March 3. 2010 | Stephanie Kelly
Infidelity...sometimes it's financial
With the economy still feeling the effects of the recession, the number of divorces and shareholder disputes has soared. Unlike what you read in the Hollywood gossip magazines, typical cases do not involve physical infidelity. Oftentimes it is one spouse or shareholder stealing money from the other. In some cases, the disgruntled person has been quietly pocketing money in an undisclosed bank or investment account. Other hiding places are safety deposit boxes where cash or hard commodities (e.g., gold bars) can be placed. Account balances can easily grow to over $1 million. A strategy used to deceive a business partner is to create separate company records to hide receivables so the other partner won’t discover the assets.
In domestic disputes, there are instances of distribution checks coming in from a prior employer that get endorsed over to a third party. In any situation, the assets can go undetected unless you hire a forensic accountant or just get lucky. Your problems may become even worse once you discover the hidden assets and realize you filed a joint tax return with the other person and failed to record the income on your tax return – whether as an individual, a partner, or a corporation. And then what seemed like a simple, uncomplicated dispute has turned into a money laundering, tax fraud, white collar crime nightmare.
We often think we have seen and heard it all. However, just the opposite is true. Each one of our cases in the Forensic Accounting and Dispute Services (FADS) group is different, yet the motive remains the same: greed. Fortunately for our clients, our team consists of a diverse group of former IRS agents, corporate controllers, and fraud specialists. We assist clients in asset discovery, IRS workouts, and innocent spouse defenses. So as we celebrate the month of love, February, and are reminded to eat well and get regular cardiac checkups, it is also a reminder to follow your heart (and gut). If someone you love and/or trust is being deceptive, it might be a good time to hire an investigator.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
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