How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask jamest Your Own Question
jamest, Private Investigator
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 372
Experience:  Investigator of criminal law cases, especially Florida law. Work with retailers, others, consultant
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
jamest is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

If someone is under federal investigation for a possible

Resolved Question:

If someone is under federal investigation for a possible larceny crime, is there something they can do to protect their assets from possible forfeiture or seizure? Can they withdraw cash funds from their bank account and put it in a safe deposit box or keep it in an otherwise safe place? Can they transfer real estate and other property to a spouse to avoid seizure or forfeiture?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  jamest replied 8 years ago.
The things you are speaking of could be done, but this does not mean the assets are secure. If your assets begin to shrink, and you open safe deposit boxes, that could be grounds for the issuance of a search warrant. I can not advise you to deposit the funds in offshore accounts as this may constitute money laundering or wire fraud. As far as transfer of property to another person, it depends on the amount in question. If you stole $1,000 i don't think they will devote a staff to tracking all assets you had, digging up credit history ect If the amount is high like $50,000+ they may look at transactions for possible fraud. The property is not protected if it was transfered for the purpose of avoiding restitution or leins ect. Similar to bankruptcy law, if you owe 100,000 to your creditors and are claiming inability to pay by bankruptcy, but they see a month before you filed transactions of giving, or transferring assets to others, it is presumed fraudulent and those debts are not dischargerable. so if you transfered property to your spouse, this would obviously be to prevent it from being seized, would be declared fraud and it wouldn't matter.sometimes people get away with this for small unregistered items like jewelry, firearms, or other expensive articles that there is no clear chain of ownership. cars, boats, land, homes all have clear records of ownership and thus concealing these assets is difficult.
jamest and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. What do you mean by fraud? If someone did move assets and it was determined that it was done to avoid restitution, could that person be charged with something? In other words, is it illegal to move assets in an attempt to avoid restitution? If it's not illegal, could someone withdraw cash and "hide" it. If they did hide the cash and did not reveal it's location, could that be factored into the sentencing on the theft charges if they are found guilty of theft? Let's assume we are talking about more that 50k.
Expert:  jamest replied 8 years ago.
It depends on the manner and means of the concealment. As part of the order, you may be required to declare assets, failing to claim assets could be criminal. Possible contempt and perjury charges could be filed, and the assets could be seized if found, regardless of who they were transfered to if the transfer was deemed fraudulent, it would be fraudulent if done with intent to avoid restitution or payments, and they would be able to take the assets no matter who's name they were in.
Restitution is a sentencing factor that the district court may consider. If you clearly have concealed assets and refuse to revel their location, it could result in a much higher sentence.
If it is not clear that you have assets hidden, but are still unable to pay you may receive a higher sentence than someone who committed the same crime but was able to pay restitution.

Related Criminal Law Questions