During a lawsuit or divorce action, it is common to believe that money may have gone missing. To get the lowdown on how to discover when money may have gone astray and where it went, we solicited the help of Lorch & Company, a forensic CPA and valuation firm located in Westlake Village.

“Facts are the facts, make sure you follow the details,” says senior manager, Tamara Rigberg, CPA. Most financial assets are traceable by following the ownership title, transactions, transfers, withdrawals and changes that occur.

“People may try to hide money by moving it or changing its character, but there is no magic pill to make it disappear, as long as you follow what actually happened,” says Wayne Lorch, CPA.

Offshore Accounts

People used to believe they could move funds offshore to make them disappear. And while it may be more difficult to recover, “you can trace the transactions to when the money left the country either by records or tax reports,” according to Rigberg. It is a criminal offense not to report worldwide income, and while some people take that risk to conceal accounts, Rigberg says, “You can always trace back to where money went missing by following the transactions previous to the event.” (For related reading, see: Offshore Banking Isn’t Illegal. Hiding It Is.)

During a lawsuit, a common belief is that an “asset may be worth more than claimed,”…