21 Signs Your Husband May Be Hiding Marital Assets During Your Divorce
Red flags seem obvious, once you know what to look for. You may have good reason to be suspicious if your husband:
- Maintains complete control of bank account information and online passwords.
- Is secretive about financial affairs.
- Owns a P.O. box or private mail drop box, which receives account statements and bills.
- Has meaningful unreimbursed business account expenses.
- Deletes one or more personal financial programs, Quicken or Quickbooks.
- Says the computer containing important financial records has mysteriously “crashed.” Then, he removes the hard drive for a data retrieval attempt, and it’s never to be seen again.
- Acts pushy when obtaining signatures on important documents, like tax returns and deeds. “I need to get this to our accountant today,” he insists.
- Proposes an execution of mutual durable power of attorneys for “estate planning” purposes.
- Enjoys out-of-town business junkets with his befriended, slippery financial advisor.
- Develops SIDS (Sudden Income Deficit Syndrome). “My business is failing” suddenly crops up.
- Suffers an income decrease without a corresponding reduction of expenses.
- Binges on unusual purchases of flashy items, such as a car and jewelry.
- Reports a dramatic decrease in value of marital and/or business investments.
- Owns multiple cell phones or numbers over a relatively short period of time.
- Makes frequent trips to countries with relaxed banking laws.
- Exhibits childish greed and claims of entitlement.
- Makes unusual purchases of toys or art that could be sold later.
- Starts drawing on large amounts of debt.
- Is involved in drug abuse.
- Gambles more frequently than usual and is placing money “on account” with casinos.
- Opens multiple business or personal bank accounts without obvious reasons for having that many.
A husband who hides assets usually has very specific, predictable objectives. In general terms, his goals are to:
- Hide, understate, or undervalue certain assets,
- Overstate debts,
- Report lower than actual revenue, and/or
- Report higher than actual expenses.
Most tactics are predictable, too. Here are a few of the most predictable strategies Miles has seen, along with the advantages and disadvantages for each:
- Hoarding unrecorded cash. Advantage: Removing cash (currency) lacks a paper trail, and offshore bank accounts are relatively easy (from a legal standpoint) to open. Disadvantage: Laundering over $100,000 in currency can be time consuming and will likely require travel. Depending on the circumstances, this tactic could involve the very serious criminal acts of money laundering, violation of cash transfer reporting requirements, federal income tax fraud and perjury.
- Secreting already recorded cash receipts. Advantage: This can be completed as part of a complex accounting scheme, which may be too complicated or expensive to discover. Disadvantage: Once cash is recorded, its absence or transfer is discoverable.
- Understating revenue. Advantage: The business owner has lots of options from which to choose. Some are simple and easy. Deferring revenue by manipulating the timing of revenue or accounts receivable may not constitute tax fraud. Disadvantage: Depending on the business owner’s sophistication, this can require a fairly predictable co-conspirator. If the co-conspirator is placed under oath, the scheme could result in perjury charges for the husband.