you about information brokers. These are the folks who purchase wholesale quantities (millions) of names. addresses, telephone numbers, and other data from utilities, government agencies, credit reporting agencies and the like. They repackage the data into searchable databases that Information Retrieval Services (yes, like ours) can either access directly or through the many servers owned by the brokers. The larger, more reliable brokerage houses update their databases often during the calendar year; they pay for these updated information packages.
Not all of them update the same data at the same time, with the same frequency. Some update once a year, avoiding additional expense. This is why we use multiple sources.
In Case You Forgot….
Assets are hard to find when people hide them. That truth seems to elude victims who want to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few days, while spending “only a few dollars.” It takes time, patience, experience, education, and good sources — especially good sources — to locate assets purposefully hidden.
Consider the husband, who, seven months before instituting divorce proceedings, sought the assistance of an attorney to “protect” his assets. We found that he had transferred the majority of his personal property holdings to his girlfriend; he transmitted large cash holdings by wire to various financial institutions in several states. These were legal transactions per se since he had acquired the assets honestly. Just that he was a tad sleazy in marital matters. But there was another way of looking at this legal matter.
Enter the United States Code
Briefly put, the United States Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act states that a fraudulent transfer is
A transfer of property that is made to swindle, hinder, or delay a creditor, or to put such property beyond his or her reach.
The Act is “uniform” in most of the states, as enacted by their respective legislatures. My point is that hiding assets with the intent to deprive past, present, or future creditors of their benefit is a crime.
5 Ways to Lose Your Assets
You now see that we have several different types of people who con the consumer, business, a spouse, et al. Let us clearly identify 5 categories:
- The person who is down and out, and can no longer pay her bills, because she has depleted her assets.
- The sleazebag (like a Deadbeat Dad) who dumps his family and runs off with his money and his girlfriend.
- The dishonest business person, who buys goods on credit from a wholesaler, without paying those debts.
- The bum who takes advantage of others, incurring debts like rent, clothing, and cars, and then skips.
- The professional criminal, who actively cons (mostly well-to-do) people, and then launders the proceeds. (Does the name Madoff ring a bell?)
In the next chapters, I am going to talk first about the fifth category, because the criminal engages all the methods that could be used by others, including the down-and-out person. Along the way, I will show you how to distinguish one from the other. It is essential that you do this early in your pursuit, lest you run down blind alleys.