Most of the time, deposit accounts like checking and savings accounts are the easiest targets to go after in a judgment collection matter. Stock accounts held at brokerages are also subject to execution in a civil judgment recovery action. But what happens if your debtor doesn’t use traditional bank accounts? What happens if the debtor has no investment accounts with stocks, bonds, mutual funds or anything else? Perhaps the judgment debtor knows that her or she owes money, and wants to evade collection efforts. Sounds familiar?
What happens if a debtor hides money in crypto? Unfortunately for debtors, cryptocurrency is still an asset that can be levied – if it can be found. Recently, we hit a debtor’s bank account with a levy, but it was not sufficient to clear the entire judgment. A review of the judgment debtor’s Instagram page revealed some “interesting” posts. He was bragging about how he became a millionaire by investing in crypto using the Coinbase platform. Bingo! We immediately obtained a writ of execution directed to Coinbase, which froze the entire judgment amount ($18k) from the Debtor’s Coinbase account. The Debtor did not have $1 million in his account, but Coinbase responded stating that the total balance was over $247,000!! This was a successful collection that was rather unorthodox. Most debtors think their money is safe in a cryptocurrency account, but if it can be found and levied, they’re in for a very unpleasant surprise.