There is nothing more douchey than a twerpy rich kid flaunting how much money they have on social media. But now there’s a silver-lining: The ostentatious displays of wealth commonly featured on Rich Kids Of Instagram and it’s many spin-offs (i.e: the Rich Kids Of Snapchat, the Rich Kids Of London, and the Rich Kids Of Russia) are helping the authorities bust rich people for fraud.
Need to track down a millionaire’s hidden assets? Try hiring an investigator to scour social media accounts in the person’s family—because photos of yachts, Facebook “likes,” and geo-tags are becoming valuable evidence in up to 75% of such cases, theGuardian reports.
Oisín Fouere, managing director of K2 Intelligence in London, said social media was increasingly their “first port of call”. Their opponent in one asset recovery case claimed to have no significant valuables – until investigators found a social media post by one of his children that revealed they were on his $25m yacht in the Bahamas.
Daniel Hall, director of global judgment enforcement at Burford Capital, said their targets in such cases tended to be people “of a slightly older vintage” who were not prodigious users of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but whose children, employees and associates often were. The firm recently managed to seize a “newly acquired private jet” in a fraud case because one of the two fraudsters had a son in his 30s who posted a photograph on Instagram of himself and his father standing in front of the plane.
“That’s the kind of jackpot scenario one hopes for,” said Hall.
In another case, a wealthy Russian was forced to have his case tried in Britain because social-media posts by his family showed he really lived there. In a divorce probe, investigators found hidden land assets by geo-tagging posts of the husband’s children.$100 bill-stacks spelling the word “Broke” after he filed for bankruptcy, but he later claimed the money was phony, the Guardian reports. Such posts also leave the super-rich prone to fraud; in one instance, hackers used a woman’s dog’s name (posted all over her accounts) as an email password and successfully invoiced her for $900,000. “It was only when dad got cross about the size of the bills she was racking up that somebody thought to contact her and query it,” says an investigator. “It is that easy.”
There’s a similar story involving kids unintentionally snitching on their parents during a divorce settlement. Via:
Andrew Beckett, managing director of cybersecurity and investigations at Kroll, said the firm uncovered multimillion-pound hidden assets in a divorce case last year by monitoring the location of the children’s social media posts. The court ordered the husband to give his wife $30m, but he claimed not to have such assets.
“We monitored social media, particularly for his children, who were in their 20s, and found a lot of posts from the same geo-tagged sites,” said Beckett. “Cross-referencing that with land registry and other similar bodies overseas, we found half a dozen properties that were registered in the name of this person.
“We were able to go to the court with a list of assets that we conservatively estimated at $60m, which the court then seized until he settled the amount that had been ordered.”
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