Yes, it’s true. Family law lawyers now have access to information that can transform a case from an up-hill battle to a slam-dunk and its all thanks to the internet.
Case in point: I have a client who’s ex-husband, a venture capitalist, stopped paying his child support about one year ago. Exhibiting the patience of a saint, my client bided her time, hopeful that her ex would reinstate his payments and make up the arrears. Didn’t happen.
She then contacted my office and the legal process began. Her ex was obliged to provide the usual financial documents including income tax returns and corporate financial statements. His tax returns showed nominal income and gosh, darn, he said that all of his businesses were insolvent and that he had no financial statements.
With a little help from the internet, we learned that he was selling his home with an asking price of just over $900,000.00. After the usual land title searches, we learned that he had already purchased a new home in another community. He said that he was downsizing. He paid about $850,000.00 for his new home. It was a lovely estate property in a less expensive rural area.
Next stop was his Linkedin page and from there we simply googled his name and the names of his corporations. Here’s what we found.
Earlier that year, he made an offer of $25 million to purchase a golf course/housing development project that was very close to his new home and in financial trouble. Press releases abounded announcing the pending acquisition and his superior business acumen.
Several years earlier he had been a finalist for an entrepreneur of the year award. He was on the Board of his local Chamber of Commerce and associated with at least two consulting firms touting his business expertise. His allegations of insolvency were not borne out. His only business debt was related to a wine store he operated. He was paying $1000.00 per month to pay down the $40,000.00 debt, $1000.00 more than he was paying for his two kids!
With this information and his feeble explanations, he no longer looked as broke as he said he was. Now we await the court-ordered production of all his credit card and bank account statements. Our court hearing is pending.
You can run, but you can’t hide.