Civil Litigation Histories

The Misunderstood Background Check Component

By Thomas C. Lawson, CFE, CII
We're all aware of the critically important components of background checks - convictions, driving histories, credit reports, references, drug tests - in profiling suspected fraudsters. But we should explore a component that's often misunderstood: civil litigation histories. It's tough to discover them, but here's how to do it. 

Urbena Louisa Marie Husenfarfel (of the Des Moines Husenfarfels) came to my office one sunny Newport Beach day and advised that she had "met the most handsome man" the previous night at her country club. Fortunately, Urbena (not her real name, of course) was relatively savvy - developed over 47 years of marriage to a man who at the time of his passing left her just shy of $8 billion (yes, billion with a "b"). Urbena was also a women who prided herself on maintaining her good looks, and so, after seven cosmetic "procedures" at age 76, striking a magnificent poster-girl pose, she could easily pass for 75. Needless to say, Urbena was in the market for a Man. And she found one, but as with many of my clients over the years, she was wise to want to learn more about her beaus. 

So I proceeded with basic subject identification and pursued the usual lien/judgment report. I checked the civil litigation indices in identifiable jurisdictions so I could identify the subject's activities, both personal and business.

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