Have you noticed something fishy going on in the family finances, particularly through the process of divorcing your spouse? You could be the victim of fraud. From hidden assets to misrepresentation, any suspect circumstances should be looked into further. Being educated on possible signs of fraud is key. Here are some warning signs that your no-so-better-half committed financial fraud.
Be wary of sob stories: Hidden or missing assets and misrepresentation of family income are two common areas of financial management that can leave much more cash going to one spouse than another if not discovered early on. It’s often the case that a divorcing spouse attempts to gain the trust of unsuspecting relatives and friends to help them conceal funds; they often convince them that the other spouse is maxing out the credit cards or stealing money from them. According to Huffington Post, concealment is the cornerstone of fraud.
Lifestyle and income changes: This is another big sign your spouse could be helping herself to the family nest egg. When one spouse starts living more than comfortably, purchasing cars and new wardrobes, going on vacations, and generally spending outside their normal means, this could be a major red flag of fraud. This is also the more difficult aspect of fraud to prove, but lots of small indications can really add up to the big picture.
Look for these specific warning signs:
- Change in confidentiality level between you and your spouse
- Changes in their behavior you can’t explain
- Pattern changes which could indicate worsening addiction, for example
- Rerouted mail to a new location
- Change in habits
- Excessive time on computer; secrecy when doing so
- Increased lying and deception
- Increase in cash withdrawals from banks and ATMs
- Concealing bank transactions
The key here is to clue into this odd behavior sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more money that will go missing and the harder it will be to catch him and document the offending behavior. In fact, it may get increasingly harder to access certain records or trace funds with the more time that passes.
Learn About Dissipation. This is a type of financial fraud that particularly occurs during a divorce dispute. This happens when one spouse excessively and irresponsibly spends money without the other spouse’s knowledge or consent. While the legal definitions vary, all instances involve depletion of marital assets. Here are some examples to watch out for:
- Money spent on gifts and trips for extramarital relationships
- Losses due to gambling
- Cash loans to others
- Selling off of expensive assets for much less than the initial value
- Excessive spending (this can also include business cash accounts)
- House going into foreclosure
- Destruction of personal items
- Failure to maintain marital property
With all this said, it can be difficult to spot fraud, let alone diagnose it and bring the case to the attention of the authorities. In addition, divorce is a highly volatile domestic situation that involves intense feelings and emotions that can get in the way of properly dealing with fraud. This is why you should keep the number of a securities fraud law firm handy in the event you need someone who specializes in recovering losses for investors. That someone is Paul at Thomas Law Group.