As certified fraud examiners (CFE), we all know the nuts and bolts of our respective areas of specialty, and hopefully, we are all growing professionally at an astounding pace. Crime does, unfortunately, pay – just not for the criminal.
After conducting asset research for over 14 years for such demanding institutions as FDIC, FSLIC, and RTC, as well as major hotels and casinos in the gaming industry, property management firms, and many of the nation’s larger law firms, one thing that has emerged is a distinct lack of information – not about the type of items searched, but the depth and quality of other searches. In cutting to the chase, the following is the result of the compilation of asset search guidelines, and should serve to assist in setting at least a baseline standard for developing a viable domestic asset search strategy.
Prior to beginning the acquisition of information on any subject of an asset search, the subject should be properly identified. Studies have shown that as much as 30% of the American population uses undisclosed aliases and/or “akas” to conduct and transact various levels of personal and professional business. This statistic does not take into account the existence of corporate, DBA and/or partnership entity names, which are created to transact the various forms of business on behalf of the principals of said entity. To properly identify a non-corporate subject, the following minimum recommendations are made for non-law enforcement environments: Obtain credit reports from the three major credit bureaus, per Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements.
However, make sure that obtaining the reports is in compliance with permissible purposes as defined in Public Law 91- 508, Title VI (FCRA), to avoid tainting your pursuit should the matter ever be litigated. Remember, in the context of this discussion, we are focused on asset searches as recovery medium, and the basic assumption is that the asset search has already been determined to be sanctionable. This could be determined, for example, by a loan in default, a judgment that has been rendered, or a court order obtained for the release of the credit information in cases that are not clearly defined under the FCRA. best credit repair services