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How to Do Financial Asset Investigations

How to Do Financial Asset Investigations, Fourth Edition. By Ronald Mendell. Charles C. Thomas Publishers,; 292 pages; $59.95.

This is an excellent and comprehensive guide to financial asset investigations. While it focuses largely on research techniques, this fourth edition also identifies some new trends that the author indicates are of growing interest to financial investigators. These include the increasing use of smartphones, which make money and information highly mobile.

An overall theme in the book is to obey the law when conducting investigations. It is critical that investigators be aware of the specifics of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act as well as other state and federal laws.               

The author provides guidance on obtaining asset information using numerous open sources, including county, municipal, and federal databases. He also describes the use of national database files and emphasizes the importance of knowing as much about the individual being investigated as possible, such as the subject’s interests and activities. This information can help the investigator develop leads as to where the money is and how it is being used.

One particularly helpful chapter describes the process of finding hidden assets. This can require identifying a subject’s relatives or associates; it can also involve looking for high-end collectibles, safe deposit boxes, or overseas accounts.}

The author describes the investigative process in a clear and well-organized manner. The book also has an extensive index and glossary as well as an excellent bibliography and a useful investigative checklist. Overall, this work would help people at any level understand how to conduct asset investigations.

Reviewer: Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is a contract senior investigator assigned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of ASIS International.