Asset Searches For Judgment Collections

Asset Searches for Judgment Collection

Winning a monetary damages award is a good thing; collecting on the judgment, however, may rapidly turn that joy to frustration. The courts rarely compel debtors to pay their debts so when the losing party fails to satisfy a judgment, collection efforts will depend on successful asset searches.

Asset Searches on Individual Debtors

The focus of a comprehensive asset investigation on an individual includes:

  • Financial Accounts
    (Personal Bank, Investment, Brokerage and Retirement Accounts)
  • Real Property
    (Current Ownership, Financing History, and Recent Sales/Transfers) *
  • Fraudulent Conveyances
    (Transfers of Property to Family Members, Close Associates or Corporate Entities)
  • Employment and Business Interests
  • (Including Shell Corporations and special-purpose Limited Liability Companies)
  • Personal and Family Trusts
  • Financial Awards and Settlements
    (Divorce, Probate, Insurance and Civil Cases)
  • Other Tangible Assets
    (Motor Vehicles, Aircraft and Boats)

* I cannot more strongly stress the importance of real estate sale dates to any financial asset search, and hope for recovery. We have located significant hidden money accounts that we became aware of upon discovering relatively current real estate sales. That sale money has gone somewhere.

Discovering Financial Accounts*

For medium to large judgments, we suggest nationwide searches for bank, brokerage and retirement accounts.

Account search results generally include:

  • Account Type(s)
  • Name and Address of Financial Institution
  • Approximate Balance (Bank Accounts)
  • Approximate Portfolio Value (Investment and Retirement Accounts)

Bank accounts include checking and savings accounts at banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations. Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are also identifiable in certain cases.

Brokerage and retirement accounts include trading portfolios of stocks and bonds, mutual funds, 401(k) accounts, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) held at top brokerage houses and mutual fund institutions throughout the U.S.

Other types of financial accounts – from cryptocurrencies to mortgages, military (and civilian) pensions, to corporate profit-sharing plans – are also identifiable through various (and always, legal) methods and resources. There is now also the capability to identify foreign and offshore accounts.

These asset and bank searches are lawful as long as they are conducted in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) financial privacy laws.

*With financial accounts, ensure that you have all owner and signer information, as well as terms of the specific account structure. A simple signatory agreement generally allows a designated individual to transact on the account (per transaction limits are often imposed) while ownership of the account is just that, and most often not automatically transferrable to a willed beneficiary should the primary account owner becomes disabled or deceased.

I strongly suggest obtaining as much information as possible on the defaulting debtor. Asset searches are not a game to see how much the investigator, with minimal information, can locate recoverable assets. The most successful asset searches are conducted with the active participation of the judgment awardee- people often know more than they consciously realize about their debtors.

BNI Operatives; situationaly aware.

As always, stay safe.

Yahoo and Google Data Availability to Law Enforcement & For Legal Process

email magnifying glass


As we’ve surmised by now, Lois Lerner’s missing emails exist – somewhere.  There’s also now the availability of cloud hosting, a method of saving your email on the net that allows you 24/7  access from any remote location.  So, do you really know what happens to all of your subscription information, emails, attachments, etc., once you shut down an email account?  What if your information is requested by law enforcement or in anticipation of litigation?   What is the legal process in such a case?

We’ve conducted research into data retention by the two major service providers: Yahoo and Google:


yahoo data save

Compliance With Law Enforcement:    PRESERVATION

Will Yahoo! preserve information?

Yahoo! will preserve subscriber/customer information for 90 days. Yahoo! will preserve information  for an additional 90-day period upon receipt of a request to extend the preservation.   If Yahoo! does not receive formal legal process for the preserved information before the end of the  preservation period, the preserved information may be deleted when the preservation period expires.



What kinds of data do you disclose for different products?

To answer that, let’s look at four services from which government agencies in the U.S. commonly request information: Gmail, YouTube, Google Voice and Blogger. Here are examples of the types of data we may be compelled to disclose, depending on the ECPA legal process, the scope of the request, and what is requested and available. If we believe a request is overly broad, we will seek to narrow it.


  • Subscriber registration information (e.g., name, account creation information, associated email addresses, phone number)
  • Sign-in IP addresses and associated time stamps

Court Order:

  • Non-content information (such as non-content email header information)
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

Search Warrant:

  • Email content
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena or court order

  • Subscriber registration information
  • Sign-in IP addresses and associated time stamps

Court Order:

  • Video upload IP address and associated time stamp
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

Search Warrant:

  • Copy of a private video and associated video information
  • Private message content
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena or court order
Google Voice

  • Subscriber registration information
  • Sign-up IP address and associated time stamp
  • Telephone connection records
  • Billing information

Court Order:

  • Forwarding number
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

Search Warrant:

  • Stored text message content
  • Stored voicemail content
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena or court order

  • Blog registration page
  • Blog owner subscriber information

Court Order:

  • IP address and associated time stamp related to a specified blog post
  • IP address and associated time stamp related to a specified post comment
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena

Search Warrant:

  • Private blog post and comment content
  • Information obtainable with a subpoena or court order

Note about general Gmail retention:  Even if you Purge your Trash email or shut down your gmail account, your email remains available for recovery for 20 days beyond when the mail is deleted or the account closed.

Please feel welcome to contact us with more specific questions regarding data retrieval from these two major service providers (and lesser used ISPs w/unique data product.)

BNI Operatives: Street smart; info savvy.

As always, stay safe.