A few weeks after she realized her husband was finally leaving her, Sarah Pursglove flew down to the Bahamas to figure out how much money he really had.
A special Internal Revenue Service division known as the “wealth squad,” set up in 2010 to crack down on high-end tax evaders with multinational holdings, today has enough manpower to assess only about 200 cases a year.
Pursglove would rely on her own wealth squad: a pair of highly creative lawyers, using Pursglove herself as the ultimate informant. It would take them more than two years and millions of dollars to breach the defenses of the offshore financial world.
trusts organized in the Cook Islands, a self-governing state associated with New Zealand, are particularly difficult to investigate. Cook courts typically do not recognize American court orders, including divorce judgments. To sue a Cook trust, you have to actually fly to the Cook Islands, in the middle of the South Pacific, roughly 6,000 miles southwest of Florida. “It’s like Switzerland used to be, but squared,”