Vadim Anvaer v. Ludmila Anvaer (App Div., 2nd Dep’t)

A special referee was referred to this divorce action to report on the following issues: (1) whether a corporate asset existed outside of the United States; (2) whether that asset constituted marital property subject to equitable distribution; and (3) whether such asset was “disposed of or transferred by a party in contemplation of this marital action.

At the evidentiary hearing, the defendant (hereafter “the wife”) sought to establish that the plaintiff (hereafter the “husband”) was the director of System Corp. (hereafter the “corporation”), that the corporation was a marital asset subject to equitable distribution, and that the husband had been secreting the corporation’s assets in order to deprive the wife of her equitable share of marital property. The wife introduced evidence found in the husband’s possession such as the corporation’s corporate stamp, certificate of incorporation, a letter from FBME Bank, Ltd. (hereafter the “bank”) showing that the corporation’s account had a balance of $588,465.75 as of May 8, 2009, and bank statements showing that the corporation’s account had decreased to $46,705.46 as of August 31, 2009.

The husband testified that the bank’s letter was sent to him at the request of a family friend in order to verify the ability of the corporation to complete a short sale of the marital residence. The Special Referee found that the record did not support the husband’s testimony. The husband also admitted that he sent and received emails for the corporation as the corporations “Senior Director”. The Special Referee determined that the corporation was marital property subject to equitable distribution.

In determining the value of the corporation, the Court Attorney Referee relied upon the husband’s failure to respond to a notice to admit regarding the authenticity of certain FBME Bank documents which reflected the corporation’s value as of May 8, 2009 to be $588,465.75. The Court Attorney Referee determined that the husband intentionally depleted the corporation’s account to deprive the defendant of that money at a time when the marriage was breaking down in 2006 and divorce was imminent. Accordingly, the wife was awarded a judgment in the sum of $294,232.88, or one-half of the value of the corporation’s account as of May 8, 2009.