How can one detect assets one is unaware of?  Sometimes by putting tipsters to work and collecting their tips.  These tips may be gathered in a variety of ways.  “An Asset Search, Tax Fraud & Divorce” describes a private investigation in which a prospective tipster was interviewed by “Brian”, an ex-IRS Special Agent and former high-ranking official at FinCEN.

Brian conducted the interview on behalf of a divorcing wife trying to locate marital assets hidden by her divorcing husband.  “Warsaw Prosecutors Eye Possible Money Laundering At 50 Platowcowa Street” mentions a tip supplied by an anonymous letter.  This tip letter caused Polish prosecutors to launch a money laundering investigation and search for assets connected to a suspected shell company in Delaware.

Meanwhile, the whistleblower programs at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, (“the Commission”), also collect tips.   The two programs respectively sniff out tips about assets hidden in tax or securities frauds.  The article “What Happens To An SEC Whistleblower Tip?” available below, gives an insider’s view of the Commission’s whistleblower program.  One of the article’s authors is Jordan A. Thomas, a former assistant director in the Commission’s Enforcement Division.  Mr. Thomas had a leadership role in developing the Commission’s whistleblower program and he is now a partner and chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow LLP.

What Happens To An SEC Whistleblower Tip?¹

One of the questions we’re frequently asked by clients and prospective clients is “what happens to a whistleblower tip once it’s submitted to the SEC, and how does the SEC determine which tips to actively investigate?” These are crucial questions for any potential whistleblower, especially given that the SEC receives approximately 30,000 tips, complaints and referral each year – 3,200 of which were whistleblower tips in 2013 – but can only conduct about 700 active enforcement investigations each year.
Continue Reading Detecting Hidden Assets By Putting Tipsters To Work

Throughout its five seasons, Breaking Bad highlighted the ways narco-trafficker Walter White and his co-conspirators hid the illicit proceeds of their made-for-TV crimes.  Breaking Bad could even be considered a case study of how determined criminals and others hide assets.  For example, at Problem Dog, Season 4, Episode 7, Walter and his wife Skyler faced the dilemma of trying to conceal $7 million in drug profits, by laundering it through their A1A Car Wash.

During Mandala, Season 2, Episode 11, Skyler’s boss Ted Beneke admitted to hiding nearly $1 million in undeclared revenue from the IRS.  In furtherance of this tax fraud, Ted had cooked the books of his company, Beneke Fabricators.  At Caballo Sin Nombre, Season 3, Episode 2,  Walter’s partner Jesse Pinkman seemingly washed $400,000 through the cash purchase of his parent’s home.  In Gliding Over All, Season 5, Episode 8, Skyler disclosed she rented a storage unit to conceal a hoard of cash.  At the end of Crawl Space, Season 4, Episode 11, Walter was also shown next to some illicit cash he had earlier secreted beneath his house:

Continue Reading How Walter White Could Take His Money To A Swiss Bank