Behind Closed Doors: The World of Investigative Techniques with Philip Segal (Ep. 126)
From divorces and inheritance disputes, to fraud investigations and business partnerships gone sour, there are a number of reasons you may want to consider hiring an expert financial investigator.
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In this episode, Larry Heller, CFP®, sits down with Philip Segal, author of The Art of Fact Investigation: Creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload, as he discusses his expertise in the field of financial investigations. From understanding your legal rights if your personal information has been breached to what you can actually gain from suing someone under these circumstances, Philip is here to help you understand your rights.
- What information of yours is online for public knowledge
- The ins and outs of financial property
- The importance of keeping an open mind when investigating and exhausting all of your options
- And more
- The Art of Fact Investigation: Creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload
- The Divorce Asset Hunter Blog
- The Ethical Investigator Blog
Connect with Philip Segal:
Connect with Larry Heller:
- (631) 248-3600
- Schedule a 20-Minute Call
- Heller Wealth Management
- LinkedIn: Larry Heller, CFP®, CPA
- YouTube: Life Unlimited with Larry Heller, CFP®
About Our Guest:
Charles Griffin is headed by Philip Segal, a New York attorney with extensive experience in corporate investigations in the U.S. for AmLaw 100 law firms and Fortune 100 companies.
Segal worked previously as a case manager for the James Mintz Group in New York and as North American Partner and General Counsel for GPW, a British business intelligence firm.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Segal was the Finance Editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal and worked as a journalist in five countries over 19 years with a specialization in finance. Segal has also been a guest speaker at Columbia University on investigating complex international financing structures. He is the author of the book, The Art of Fact Investigation: Creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload (Ignaz Press, 2016).
He lectures on fact investigation and ethics to bar associations and other professional groups across the United States.
Welcome to the Life Unlimited Podcast with Larry Heller. You deserve complete financial advice so you can confidently live your life your way for life. Now, let’s get into this week’s podcast episode.
Aric: Hello and welcome to Life Unlimited with Larry Heller from Heller Wealth Management. I’m Larry’s producer Aric, and I’m here to learn along with you, the audience. Larry, what’s going on.
Larry: Oh, hi, Aric. Oh, Another day as we get into March. Uh, spring is soon coming, although we had our first snowfall of the year today. Oh, yesterday. . Well, what happens spring? It’s hard to believe with you out in Nebraska, but here in New York it was our first snowfall. Wow. Wow. Okay. Well, is are you gonna go sledding ski?
No anything. No, not that much snow. Avoid it. Yeah, just it’s not gonna be that much. Just a couple inches.
Aric: All right. Well I know you got another guest on the show today and that is Phillip Siegel and Phillip Open. Charles Griffin Intelligence [00:01:00] in 2009 Specialing specializing in complex financial investigations and has worked as an investigator since 2006.
Prior to opening up his firm, he worked for 19 years as a journalist in India and Pakistan, and then became a finance specialist in Asis. He is the author of The Art of the Fact Investigation, creative Thinking in the Age of Information Overload, and has written more than a dozen articles for law journals and other legal publications on how to investigate ethically.
I like that part ethically. Larry, this sounds like a fantastic guest. Uh, Philip and I got to talk just barely before the, the show started, but what are you guys gonna talk about today?
Larry: So we’re gonna talk about what does an investigator do and why you may need one.
Aric: Okay. I look forward to it.
Larry: Philip, thank you for joining us today and welcome to the show.
Philip: Thanks, Larry. I’m glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Larry: So I, I, I thought when I met Philip that I was intrigued kind of what Philip does. [00:02:00] So, uh, I thought our audience may be intrigued not only what they, what he does, but where they may need his services. So why don’t we just jump right in, Philip, and kind of tell, tell everyone what does an investigator does and why you may need one.
Philip: Well, there are a lot of different kinds of investigators where there are a lot of different kinds of, you know, lawyers in the world and doctors in the world. I do mostly financial investigations, and so I specialize not so much in following people in figuring out if you’ve been hacked at your computer.
I’m, I do more what is a person’s financial situation? What do they own? , who are their allies? Who are their enemies? Uh, what’s their history? Sometimes if you’re gonna invest a lot of money with somebody that you don’t know very well. Then you wanna know, does this person get into trouble? Does this person get sued by his partners all the time?
Does he close deals? Uh, does he leave people hanging? [00:03:00] So even if it’s not a matter of a, of a divorce asset search, which is a something I do quite a bit, I do a lot of work for investors who just wanna know how am I, what is it gonna be like to be married in a business sense to this person? I’ve already been married to this person at business sense, it didn’t go well. I’m suing him and now I need to find out what he’s got that I could go get. Because in America, if you sue someone and you win, but you can’t collect anything, then you don’t really win. So that’s the kind of thing, it’s mostly people stories regarding business and finance. That’s, uh, I guess the,
Larry: okay, so it’s not like when we watch on TV and we see these private investigators and you’re following them all over the place, that’s not what you do, right?
Philip: No. I would make a boring TV show because I, I sit right at this set of computer screens that I’m sitting at right now. and I look at things all day and I come, sometimes call people and once in a while I’ll go out and talk to [00:04:00] them, but most of the time it’s looking at reading things and perhaps calling people.
And so it doesn’t translate into a really action packed hour long show .
Larry: Okay. So, so Philip, how did you get into the business?
Philip: I was a journalist as, uh, Aric mentioned in the introduction. I was a, a finance editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, and I wanted to get a little more information, a little more knowledge about law because I found that I had gotten a fairly good sense of how businesses report their earnings.
And I could talk to p analysts about their assumptions for how a company was gonna perform, and I could pick holes in some of their assumptions. But when it came to reading legal cases, I had no idea what I was looking at. There was Latin and I, I just, I just didn’t know. And if I was writing about a legal controversy, I had to call lawyers and say, well, which side do you think is gonna win and why?
And I would’ve no idea if the lawyers were talking through their hat or what the lawyers were talking about. So someone [00:05:00] said, why don’t you go to law school for one year on one of these fellowships and learn more about law? So I did that and I liked it so much and people there talked me into, the professors talked me into getting a whole law degree.
Instead of going back to the Wall Street Journal after one year and I said, I don’t, I don’t wanna practice law. I don’t know any happy lawyers. I, I know some now, but a lot of lawyers don’t really like what they do and at the law school they said Doesn’t matter, you can do anything you want with a law degree.
It’s very flexible kind of thing to have it’s good knowledge. So I did it. I went and I got a law degree and then at midlife, cuz I had been a journalist for 20 years. I found out that no one really wanted a middle-aged first year associate at a New York City law firm. That’s where I was, had transferred to go to Law, finish Law School.
So I had heard about investigation and I tried it. I got a job in with a firm, and I, I figured out quickly that this is really [00:06:00] the job for me because it involves some of the guesswork and the digging around in alternative. kind of places, you know, maybe it’s this way, maybe it’s that way. When you’re a reporter, you don’t really, no one’s telling you, go look here, go look there.
You’re just trying to figure it out and you don’t have a badge and you don’t have subpoena power. You just have to talk to people. Maybe they’ll be nice to you. And, uh, they’ll be, you know, if you, and if you’re nice to them, they’ll probably be nice to you as opposed to saying, you have to talk to me because I’m, you know, I have this subpoena right here, which I, I don’t have, so, , I found that the combination of needing to know about law and needing to know about finance made me not a bad investigator.
And, um, I liked it. So I continued doing it and after working for a couple of different firms, I opened this one and, uh, I’ve just been doing it ever since.
Larry: So is most of you’re investigating really kind of Google search or, well,
Philip: Google is a very small but [00:07:00] important part of any search. I tell people if you, and we’ve all done this, if you Google yourself and we’ve all, let’s face it, we’ve all, we all do it.
You know how, how, how well known am I? Mm-hmm. , how much of what you know about yourself is on Google, unless you’re an extremely famous person. , an Elon Musk type of famous bird, bill Gates or somebody like that. You know, you, it’s maybe 1% of everything you know about yourself, everywhere you’ve ever worked.
Everybody you’ve had a fight with, everyone you’ve ever dated, everywhere you’ve ever lived, uh, all the cars you’ve owned, you don’t see all that stuff on Google. See? Very little. So Google does have some interesting things about some of us, but it doesn’t have a lot of the total. So then, , where else do you look?
And that’s where I come in. There are some databases that I, that I have that, that are starting points. But I do a lot of public record searches. I, I find out where do you own a house? Is there a mortgage? Did [00:08:00] somebody sue you? And, and on and on and, and in securities filings, did you participate in.
In an offering is there a is there a Form D filing for your, uh, private placement for your company? So anything like that, uh, that’s not going to generally be on Google, what Google is good for, and I like to think of Google as the friendly reference librarian you used to go ask when you were in high school or middle school and you had to do a report about, I don’t know, the lobster fishery in Maine.
the librarian doesn’t know how many lobsters are caught in Maine every year. Mm-hmm. . But the librarian would say to you, why don’t you go over there and look at the Maine yearbook. We have every state’s yearbook over there where the, uh, how about the Department of Fisheries National and the Department of Fisheries yearbook will have that statistic in it.
And so they, Google is very good at telling you where to go to keep looking for what you want as opposed to giving you the answer. Right away. [00:09:00] And that, and so it’s, it’s very useful, but it’s with only Google. It would be like trying to build a house with just a hammer. Right. Enough.
Larry: So I guess there are other, these other websites actually yesterday, uh, our custodian wanted to verify me and they sent a whole list of questions of what cars did I own or not own from 10 15 where I lived.
And it went back pretty far and you had to pick the right one that you’ve, in order to move on. So I guess those are the kind of databases you’re referring to.
Philip: Some, yeah. Well, I, I’m not allowed to see. a lot of car ownership unless I have a permissible purpose. Mm-hmm. . Um, if, if you have, if you’re doing a credit, someone’s checking your credit, then you give them the permission to really delve into a lot more information.
If I’m working for someone who wants to sue you and they don’t have a judgment yet or anything, like, they’re just wondering if it’s worth suing you, I’m not allowed to go look at your bank accounts and your credit report without your [00:10:00] permission. So I can only look at what’s publicly available. and public information is, houses, mortgages, lawsuits, but not every lawsuit because, you know, divorces are sealed in, in New York and some other states.
Um, I can see that someone gets divorced, but I can’t see the substance of what goes on in the fight and I can’t see what the divorce settlement is. Whereas in other states, that’s all wide open. So the, the definition of, of what’s public and what’s. Varies not only, you know, across the different states here, but across countries too.
Hmm. And so if you’re searching in Norway, in Norway, everybody’s income is public. You can look up what, what people earn. That’s all public information. But, in, in most of of Europe, I can’t look at any kind of court filings.
Larry: And that would be an interesting thing to have here in the US to be able to look up at everyone earns
Philip: Well, everybody’s definition of privacy is different.
And you know, I know Europeans who say, I, I, I [00:11:00] couldn’t believe, I can’t believe that you could look up someone’s divorce decree in, in Maryland and see, you know, what they own and uh, who got what and all that. That’s deemed to be private in New York and in California. And certainly, you know, you know, in most of Europe.
and here we say, no, that’s open and mortgages open, uh, purchase prices of homes. That’s public in a lot of places, not in Texas, Texas. You don’t put it on the, you can see what place is valued, but Texas has this custom, they don’t put the purchase price none your business what you what Tex paid for his ranch.
You can see what it’s valued at. , but it’s, so the, um, the nice thing about America is there are lots of information mm-hmm. , but it’s, um, in all different places and, and there are different rules for what you can get and where you have to go to get it. Which of the 3,100 counties and parishes stores that information and what can you get in each one? That’s the, the difficult part.
Larry: So is [00:12:00] there information that you are privy to that necessarily wouldn’t be. Someone as a civilian could access.
Philip: All I can get, uh, there are some databases which with a permissible purpose I pay for, and those generally don’t give you much. They will, uh, , they will assimilate a lot of public records, what they mm-hmm. what they will have will be some phone numbers, sometimes, uh, which is, you know, sometimes useful if you’re looking for someone. But what they do is they, depending on the permissible purpose that you are using, like if you’re doing a fraud investigation or you’re looking to help serve someone with legal papers, uh, you can say, that’s why I need this.
Mm-hmm. . And then sometimes what they’ll do is they’ll take. information from the top of someone’s credit report. So they won’t say, here are his bank accounts, here are his credit card accounts, and here are his balances. But they will take the phone number off his credit report and say, this is his phone number.
And you can, and sometimes it’s wrong, and [00:13:00] sometimes it’s right. But a lot of times it’s more just a, a shortcut for figuring out which places he’s lived so that I can then go and verify with public records that it’s. Because a lot of these databases make mistakes. The Westlaw thinks that I still own my house that I sold, uh, 13 years ago.
And the reason they think that is that when I moved into that house, I got a discount card at my local grocery store, and they, and you write down your address and your phone number and, um, I continue to use that discount card today, even though I don’t live there anywhere, I put the old phone number in.
I don’t even use the card. I just enter my phone number and I get my discount at the drugstore and the grocery store. And so the grocery store and drugstores sell that information to these database companies. And the database thinks that since I’m still using that card, I must still live in that house even though another [00:14:00] database will report to you that I sold that house.
And so, and the databases don’t talk to each other. So that’s where a person needs to say, okay either this guy owns two houses and rents the other one out, or maybe this is wrong. And so what you would do if you were looking at me is you’d go to the one from 13 years ago and you’d go to the county website and, and make sure that I still owned it.
Or you’d go to the tax assessor and see who is the owner of record of that house and they would find that I don’t own it anymore. So that’s, so there’s a lot of database error. . Hmm. And, um, I tell people if, if the, you know, with, if you’re talking about artificial intelligence, there’s a long way to go before you can trust, uh, a, a bot to assimilate what’s in these databases and give you a report.
Larry: Hmm. I believe you mentioned, I think you briefly mentioned we talked about privacy laws, but does that affect kind of what you do and, and the information that you find?
Philip: Yeah, because I’m not allowed to get certain things that, that are protected by privacy laws. So for example, bank accounts, people once or twice a week, someone calls me [00:15:00] up and says, okay, I’d like you do an asset search and I need bank account information.
I wanna know how much money they have in the bank and where the money is and brokerage records I want. I wanna know what they have in brokerage accounts. And I say, I can’t get that. I’m not allowed. There’s a federal law mm-hmm. against doing that for a very good reason. Because, if I want to, if you wanna hire me. and, and you say to me, how much do you charge? Uh, if, if I could just look in anyone’s bank account for fun, I could look in yours and find out what you paid. , your other investigator last year mm-hmm. and come in at 85% of that and you’ll say, wow, this guy’s less expensive. Even if I was gonna charge you even less before I looked at that.
So we don’t want other people looking in our bank accounts. Mm-hmm. and, and the system is a good system. I’m not allowed to look. Now that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who do it because if you pretend, if I pretend to be you, these databases can sometimes give me portions of a social security number or a whole social security number.
and if I can assemble a bit of [00:16:00] information about you, I could call a bank up and pretend to be you. And that’s what a lot of these places do. It’s illegal. Mm-hmm. the fact they don’t get prosecuted a lot. Mm-hmm. is too bad, but it, it’s still illegal. Mm-hmm. . So I tell people, I can’t do it. And they say, but my investigator, mm-hmm. two years ago did it. And I say, well, would. , would you like me to get you some cocaine? At the same time? That’s also illegal. Would you like to set up a business in North Korea? These are, these things are also illegal. And even if I could do it, you would, you would say, no, don’t do that. it’s not allowed.
Right. So those are bank accounts is a big thing. Um, but then there’s a whole other area that I have to be careful about because I work mostly for lawyers and there are ethical rules that bind what lawyers can do. . And so even if something is legal, it may not be ethical for a lawyer to do.
Larry: For example?
Philip: Calling someone up and pretending that I am Rising Legal Stars magazine. Hmm. To, Hey, I’d like [00:17:00] you to tell me all about this lawyer. He’s your friend. I’m, and they say, who are you? I’m with rising legal stars, and he seems like a great guy. And his friend says, yes, he is. He tells me all about him.
Turns out I’m working for the other side of the case. That’s not allowed. And there was a investigative firm that did that very thing in, uh, Harvey Weinstein related case. And the judge was not happy. Not happy at all. That’s fraud. Can’t do that.so , uh, you, you may not do that now if a newspaper does that if you they probably could get away with it.
Mm-hmm. , you can’t imperson, it’s, it’s, I, it’s a crime to impersonate law enforcement. No one’s allowed to say, this is the New York City Police Department. Mm-hmm. if they’re not mm-hmm. , but. , you know, some investigators will stretch a little bit, use fake names. Mm-hmm. , and you’re really not supposed to do that.
Larry: Mm-hmm. . So we, we, we touched the bottom when we first started a talk at the podcast that, you know, you would work sometimes for investigating business partners and just to [00:18:00] check them out, why don’t you give our audience some of the other areas that somebody may be interested in hiring, investgator.
Philip: Well, I do a bit of fair amount of intellectual property work, so lawyers can call me up and they’ll say, hi, my client has this business and, uh, he wants to name it this, or he’s named it this, and he’s been in business for three years. We’ve just discovered this other business with the same name. And we need to figure out who was using it first.
Because the trademark, it’s no matter who’s using it first, as opposed to who registered it first. Mm-hmm. , that’s a, and so are they still in business. and if they are, did, when did they start using this? And have they used it consistently? Did they drop off from using it and then start again? And that requires a lot of research.
You could newspapers, news releases, internet archives searching, interviewing people, interviewing that business, interviewing other people. Um, and those are fun, fun cases. So we do a fair amount of that and some copyright work as [00:19:00] well. I occasionally, , you know, we’ll get a guy into a mm-hmm.
warehouse with a camera to take pictures of contraband. Uh, that’s one of the areas where you are allowed to, uh, lie a little bit, pretend you know you have a business and you wanna buy the, these fake handbags, because if there’s the, there’s no other way to prove that someone wants to sell you contraband except to try and buy it.
Hmm. So that’s one, that’s a different area, but different kind of. , legal, ethical, stricter. So that’s an intellectual property. And then there’s plain old just figuring out who somebody is on the other side of a case. So, or who someone is someone’s, uh, the other day someone said to me, I have a client who got a knock on the door from FBI agents, but, uh, he doesn’t think they’re really FBI because they showed their, they flashed their badge.
at, at, at the camera, at the entrance to the building. But then when they came upstairs, they didn’t show their their ID [00:20:00] cards or their badges again. And, um, so this lawyer said, well, I wanna find out would this person have any reason for someone to be chasing them who isn’t FBI? And for, for various reasons, they wanted to know that.
And I found out, yes, there’s a reason this person. Defaulted on a large lawsuit, million dollar lawsuit 10 years ago. And so it went back to my client, my client went back to that person. That person said, oh, well that was a long time ago. And anyway, the case was dismissed. And I said, well, yeah, the case was dismissed because you didn’t show up.
It was defaulted, you know? So anyway, um, so I. , whether there’s a judgment or not, I don’t know. But it, it’s not clear that they ever had to pay the money back. And I said, if they still owe the money. Yeah. And these were not particularly nice people that, that had lent him the money. So I said, that’s, that’s a good reason.
So sometimes there’s just different, when you need to know a person’s, people call me and they’ll say, my my [00:21:00] son is investing with his father-in-law, and we wanna make sure that he’s not in the mafia. , you know, he went and he got married to this nice girl and everything, but now he actually might be going into business with the family and we’re a little upset that we don’t know more about how this person made his money.
And is he part of organized crime? So I’ve had a couple of cases where they ask you, can you figure out if someone’s an organized crime in this case? Mm-hmm. , the guy wasn’t I was pretty sure mm-hmm. , he certainly wasn’t in the Koosa. Nostra because he turned out not even to be Italian, he had changed his name.
So he wasn’t a te so that, so they, they were happy about that. But other times it’s, my daughter is dating this guy who’s doubled twice her age and, who is he? We have no idea. Or, and sometimes wealthy families will say, our widowed father has this, he’s 80 and he has a 42 year old girlfriend and she’s spending lots of his money.
And we’re con we, the kids are concerned understandably, who is she. . Mm-hmm. , you know, [00:22:00] sometimes it’s fine and sometimes it’s you know, she’s taking no big round numbers.
Larry: Do you get involved in divorce cases? I do. I get involved in about 15, 20% of what we do is divorce related. It’s mostly women. Or their lawyers thinking their husbands or ex-husbands have hidden assets from.
and that the husband would’ve said when things were good in the marriage, yes, we ha you know, we have $5 million. And then when the divorce happens, well he’s had a really bad time of it and now he’s down to a million and the wife doesn’t believe it because mm-hmm. On social media, she sees him with his new girlfriend in, you know, in the Swiss Alps skiing mm-hmm.
and expensive places. And where the kids come back and say, wow, you should see, the car dad bought. And, uh, and then they say, look, there, it can’t be. that there’s only a million dollars. Mm-hmm. 500,000 for me. And so, and I sometimes, I mean, sometimes men have wives investigated and it’s, and I’ve done same [00:23:00] sex marriages, men, men, women, but mostly it’s women.
Right. Right. And so that you go in and you try and find everything you can about mm-hmm. , the guy’s life mm-hmm. , you, you say to the women, the client give, I have a questionnaire. I say, fill out everything you know about, Him every address, every phone number, every company’s ever worked for.
And some women really don’t know much. They don’t pay attention. The husband conceals all the finances from her and they, they say, I really don’t know anything. Mm-hmm. some know a lot. I’m working on a case right now where a woman is incredibly well informed about what her husband did and has provided lots of great leads.
Mm-hmm. So you then start to go and you. , you start from the beginning and you check what they tell you. Mm-hmm. so that if they say we own four houses, you make sure they still own them. Cuz sometimes the husband sold one. Mm-hmm. . So without one, without, without revealing names. Is there one interesting story that comes top of [00:24:00] mind you can share with the audience?
Well, the o Yeah. The, this was a, this broke my record for, for money found in the, in the shortest amount of time. A woman called, Was introduced to this woman you a year ago, and her husband was a young, but retired, very wealthy hedge fund, uh, founder. And they lived on Park Avenue in New York and things were not going well.
And she said, I’d like you to see, you know, what he is got. And the questionnaire had no information on. She just, he had one side company, she misspelled it and he had been in the background, but a brilliant part of one of. one of these funds that, that does computerized high speed trading, and they, they’ve been doing it for a long time and mm-hmm.
he’s very wealthy. So, uh, I start looking and I thought, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but, because normally I try not to overpromise, I underpromise, uh, well, let’s see what we can find then. If I find something good, they’re happy. Mm-hmm. . But in this case, I [00:25:00] called up this client and I said, I, in two hours, I believe I found you $55 million of traceable.
And this man was so wealthy. Mm-hmm. that her reaction was, that’s all . And I said, no, good deed goes unpunished. And the way I found it, pretty, pretty simple stuff. I put his name into, uh, the US Securities and Exchange Commission database. Edgar, I have a paid subs. and you can do keyword searching.
And so, if you could possibly search broadly, always search broadly, you know? Mm-hmm. people make mistakes, they search way too restrictively, and then you miss things. But in this case, he had a somewhat, not very unusual, was somewhat unusual enough name mm-hmm. . And there were about 500 documents with his name.
and uh, cuz he’d been a director of a company or something anyway, and there were some people with the same name, but I, I found that’s a manageable number. So they’re in document number 65 or something. There was his name [00:26:00] on page 423 of a seven, you know, 700 page, uh, annual report by, let’s call it Fidelity Funds.
And he had so many shares of one of the Fidelity funds. He was in a small share class of one of their funds that he had breached the 5% holding limit. Mm-hmm. And they have to tell you everyone who has more than five per. So I’ve never seen this. I mean, he’s an individual number one holder of this class of funds.
Harvard Endowment with, uh, how many what? 50, 60, 70 billion? Mm-hmm. number two, California Public Employees Pension Fund. Mm-hmm. number three. This guy. Wow. At this apartment on Park Avenue, and he, it was, you know, that fund had about 7 million in it at, and this was back in 1998 or something, but I said to her, either it’s still there or it’s not.
And if it’s there, it’s probably worth a lot more than it was [00:27:00] then. If it’s not there, you subpoena fidelity and they’ll tell you where it went. and you can start tracing it went to this bank account. Mm-hmm. went to this trust and you can go to a judge and say, this didn’t just vanish into thin air, your Honor, he had it, where is it?
You know? So I said to her, and, and of course he probably has other funds mm-hmm. in at Fidelity. I mean, maybe he, maybe he’s in other funds where he’s not 5%, but he could be 4% of a lot, much, much larger fund. And so you want to be looking at send broad discovery demands to fidelity. I, and I said, but the way you might wanna look at this is he was either very sloppy in letting, letting himself go to the 5% level, or he wants you to see this because this is what he’s offering you.
He, if he’s worth half a billion, $500 million, here’s 55 million and that’s all you’re gonna find. It’s really easy to find it. , if you wanna find the rest, you’re gonna have to spend millions of dollars. He’s had a decade to hide it in layers [00:28:00] and layers of offshore companies and trusts. And I said, you’re, you’re gonna need to probably spend a million or two to go find the rest and maybe 55 million is gonna be enough for you.
Mm-hmm. , your kids are all grown up. Mm-hmm. where they’re in college or you know mm-hmm. 55 million. For most of us listening to this show would be just fine. We’d be absolutely. In fact, you’d have a lot. I dunno if, you know, my clients start right below that number. So, yeah. Do they, oh, that’s great. I’m kidding.
I mean, 55. If every, if people found out, you have $55 million, a lot of people that you know never invited you to a, a New Year’s party would be inviting you and you’d have a lot of new friends and. Absolutely. And you start wondering who your friends are. And people who win lotteries often say they regret winning them because they don’t know who their friends are, and the families all yell at them that, so 55 million would be, uh, plenty for most people.
I don’t know what she decided to do but I said, look, that’s, that’s, he may, if he’s a really smart guy, which he is, he [00:29:00] probably, he may have just said here, you know? Mm-hmm. . Okay. This is. , this is what you can get. And, but that was a,
Larry: that’s an interesting story. Any, uh, any final words as, um, we can talk about all these different, and I’m always fascinated by some of these stories.
Any final words to the audience out there that you’d like to say?
Philip: When you’re investigating, you have to be open-minded. Uh, the worst thing you can do is say, , I know that he has, uh, only done business in New York cuz that’s what he told me. Or that’s what’s on his LinkedIn or that’s what’s on his Dunn in Bradstreet, which is all self-disclosed stuff.
So I’m not even going to look anywhere else. That’s a mistake. And it’s also just as big a mistake as if you find evidence that he’s got a Nevada company to say, nah, it can’t possibly be him because I know he’s already, he’s only in new york. , you don’t know that. If you knew that you wouldn’t need to do an investigation.
So don’t close the investigation down and narrow it [00:30:00] too much. It’s human nature to want to do that because you can look anywhere and you can look forever, but you have to be open to a number of different possibilities, and that’s the biggest. Hindrance to some people who try and do their own awesome work.
Larry: If, if somebody wants to get ahold of you and talk to you about your services, where’s the best way for them to reach you?
Philip: Well, we have a contact form, Charles Griffin, LLC. And you can, you can get on that contact form and uh, question will come right to my mailbox. Or you can call the office phone number’s on the, uh, on the, the website and.
Commit to trying to get back to people within 24 hours on a, certainly on a week 24 business day hours. Right. And the, the website again is Charles Griffin llc.com. Awesome. And people can also, if they want look at our blogs. We have two blogs called The Ethical Investigator and the Divorce Asset Hunter.
And you can get to those independently or through the website. Right. And those have contact information as well.
Larry: Great. Thanks Philip for [00:31:00] joining us today. Hopefully many of you out there, most of you will not need an investigator, but if you do, now you know where to reach one. So thanks again for joining us today, Phillip.
Philip: A pleasure, Larry. Thank you.
Aric: Gentlemen, this has been fantastic, Phillip. Thank you so much. Just like you said, I mean, Larry works with me because I have 55 million sitting here sitting around. I don’t need anything else after that. So yeah. That’s amazing. It sounds like you have a really fun and, and enjoyable job and you’re helping people, so that’s great.
So thank you so much for what you’re doing, Larry. Again, you’ve got a deep bench. You’ve got some very interesting guests that have come on this show. I think this is one of my favorites right now, to be honest with you. Yeah. Um, if folks wanna reach out to you, Larry, how do they get ahold?
Larry: Yeah, so they can go to our website heller wealth management.com and they can click on Contact Us and you can schedule a free 20 minute financial diagnostic call with me, or you can feel free to call the office (631) 248-3600.
Aric: Perfect. Gentlemen, thanks again and of course our last thank you goes to you, the listening [00:32:00] audience. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening to the Life Unlimited podcast with Larry Heller. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please click the subscribe now button below. This way when Larry comes out with a new podcast, it’ll show up directly on your listening device.
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