I’m asked all the time when I meet other professionals, “Who’s a good referral for you?”

I usually answer, “Litigators are good – if you want to see if it’s worth suing, or you want to look into the people on the other side, and we do trademark and copyright work too.

And anyone thinking of making even a modest investment ought to know who it is will be taking their money.”

All the work we do with cases studies is also on our website.

But recently, someone asked me, “Who’s a referral that people would think would be good for you, but really isn’t good?”

My answer was: “People who want me to break the law.” By far the most common request is to get information on how much money someone has in the bank, and where that bank is.

A few years ago, we helped the Atlanta Journal Constitution do a great piece on the illegal trade in bank accounts. The story they wrote is here.

I also wrote about the issue in 2020 in the American Journal of Family Law.

If I Can Check on Your Opponent, I can Check on You Too

Think about it: If you call me and ask me to find out how much money your enemy has in the bank and you think that’s OK, is it OK if I look into your bank account to find out how rich you are? What about finding out how much you paid a competing investigator last year?

Of course, you don’t want me snooping into your private affairs, and that’s why I won’t snoop into your enemy’s either.

What do we mean by private? We mean things that are off-limits by law. The system in the U.S. is designed to make it hard to drill into someone’s bank account without the supervision of a court. That’s a good thing. Just like not being able to bug their home, wiretap their calls, and now, in many states, put a tracker on their car without their knowledge.

Just because the law is breakable doesn’t mean you should break it.

I can look at your enemy’s deeds, mortgages, his divorce settlement (depending on the state), professional licenses, SEC trading disclosures, old news releases still hanging around the internet that he wishes were scrubbed. If he’s Norwegian, I can look at his tax return. If he’s American and has a non-profit, I can look at the non-profit’s tax return.

The list goes on. Privacy means different things in different countries. In this one, it’s amazing what you can find out about people without invading their privacy as defined by the law.


Want to know more about how we work? Our website has a wide range of publications and videos. You can also read my book, The Art of Fact Investigation which is available at bookstores online and for order from independent book sellers. And check out our other blog, The Divorce Asset Hunter.