Hiding assets during divorce can have severe consequences

The stakes can be especially high for Colorado divorcees who must deal with valuable assets . Accurate asset valuation is a must for ensuring that both parties in a high-asset divorce are treated fairly during the property division portion of proceedings. Failing to accurately report or account for all assets can lead to the inequitable division of property, as well as legal issues further down the line.

In 2007, an out-of-state plastic surgeon found himself facing the divorce process. After his wife filed the paperwork, he left the country without word or notice and took a significant amount of cash and gold with him. In Cost Rica, he used about $350,000 to establish two different accounts and stored gold in a safety deposit box. In Panama, he set up a dummy corporation named Dakota Investments into which he then began transferring money. In total, over $4.5 million ended up in corporation's account.

These finances were not disclosed during the divorce process. The only information concerning money tied up in Dakota Investments included fake paperwork that made it appear as if the money was unable to be withdrawn for several more years. Four years after the initial filing the divorce was finalized, and federal agents seized the nearly $4.6 million that the surgeon attempted to bring back to the United States.

He now faces significant time behind bars after being criminally convicted for tax evasion on those same funds. However, it is less clear exactly how the couple's divorce settlement will be affected by these matters. If one spouse in a Colorado couple going through divorce suspects that his or her ex-spouse has concealed important financial information, it can be helpful and necessary to head to court where a family law judge can weigh in on the matter.

Source: Forbes, "Surgeon Hid Money In Divorce, Is Convicted Of Tax Evasion, Faces Up To 95 Years Prison", Robert W. Wood, Nov. 6, 2015

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