So you received a judgment, now what?

Receiving a judgment in your favor is great. It’s a vindication that your claim was valid and it serves as the court’s official endorsement that you have been harmed and deserve compensation for that harm. Unfortunately, receiving the judgement is often the easy part. Enforcing it brings an entirely new battle.  A judgement is only worth the paper it’s printed on unless you can actually identify and pursue a person’s assets. Acutely aware of this fact, those with judgments against them will make it incredibly difficult to do so. People hide their assets using a variety of strategies aimed to conceal, transfer and shield assets from the prying eyes of the claimant. A private investigator can help you pierce the fog of asset subterfuge and receive the money you are owed. Inter-State Investigative Services has a team of private investigators in Tucson that are experts at poring over legal documents and complex chains of ownership in order to find tangible evidence of assets. Here are some of the techniques we use.

Direct Evidence of Assets

It may seems counter-intuitive, but an important preliminary step in an asset investigation is checking for the lack thereof. Performing local court research to see whether the individual has a mile-long queue of default judgments might suggest that the person is not in the habit of paying their bills (and likely their judgments, too). It can also be beneficial to check for recent bankruptcies in the federal court. This preliminary research can give you a broad-strokes sense of the person’s financial life before you dig into specifics.

For most people, our most valuable tangible asset is our home. So one of the first steps in identifying assets is  checking real estate records. It’s easy to determine whether someone owns a house. However, our Tucson private investigators take it multiple steps further, identifying shell corporations, suspicious transfers of property and determining the equity in a given property.

After determining any real property owned by the subject, it’s smart to check if any other person has a valid claim to it. Property  isn’t worth much if six creditors are ahead of you in line! Check for liens against any property owned by the subject, also check for recent judgments.

Indirect Evidence of Assets

This may seems obvious, but checking a subject’s Facebook can give you a general sense of the person’s financial standing. Vacations, new cars, clothes, wine, etc. can all be reliable indicia that the subject possesses tangible assets. If you get this sense, hire a P.I. to go identify the assets.

As mentioned above, check the local courts. Has the subject had a recent divorce? A disgruntled ex-spouse can often give a very detailed picture of the subject’s finances. An experienced investigator will know how to approach the conversation and generate the necessary information.

These are only basic guidelines and preliminary steps to identifying assets. Our Tucson-based team of private investigators will of course take the steps, identify new leads and pursue those leads aggressively to sniff out assets. Having a professional take a look at your case is a small investment when enforcing a judgment. Call us at (520) 882-2723 today to learn how we can help.