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Fraud in high-asset divorce uncovered by FBI

The division of marital property is often a contentious issue in Jefferson County divorces. This is especially true when it is a high-asset divorce because so much money is at stake, and each spouse may feel that they are entitled to a certain amount. It is understandable if parties become very angry or emotional during the asset division process, but some people become so outraged at the prospect of paying alimony or child support that they turn to illegal means to hide their true financial value. When this occurs, severe penalties can result.

Many years after his divorce was finalized, a California man made a request to the FBI to investigate his wife, claiming that she was attempting to obtain information about his health insurance. When the federal agency began its investigation, it found evidence that eventually led to the man’s conviction for money laundering and bankruptcy fraud. He has been sentenced to 17 years in prison, must pay $500,000 in fines, and is required to give up $2.8 million in assets.

The man’s financial crimes began with his acrimonious divorce. During those proceedings, he filed for bankruptcy in order to hide assets and reduce his child support payments. As a result of the FBI’s findings, a family court will determine how much he must pay in restitution to his former wife.

In a divorce proceeding involving high-asset marital property, it is important that each party makes a complete and accurate financial disclosure that includes all relevant real estate, pensions and 401(k) assets. If you are thinking of filing for divorce, you may want to speak with an attorney in order to understand what types of disclosures you will be required to make.

Source: Time.com, “Man Who Avoided Child Support By Faking Bankruptcy Gets 17 Years,” Belinda Luscombe, Mar. 6, 2014

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