As a business owner, it can be extremely frustrating when you cannot get paid for the work that you’ve done or the services you’ve provided. Seeing someone take from you without being willing to pay what’s owed is hurtful and harms your business.
Sometimes, it’s possible to seek out compensation through a judgment. The other party may show up to court to argue that they don’t have the assets needed to repay you. They may even say they no longer have the assets purchased from you, if you have asked them to return them to settle the dispute.
Hiding assets is not new in the world of debt collections. The other party might think they’re being clever, but the reality is that you can investigate and find those hidden assets to make sure you have the best chance of recovering the money owed to you.
When consumers use fraudulent conveyance, you have options
When consumers take their money or assets and transfer those to another person, it can make it very hard to collect.
Using online searches, such as searches of social media accounts, may help you find out if the debtor has been selling assets or moving them to others. For example, they might have a post asking if anyone can let them park their car in their driveway or could hold onto a few big-ticket items for them for a short time.
Another option could be to perform “mud” searches. These searches require an investigator to follow the debtor, look in their trash or watch who visits them. You could also call their family members or known associates to ask about the debt.
You can also reach out directly to the debtor to point out the illegality of what they’ve done. It is illegal to transfer assets to spouses, family members or others in hopes of protecting them against creditors. In California, a transfer is automatically assumed to be fraudulent if it was done with the intention to hinder collections by a creditor.
The right legal options could help you collect against a debtor who has completed fraudulent transfers to try to avoid paying. It is possible to fight to get those assets back and to collect money from them.