In any divorce case, it can be difficult to settle on an agreement about what is fair. Trying to establish the value of community property is one thing, but what if one partner also has hidden assets during the period of property division that do not come to light until sometime later? A California businessman recently discovered, to his cost, the answer to this question.
He and his wife separated in 1999, and communication between the couple became acrimonious. Two years later, the businessman made a point of telling his wife that he would be making no provisions whatsoever for her, or their two children, as he planned to file bankruptcy. He eventually carried out his threat in 2005.
At some point following this, it appears that his desire to get back at his wife had become so strong that he reported her to the authorities and demanded that she be investigated. Although the basis of his accusations is not reported, the FBI did commence investigations leading instead to the discovery of the husband’s deceit, which was significant. The businessman has recently been convicted for his complicated and vindictive maneuvering to hide money and was sentenced to a lengthy jail term, a heavy monetary fine and the surrender of $2.8 million of various assets.
This case of hidden assets may highlight the importance of full and honest disclosure when dealing with community property. California couples who find it difficult to agree on matters relating to property division may want to acquire the services of a mediator. With the help of an objective third party, all disputes may be settled in advance, thereby reducing costly hours in court.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, Gold River man who hid assets in divorce, bankruptcy gets 17-year sentence, Denny Walsh, March 4, 2014