Spouses commit fraud for an age-old reason—greed. Many spouses can easily rationalize hiding assets or committing fraud against their spouse due to hostility that arises between the parties in a divorce proceeding.
It is important to understand the behaviors and conditions that can lead to the possible existence of fraud or hidden assets found after a divorce.
Technology is changing the way people get divorced.
National Public Radio interviewed Eide Bailly forensic examiners to better understand how mobile technology and spyware is changing divorce proceedings.
Suspicious Spouses Monitor Partners Digitally, Divorce Lawyers Say
Listen to their stories:
Four Ways Fraud Is Impacting Your Client’s Divorce
There are several behaviors that can serve as red flags to the possible existence of fraud.
Items forensic accountants typically review on an income tax return include:
Safety is a key concern for many individuals online. So, they put passwords and security questions on their accounts. In a divorce, however, that type of information can be used against the ex-spouse. Think about your answers to online security questions. Would your spouse know your favorite sport, mother’s maiden name or another simplistic question?
Your client’s digital behavior provides an electronic trail to the opposing party's life and character. Addictions (from gambling, shopping, drugs, or pornography) to extramarital affairs, manipulating finances due to the divorce, or using eBay/PayPal to sell assets, to evidence of spying on the spouse electronically, all can be obtained through computer forensics. In most cases, attempts to destroy evidence or hide these tracks has been present in some form on examined computers.
In our digitally connected world, data on a mobile device (even data that has been deleted) is critical to uncovering the truth and exposing fraud or hidden assets. Deleted data can be almost anything once held on a memory-based device, including pictures, videos, presentations, documents, texts, email, etc. Deleted data allows you to piece together a puzzle of what really happened and can expose areas that need to be considered in a divorce proceeding.
Data collection must be performed by an independent third party. Collect the data in the wrong manner, and the evidence can be thrown out. The process of recovering deleted data is as critical as what the data includes.
Forensics is a critical aspect of your client’s divorce case.
Enlist Forensic Accounting Help Early in Divorce Proceedings
The unique nature of divorces make forensic accounting important in these matters. There are very few "friendly" divorces, and divorce actions can bring out the viciousness and greediness in people when the division of marital property or support obligations turns into a battle.
Division of marital property requires valuation, and to best serve your client, it is important to make sure all assets have been accounted for in order to obtain the best possible settlement. Enlisting the aid of a qualified forensic accountant early on to investigate the possibility of hidden assets or income will benefit you and your client long-term.
Forensic accounting is vital to the success of your case. It doesn’t have to cost you.