How To Do Financial Asset Investigations: A Practical Guide for Private Investigators, Collections Personnel, and Assets Recovery Specialists

How To Do Financial Asset Investigations: A Practical Guide for Private Investigators, Collections Personnel, and Assets Recovery Specialists – Review

William R. Schoeder

How To Do Financial Asset Investigations: A Practical Guide for Private Investigators, Collections Personnel, and Assets Recovery Specialists by Ronald L. Mendell, 2nd Edition, Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, LTD., Springfield, Illinois, 2000.

The success of money laundering, public corruption, and most economic crime investigations depends largely upon the ability of the criminal investigator to track the ownership trail of money and other assets away from the crime or the criminal. Successful tracing often provides the evidence of criminal intent, identifies otherwise-unknown accomplices, and may lead to the seizure and forfeiture of property constituting illegal proceeds. To successfully trace money and property, the investigator must know how to uncover hidden assets, how to identify ownership interests often camouflaged by changes in the form and nature of the ownership, and how to accurately unravel cleverly disguised control over, and interest in, property.

How to Do Financial Asset Investigations serves as a practical primer for investigators to identify and locate assets. Although this book primarily targets private investigators and collection specialists involved in uncovering information relative to collection on a judgment or a debt, because of the similarities in the techniques used to uncover hidden assets, criminal investigators will find this book helpful as well. Spouses attempting to hide marital assets in divorce proceedings and debtors transferring property to frustrate collection efforts often use techniques similar to those employed by criminals laundering their illegal profits or by government officials hiding bribe payments. The common interests shared by criminal investigators and collection specialists in these contexts serves as the need for a comprehensive financial investigation that will disclose the identity, location, and value of assets owned or controlled by an individual or business.

This 191-page book begins with an explanation of “basic identifiers” needed to conduct a financial investigation. The author includes chapters on basic and advanced information sources for conducting financial investigations on individuals as well as businesses, including a section on piercing the corporate veil, and discusses the effective use of information brokers (i.e., companies that provide database services for a fee). Additionally, the author includes frequent references to the use of on-line and electronic resources to identify the availability of records, such as tax liens, state motor vehicle records, real estate records, and change of address information.

Each of the 13 chapters includes a brief introduction and summary of the objectives presented in that chapter. The author also provides forms that the investigator may find helpful in organizing financial information, as well as a chapter suggesting ways to record and report the information collected. Each section is easy to read and contains specific examples, including practical suggestions from the author on how to use the information or sources identified

Conducting successful financial investigations in today’s global economy requires the criminal investigator to remain constantly aware of the methods criminals employ to hide assets and disguise control over wealth. In an arena where organized criminal activity generates enormous illegal profits, which criminals use to expand their reach and influence of their organizations, financial investigations have become a keystone to successful prosecutions and indispensable to asset forfeitures. How To Do Financial Asset Investigations serves as an excellent resource for investigators involved in conducting such investigations.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Federal Bureau of Investigation

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group