Asset Recovery - How surveillance is used in the investigation

26 December, 2018

If you're a victim of financial fraud, recovering your assets can be a challenge. Law enforcement agencies can be slow to pinpoint the location of suspects and assets, by which time it may be too late to secure a conviction.

IFW Global deals with financial fraud cases as urgently as possible, giving each case the attention it deserves. Our licensed and experienced private investigators carry out extensive online and physical investigations and surveillance of suspects to obtain the evidence needed to support court judgements and help clients recover their stolen assets from criminals.

Find out how IFW Global investigators use surveillance in asset recovery with this real case study from 2018.

Background

IFW Global was contacted by a client in Australia to conduct a full asset investigation into Mr and Mrs X and their associated companies.

Mr and Mrs X committed a breach of contract between purchaser and seller when they failed to pay a deposit on a property sale. The contract was rescinded, and the client sought judgement from the District Court to recover the debt and locate assets.

The client contacted IFW Global to investigate Mr and Mrs X's financial assets, hoping to find evidence that they had the means to satisfy the Court judgement.

Investigation

IFW Global investigator Darren Kelly carried out an asset investigation into Mr and Mrs X in two stages: online digital surveillance and physical surveillance.

1. Online investigation

Darren searched the internet, social media, business and real estate directories to find out all the pertinent details about Mr and Mrs X, including their contact numbers and email addresses, private and business addresses, related companies and other information.

This investigation covered a wide variety of search engines and proprietary databases including social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype), news media, domain and website registration, land and property records, residential tenancy records, electoral rolls, directorships and shareholdings, court judgements and litigation, asset registers, government trade licencing bodies and telephone records.

Searches involved multiple variations of Mr and Mrs X's names and Mrs X's maiden name, as well as searching companies in which Mr or Mrs X was a former director or shareholder.

2. Physical surveillance

After all possible information had been obtained online, Darren Kelly conducted physical surveillance of private and commercial properties registered under an alias of Mr X. This surveillance was carried out over three days, involving observations and photography at several locations, trailing of vehicles and discussions with confidential sources.

Findings

During the initial online investigation, it was discovered that Mr and Mrs X did not own property in Australia under their own names. However, a third party who shared the same birth date, place of birth and phone number as Mr X was discovered as being listed as the sole shareholder of companies owned by Mr X. The use of a link chart detailing Mr and Mrs X's various corporate interests in Australia raised the strong possibility that Mr X was using an alias, which was later confirmed.

During the physical surveillance of residences registered to Mr X's alias, Mrs X was confirmed to be living at the property. A vehicle observed and photographed in the garage was confirmed by the dealership to be registered to Mr X's alias, and the dealership confirmed that Mr X has been seen driving the vehicle.

The business activities of Mr X and the significant assets registered under his alias were considered to be evidence that he would have the financial means to satisfy judgement if the client was successful in their litigation.

Find out more about asset recovery


IFW Global investigators work in Australia and internationally. In the last few years, we've helped our clients recover millions of dollars of stolen assets obtained by illegal means and filed recovery proceedings in domestic and foreign jurisdictions.

To find out more about how a private investigator can help you, click below to download our free ebook 'Online Investment Fraud: How to Recover Your Stolen Assets.'

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