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Synthesizing Your Judgment Debtor’s Financial DNA: Part One

Garnishing your judgment debtor’s bank account should not be your principal reason for finding it. I personally consider it gravy when we find an account with money to garnish. While the funds are important, they aren’t the most important reason for finding it.

A good forensic research firm will treat that bank account like the bloody fingerprint it is. Just like a CSI team, we’re looking for the DNA to solve the case, and a bank account is just that. Hidden within are the clues that can lead hard working, inquisitive experts to the otherwise elusive details. Some cases have a plethora of clues, others have fewer, but they are always there, whether we can see them or not—just waiting to show us the hidden path to solving the crime and collecting on your judgment.

Always remember, you have the power of the court behind you to effectuate the discovery needed to locate and recover the assets you need to satisfy your client’s judgment. If the judgment debtor does not have the assets to satisfy the judgment, substantially or entirely, the sooner you learn that, the sooner you can get your clients out of the chase and back to their lives. In most states, the judgment is good for 7 to 20 years and can be renewed prior to expiring. In this sense, time may actually benefit your client as the debtor accumulates assets.

Based on my 50 years of experience, you WILL NOT find your debtors assets via deposition or interrogatories. The first thing most attorneys want to do is a debtor’s exam as allowed by law. That is often followed by interrogatories of the debtor. I have attended hundreds of depositions and have never seen a debtor appear for the deposition with all the subpoenaed documents or tell the truth when questioned about their assets.

Not only is this nonproductive, but usually it’s counterproductive because you merely tell the debtors what you already know through questioning. This gives debtors ample time to really hide assets, costing the client even more money and time to continue the chase. Even subpoenas to the debtor for bank records, tax returns, financial statements, phone bills, and credit card records generally fail to deliver truthful or complete information. To get complete accurate bank records, you must get them directly from the vendor source, not
your debtor!

Let’s look at the DNA of bank accounts to see how it can lead you to the documents that will reveal the various sources and assets to satisfy a judgment. To get started—you or someone on your judgment enforcement team has located one or more of your judgment debtor’s bank accounts. You will go through the following process with each account.

First of all, serve the bank with a garnishment for the funds from any and all the debtor’s accounts simultaneously. Serve each bank with a subpoena for copies of all safe deposit box documents; including signature card(s); box entry records; applications; all loan applications and support documents including tax returns; financial statements; copies of corporate resolutions and all other business records on file; all trust documents; all correspondence and notes in loan files relating to the judgment debtor or any business entity related in any way to the debtor; copy of all payment instruments relating to every payment made to the bank by or on behalf of the judgment debtor, directly or indirectly, or any entity related to him or her in any way.

The first subpoena to the bank should also require the production of every bank statement for each account upon which the debtor is a signatory along within, at least, the last 24 months of credits and debits [front and back] for each account. That subpoena should include all authorization documents including who is authorized to send wire transfers plus all actual authorizations for outgoing wires including both paper and voice recordings.

If the bank or a mortgage company is financing the judgment debtor’s home, subpoena the lender for the name and address of the insurance company, and the policy number, for which they are escrowing and paying the premium. Then subpoena the insurance company for a copy of the policy including a copy of all scheduled personal property which can include; artwork, jewelry, furs, antiques, collectibles, guns, silver, and all kinds of valuable personal property. You will not find these valuable assets in public record anywhere. With this evidence, sometimes even in the debtor’s own handwriting, I have never seen a court deny a Writ of Execution or a Turnover order—no one is going to pay a premium on a Rolex they do not own.

As Seen In

Financial Forensic Services, LLC is proud to staff Certified Fraud Examiners

Testimonial

“They went overboard in providing excellent service. I was very pleased with what they provided for me as their end product. Financial Forensic Services really understands how a case needs to be put together in order to be presented to a jury. Their PowerPoint presentation tied everything together. It was thorough, it was concise, and it got the job done.”

Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

2014-11-11T18:21:32+00:00

Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

“They went overboard in providing excellent service. I was very pleased with what they provided for me as their end product. Financial Forensic Services really understands how a case needs to be put together in order to be presented to a jury. Their PowerPoint presentation tied everything together. It was thorough, it was concise, and it got the job done.”

” I was prepared to dismiss a federal case involving millions of dollars against a local individual who claimed to have no substantial assets. After your staff hit the records and delved into the transactions behind the transactions, you discovered the individual to actually be worth a few million dollars. We continued the case to conclusion. We were also very happy with the financial background examinations you conducted of the former directors of two failed national banks. The heart of any civil case is whether there is a pot at the end of the lawsuit. You were our lucky leprechaun in finding such pots.”

R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

2014-11-11T18:13:08+00:00

R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

” I was prepared to dismiss a federal case involving millions of dollars against a local individual who claimed to have no substantial assets. After your staff hit the records and delved into the transactions behind the transactions, you discovered the individual to actually be worth a few million dollars. We continued the case to conclusion. We were also very happy with the financial background examinations you conducted of the former directors of two failed national banks. The heart of any civil case is whether there is a pot at the end of the lawsuit. You were our lucky leprechaun in finding such pots.”

“Joe spends the time to understand the problem from the client’s perspective and from the legal perspective. He is intelligent, tenacious, willing to work as hard as it takes, thorough, well-informed, and just awfully good at what he does.”

Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:05+00:00

Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

“Joe spends the time to understand the problem from the client’s perspective and from the legal perspective. He is intelligent, tenacious, willing to work as hard as it takes, thorough, well-informed, and just awfully good at what he does.”

“Joe is the most competent investigator I’ve ever found. He has rare ability to find hidden assets. Others claim it, Joe has it. He understands the Rules of Evidence, he knows how to talk to people to develop a fact pattern, and he has a sixth sense for fraud. Joe has unquestioned integrity and delivers value for his services.”

Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

2014-11-11T18:12:51+00:00

Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

“Joe is the most competent investigator I’ve ever found. He has rare ability to find hidden assets. Others claim it, Joe has it. He understands the Rules of Evidence, he knows how to talk to people to develop a fact pattern, and he has a sixth sense for fraud. Joe has unquestioned integrity and delivers value for his services.”

“Financial Forensic Services did an excellent job in the way they executed my case. They were very straightforward. They stated what they could do for us and they did it. And, from a personal standpoint, they are excellent. Both my wife and I felt very comfortable working with them.”

Michael Whalen, 
Businessman

2014-11-11T18:21:13+00:00

Michael Whalen, 
Businessman

“Financial Forensic Services did an excellent job in the way they executed my case. They were very straightforward. They stated what they could do for us and they did it. And, from a personal standpoint, they are excellent. Both my wife and I felt very comfortable working with them.”

“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:20+00:00

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

“As an environmental law firm, we use Joe Dickerson to locate prior business owners and do corporate genealogies. He is persistent, that’s the key to a good investigator, and he has a knack for understanding how people move money and do business. That tells him what rocks to look under. Joe is vastly superior to other investigators in two ways: he lets you know what’s going on and he’s honest with you, because he tells you if there’s really anything there worth pursuing. He is unusually thorough and creative finding people. Joe has earned his fee every time.” “If the information is to be found, then I believe that they will find it. Their service enabled me to do a much better job for my client.”

Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:41+00:00

Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

“As an environmental law firm, we use Joe Dickerson to locate prior business owners and do corporate genealogies. He is persistent, that’s the key to a good investigator, and he has a knack for understanding how people move money and do business. That tells him what rocks to look under. Joe is vastly superior to other investigators in two ways: he lets you know what’s going on and he’s honest with you, because he tells you if there’s really anything there worth pursuing. He is unusually thorough and creative finding people. Joe has earned his fee every time.” “If the information is to be found, then I believe that they will find it. Their service enabled me to do a much better job for my client.”

“Joe Dickerson is the industry standard. You can measure the rest by what he does, and I say that without equivocation. Joe has incredible insight into the dark world of fraud. He understands the devious ways in which people perpetrate white-collar crime.”

Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:55+00:00

Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

“Joe Dickerson is the industry standard. You can measure the rest by what he does, and I say that without equivocation. Joe has incredible insight into the dark world of fraud. He understands the devious ways in which people perpetrate white-collar crime.”