For those individuals who find themselves going through a high-asset divorce, the property division process can be overwhelming. Disclosure of assets and asset valuation can take time, and the dispute that arises over how to divide those assets can be lengthy and heated. When a divorce is full of confrontation, it may be easy to consider hiding assets from one's soon-to-be ex-spouse, but, as a recent case highlights, failing to disclose assets can raise serious issues.
In that case, after the wife of a plastic surgeon filed for divorce, the doctor, without notifying anyone, drove to Central America, opened up numerous bank accounts, and placed his money there. He never disclosed the nearly $5 million he moved out of the country, which included 1,000 ounces of gold. Once the doctor's divorce became final, he tried to move the millions of dollars back into the United States. However, the money was seized by Homeland Security. Criminal charges were levied against the doctor after it was discovered that he lied to federal agents about his control over the funds, and that he had failed to report the money to the IRS.
As a result of his actions, the doctor is now facing serious criminal penalties. In fact, if convicted, he could face up to 95 years in prison and up to nearly $2 million in fines. Things likely would have gone much better for the doctor if he had simply disclosed his assets during his divorce.
Failing to fully disclose one's assets or presenting false asset valuation can cause all sorts of headaches. It is therefore critical that those going through a divorce ensure that they and their former partner are being fair, honest, and thorough. Those who need help dealing with these issues may want to think about seeking help from a qualified legal professional.
Source: Forbes, "Surgeon Hid Money In Divorce, Is Convicted of Tax Evasion, Faces Up To 95 Years In Prison," Robert W. Wood, Nov. 6, 2015