A billionaire moves marital property to South Dakota

| May 26, 2020 | Blog, Divorce |

When you are getting divorced in Texas, you will exchange financial information with your spouse. The hope is that he or she gives you a full and accurate accounting of his or her assets that are part of the marital estate without hiding or undervaluing property. One Texas billionaire reduced the size of the marital estate by moving assets to trusts domiciled outside of the state. Unfortunately for his wife, this is apparently completely legal.

Billions became only $12 million

The Texas man made billions in the markets by founding his own quantitative trading company. After he engaged in an affair, he divorced his wife by registered mail. When she tried to claim her share of the couple’s property, she found out that there was only $12 million even though the couple owned homes, artwork and even a $5 million Egyptian mummy. What happened was the man created several asset trusts in South Dakota. While his wife was originally the beneficiary, he changed that without having to even inform her.

South Dakota is an asset haven

While most means of moving assets will anger a court, the trusts that the man created were legal under South Dakota law. He also formed the trusts before the divorce and moved the property out of his name, making it much more difficult for his wife to recover money. South Dakota has become a home for trusts that are created to protect and shelter money. You can now think of the state as the “Switzerland of the Great Plains.”

If you are in the process of getting divorced, and there are any assets involved, you need a divorce attorney to verify the financial information that you have received from your spouse. A lawyer may be able to figure out if the other spouse has been engaged in deception when valuing and disclosing assets. An attorney might have the ability to “follow the money” to learn that there is an attempt to shortchange you in the divorce.