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Is your spouse committing financial fraud?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2018 | Firm News, High-asset Divorce

As a married Kentucky resident considering divorce, you may suspect that your spouse is attempting to hide marital assets from you in order to better his or her financial condition in your upcoming property settlement agreement. Unfortunately, asset hiding by greedy or vindictive spouses has been going on for decades, particularly with respect to high-asset couples.

What you may not be aware of, however, is that spousal asset hiding constitutes a form of illegal financial fraud.

Red flags

As reported by the Huffington Post, you should be on the lookout for any of the following red flags, all of which indicate that your spouse is engaged in asset hiding:

  • (S)he no longer confides in you.
  • (S)he changes his or her habitual behaviors.
  • (S)he receives snail mail from people or businesses you do not recognize.
  • Alternatively, (s)he stops getting snail mail at home because (s)he has filed a change of address form with the Post Office redirecting his or mail to his or her office or some other address.
  • (S)he frequently receives cellphone calls from one or more “unknown” numbers during which (s)he says little and talks cryptically with the other person.
  • You find out (s)he has a secret paramour.

Accomplices and hiding places

If your spouse comes from a large extended family and/or has a large circle of social friends and/or business contacts, it is not unreasonable for you to suspect that (s)he may be speaking ill of you to them so they will assist him or her in hiding assets. In addition to these people, your spouse undoubtedly also has access to a number of potential asset hiding places, including the following:

  • Online banking, insurance and/or stock brokerage accounts
  • Cash loans or gifts that (s)he makes or gives to his or her accomplices
  • Deposits into his or her accomplices’ bank or other accounts
  • New bank accounts and/or safe deposit boxes (s)he opens in his or her own name without your knowledge
  • Various employee compensation accounts available to him or her at work into which (s)he can put untaken commissions, deferred bonuses and/or stock options

Your best strategy if you suspect your spouse is committing financial fraud by hiding marital assets is to discuss this situation with your attorney. The two of you may decide to add a forensic accountant to your legal team with the education, training and experience to discover and track such assets. This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.