FAQ for Asset Searches & Investigations

Hiring a private investigator to conduct asset searches and investigations in New Jersey can look like a difficult process, but Cowan Investigations makes it easy for you! Below are some of our most frequently asked questions by our clients when they’re looking to hire someone to conduct legal asset searches and investigations in the state of New Jersey. If your question isn’t listed below, please feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you very soon.

A private investigator will normally apply a combination of legal and investigative techniques. It is significant to note that the investigative process of a private investigator searching assets must be conducted in compliance with the law and within the parameters of ethical guidelines.

The first step a private investigator will take with respect to asset searches is to have a client consultation. It is important a private investigator begin by meeting with your client in so that the private investigator understands the purpose (predication) and scope of the asset search. The private detective should determine what specific information the client is seeking, and for what purpose. Stated another way, while it is okay to conduct financial asset searches during certain civil litigations, divorces, estate disputes, it is not okay to search your neighbors’ financial assets because you want to know why that neighbor has three brand new cars.

The private investigator must ensure that the asset search that the private detective is conducting is both legal and ethical. The asset search must also comply with all laws that apply, including but not limited to privacy, financial, and data protection regulations. It is critical that the private investigator respects the rights of the individuals they are investigating as well as maintaining the confidentiality of their findings.

1. Gather Information: The private investigator must collect as much information as possible about the individual who is the subject of the investigation. The type of information may include the subject’s full name, date of birth, social security number, previous addresses, phone numbers, and any other relevant personal details, which will ensure proper identification. If a client does not possess the required information, an effective private investigator will have background search platforms that can obtain the required information. It cannot be overstated; it is crucial that the private detective firm you retain has the proper search tools to secure the information needed.

2. Open-Source Research: An effective way for a private investigator to get a feel for a person’s assets is to begin with open-source research, which simply means using publicly available information on the internet. A private detective’s research might include social media, news articles as well as professional directories that may provide valuable clues to the private detective about the subject’s financial activities.

3. Database Searches: It is important for a private investigator to access public records databases and proprietary databases (if legally permissible). These sources can provide the private detective information about property ownership, liens/judgments, bankruptcies, and other financial transactions that would be suggestive of a subject’s financial stability

4. Court Records: A professional private investigator will check local municipal, state, and federal court records for any civil or criminal cases involving the subject. Proprietary databases such as “Thomson Reuters Clear, Tracers, TLO” or IRB as well as Pacers to review federal criminal charges and civil lawsuits

5. Bank and Brokerage Inquiries: While private investigators normally cannot directly access a subject’s bank or brokerage accounts without proper predication or authorization, a Private Detective can try to obtain information indirectly. This might include the private detective contacting the subject’s financial institutions in order to inquire about the existence of accounts, although institutions are sometimes hesitant to share this information without proper authorization.

6. Subpoenas and Legal Process: If necessary and with proper legal approval (court-issued subpoena), an attorney may compel financial institutions to disclose account information.

7. Asset Searches: Experienced asset search specialists do not work directly for a client, instead asset search specialists will work for a private investigator whom acts as the middle man in the asset search. These Asset search specialists can help track down hidden assets, such as offshore accounts, real estate, or other investments.

8. Surveillance: In some cases where a client may have a need to prove a “lifestyle” issue, surveillance may be used by a private investigator in order to observe the subject’s lifestyle and spending habits, this type of surveillance can often be used in civil litigation matters that can provide insights into their financial situation.

9. Report Preparation: A private investigator should then compile a concise report in which the investigator correlates all the information that had been obtained into a comprehensive report for the client. It is crucial that the private investigator ensure that the report is accurate, well-documented, and can be used for legal or investigative purposes.

It’s crucial to emphasize that a private investigator conducting a banking and brokerage asset search is a sensitive and legally complex process. Private investigators should always operate within the boundaries of the law, maintain high ethical standards, and respect individuals’ privacy rights. Consultation with legal counsel may be necessary at various stages of the investigation to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

FAQ Asset Search & Investigations

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