Enforcement of Judgements
By Kevin Bousquet, Certified Fraud Examiner,
President Corpa Investigation
No we don’t really use a baseball bat, but I do feel your pain and frustration.
Because of the worsening economy, solicitors more and more are reporting having file cabinets full of uncollectable Judgments.
The result is usually an unhappy client who blames the Solicitor for an expensive legal bill and a worthless uncollectable Judgment.
The cause is usually a failure to properly identify assets in advance, and to determine the likelihood of collecting on those assets before starting the action.
It is best to become involved either before an action or after an action, either to assist in the collection of a Judgment, or to determine the likelihood of recovering a Judgment.
Don’t be misled by the endless information brokers waiting to sell you searches.
A proper asset investigation is a study of collectable assets. All criteria has to be met in order to properly confirm that the assets are properly registered to the debtor, and are free and clear of attachments in order that they can be seized, garnished or sold through the courts.
There may very well be creditors out there ahead of you who have priority over you. You may only be part of the picture.
You will find thousands of investigators and/or information brokers, willing to sell you searches pertaining to vehicles, land, bank accounts etc. This is not an asset search or even investigation, in our view. We call it bits and pieces, and it’s a waste of time and money unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
“You can’t get a little bit pregnant.” We have to be retained to investigate the whole picture, or please don’t bother to write or call us. There is no one search that will identify bank accounts alone. That’s is the honest truth. Leads have to be obtained from through basic searches and inquiries.
Does the person bank at the same institution they have their mortgage?
Would the bank pay into a garnishment when the bank has loans and/or a mortgage with the debtor?
Even though you think you have found the bank account that bank branch can deny paying into your garnishment and claim they have priority over your judgment as a result of lending products their customer (i.e your debtor) has with them.
THIS IS WHY CONDUCTING SINGLE INDIVIDUAL SEARCHES DOESN’T WORK. YOU HAVE TO INVESTIGATE THE WHOLE PICTURE.
There might be other people just like you (creditors) who also have judgment. Did you know that if you collected money through a garnishment that you may have to share those collected funds with other creditors who have also registered their judgment with the courts?
Net worth has nothing in the world to do with enforcement of Judgment. It’s what you can collect through the court that counts.
The individual you’re investigating may drive an expensive car, live in a million-dollar home, and have access to thousands of dollars a day. These assets may be jointly held and/or financed by secured creditors.
The assets may have been conveyed (or fraudulently conveyed) elsewhere since the date you obtained Judgment.
The biggest battle for asset investigators these days is, without any doubt, the underground economy.
The underground economy is alive and well in Canada and the United States. As long as there is cash there will always be an underground economy.
Sooner or later we will all be living in a cashless society. It will be the only possible way governments will be able to even attempt to clean up the underground economy and money laundering in North America.
Until the cashless society arrives, if a person is working for cash and/or being paid “under the table,” no computer search in the world is going to identify this information.
I have made a career of developing various methods to identify this kind of information.
In creditor/debtor situations, very often a debtor will default (or defraud) more than one creditor at a time For example, the debtor may have defaulted on his credit cards, loans, the mortgage of his home, the car lease, etc.
Mistakes can be costly and can add to further losses. How much have you spent already?
Asset Reports should not just a bunch of brokered computer searches on flashy letterhead.