hidden money

Assets are hidden for many reasons. Sometimes it is a bankruptcy, other times it may be an attempt to fool the IRS. Perhaps the most common situation is before or during a divorce. The following are the asset types most commonly hidden, and how it is accomplished.


Cash is at the top of the list of hidden assets. As a private investigator, this is the first asset that we are looking for. It’s usually currency that is siphoned off from joint accounts over a period of time, even though it can be difficult to store large amounts of cash without being caught. One common tactic is for a spouse to have a safe deposit box for this purpose that the other spouse is unaware of.

Bank Accounts

A bank account is the simplest way to hide assets from a spouse. It is a poor choice for hiding assets from the government, but it is a relatively simple procedure for a married person who handles the finances. However, what works in fooling a spouse is hardly something that fools a private investigator. We have techniques to discover these secret accounts.

Retirement Accounts

Sometimes the assets are not hidden as much as they are never revealed in the first place. This is commonly seen in a divorce when one spouse was not involved in the finances of the marriage. The person in control of the money simply forgets to reveal a certain asset, namely one or more retirement accounts.

It is easy to have a retirement account at work that the other spouse is unaware of. In addition to a retirement account, a spouse may have stock options that have not been exercised or a profit sharing plan. Self-employed individuals may also have a retirement account that is hidden from a spouse.


Not just cars, but also boats and other recreational vehicles are sometimes hidden. This is usually done by having the vehicle registered under the name of a relative or friend. In some cases, the vehicle may be registered under your spouse’s name, but it is simply not stored on your property, so you’re not aware of it. A boat, for instance, can be docked at a marina.

Real Estate

You would think that real estate would be impossible to hide, but people do it all the time. Sometimes it is done in a similar fashion to a vehicle, but it is often done through a person’s business too. Mixing business assets with personal assets is done frequently to hide real estate. Sometimes a company will be formed, just for the purpose of hiding real estate from a spouse, but once again, we have ways to uncover this information.

If you are looking for a way to reveal hidden assets of a spouse or someone you are trying to collect a court judgment from, then it is best to contact a private investigator to do the work for you. This type of service is something that our firm does on a routine basis. Contact us and explain your situation, and we can let you know how we can help you discover these hidden assets.

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Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a private investigator and founder of Tristar Investigation, California’s premiere detective agency. Bruce is also a media commentator for the investigation industry, featured in the New York Times, CNN, History Channel, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times and many more. You can find him on Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube.