Do you suspect that your spouse is being less than truthful about disclosing all their assets, especially high tech assets like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies? Here are some telltale signs that your spouse is trying to keep their digital currency on the down low during your divorce.
Bank and credit card records show a transaction with a cryptocurrency exchange.
Certain websites function as the entry point for most people interested in obtaining or trading Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Exchanges include: Coinbase, Binance, Etoro, Coinswitch, Luno and PaxForex. All it can take is one initial transaction in “normal dollars and cents” to enter this new world of Bitcoin, where untold more digital currency can be obtained. So if you see any crypto activity, however slight, it’s worthy of further investigation — especially if your spouse omitted it from the Case Information Statement. Each crypto wallet (where digital currency is kept) comes with a unique “key” that can then be traced to show all transactions associated with the wallet.
History of large Amazon purchases.
Some sneaky spouses take advantage of crypto exchanges that allow users to set up a digital wallet for free with limited identification required. All that may be needed is an email address. Sneaky strategy #2 — they don’t buy any initial Bitcoin to put in the wallet, thus avoiding any direct charges made to a bank or credit account. Instead, they connect with a Bitcoin user in one of the many user forums who is willing to accept goods that will be paid in Bitcoin. The agreement might entail buying items of the Bitcoin owners choice on Amazon, and in return, Bitcoin will be deposited in the owner’s empty wallet, giving them their entrance into this world. It’s important to remember that Bitcoin wallets function completely outside the normal banking system, so no one will be the wiser should this transaction take place — unless you get smart to your spouse’s buying habits. Scan Amazon, Ebay and other online sellers. Has your spouse made unusual or very large purchases that you never actually saw show up at your house? Are there names and address in your Amazon account shipping list that you don’t recognize? Your spouse should be able to answer to these. If you don’t have access to your spouse’s Amazon account, this can be something that your attorney requests to see during divorce discovery.
Pattern of buying goods from retailers that accept Cryptocurrency
Do your spouse have a new apartment furnished exclusively with items purchased from Overstock.com. Do they shop exclusively at Whole Foods and only drink Starbucks? There are a growing number of stores and retailers — both online and “brick and mortar” stores — that accept cryptocurrency. Here’s a list of Crypto-friendly large retailers compiled in 2021.
The presence of crypto exchange apps or digital wallet apps your App store account.
Any of the common exchanges listed above (Coinbase, etc.) offer apps for mobile crypto banking. If you share one phone account, you may be able to access the history of all apps downloaded to any phones on your plan. If you are not able to obtain this information on your own, your attorney can add to this to items to be produced during discovery.
Bank accounts show large singular cash withdrawals, or a pattern of smaller withdrawals of similar size.
This kind of red flag behavior warrants further investigation. Where did this money go? Trading cash for crypto is one possibility, but there are many more. Transferring cash to a Paypal account is another red flag. What was the purpose for this transfer?
Secretive behavior with account statements.
Have paper bank and credit statements that once showed up in the mail suddenly stopped? Have passwords to online bank and credit accounts been changed? Call your bank and credit card company to request copies be sent directly to you for all joint accounts. Let your attorney know as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to make your spouse produce documentation of all joint accounts.
Bari Weinberger in the New Jersey Law Journal: Who gets the Bitcoin in the divorce?
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