About Asset Searches
Getting a judgment against a debtor, former business partner, former employee, negligent plaintiff or unscrupulous business-owner often can prove to be the easier part – and only the beginning – of trying to collect on a bad debt. Actually recovering the stolen company funds, the fraudulent investment, the money spent on inferior business products and shoddy services, the monetary damages resulting from unfair business practices or the expenses for personal injuries caused by others can prove to be a much more difficult and time-consuming task. The debtor, dishonest employee, or unscrupulous contractor realizes that the more difficult and expensive the collection process becomes, the less likely the creditor is going to throw good money after bad to try to find assets that are being hidden or moved out of reach. Asset searches primarily are governed by two federal laws; the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Gramm- Leach- Bliley Act. (Note: we should have a link to both acts here.) If you are in the pre-judgment stage, your options are limited. For instance, you cannot obtain an individual’s credit report, and inquiries to banks, stock brokerage firms and other financial firms are severely restricted. During this stage, Capitol Inquiry will conduct a basic asset search that provides you and your attorney a snapshot of the debtor’s real estate holdings, personal property holdings, business activities and employment to help you determine whether obtaining the judgment will be worth the time and money in the long run. Once you have the judgment in hand, Capitol Inquiry can cast a wide net in its search for assets to attach. But be forewarned that asset recovery often is not easy, nor cheap. Successful asset recovery requires finding the debtor’s current sources of revenue and intercepting that income. While searches of proprietary databases and public records may identify some potential assets, recovering those assets usually involves more intensive investigative research and legwork.