YOU WANT HOW MUCH MONEY?
In the Spring of 2018, a law firm client retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct an insurance defense surveillance investigation of a plaintiff (Subject) in a personal injury lawsuit. The Subject was demanding an eight figures payment due to an auto accident that allegedly resulted in traumatic brain and numerous physical injuries. The Subject alleged she would require extensive medical care over the course of her life as a result of this accident.
Our client needed to know the truth regarding her current physical capabilities, any employment limitations she may have, and/or if she demonstrates any restrictions while carrying out daily, routine activities. Within the first week of initiating covert, mobile surveillance, TIN Investigators observed our Subject driving a vehicle, working as a waitress, exercising in a gym, shopping, and attending social gatherings with friends.
During our investigation, TIN Investigators also closely – and legally – monitored the Subject’s social media accounts. TIN identified numerous posts which provided insight into social activities being planned by the Subject, and her general state of mind as well. One post even included a video the Subject had taken of herself while operating a vehicle. Another post was discovered in which our Subject stated, “Mannnnn this Saturday is gonna be maddddddd dope. I’m readiiii”.
Due to our findings from previous days of surveillance and considering additional tidbits of information provided through social media research, our client authorized additional days of surveillance with a concentration on the upcoming weekend. The additional days allowed TIN Investigators to obtain surveillance video of our Subject loading and unloading rental furniture, setting up decorations for an outdoor wedding, attending this wedding, and dancing with friends at this same wedding.
TIN’s multi-faceted approach to conducting personal injury investigations provided certain clues, insight, and eventually relevant activity that brought clarity to a “day in the life” for our Subject. After presenting our client with discreetly obtained surveillance video and a comprehensive social media report, it was gratifying to hear that this case had settled “for a fraction” of the eight figures which had been originally sought.
In the summer of 2016, a Beaumont law firm retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a covert, mobile surveillance assignment on the Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The Plaintiff claimed that he had sustained a shoulder injury as a result of an accident, which allegedly prevented him from working out.
TIN Investigators conducted two (2) days of surveillance and observed the Plaintiff working as a personal trainer at a gym. On various occasions, Investigators observed the Plaintiff lifting dumbbell weights, utilizing the gym’s bench press, and conducting full range-of-motion squats without showing discernible signs of pain, discomfort, or disability. Investigators captured all of these activities on covert video, which was presented to the client in the form of a professionally detailed surveillance report and a court admissible surveillance DVD. The DVD and detailed report illustrated the Plaintiff’s true physical capabilities.
Immediately after jury selection and just before opening arguments for the trial, the Plaintiff suddenly became willing to settle his lawsuit without further litigation. As advised by the law firm, their client received a highly favorable outcome as a result of TIN’s investigation in this matter.
DISABILITY SURVEILLANCE INVESTIGATION UNCOVERS PLAINTIFF STILL WORKING OUT
In the summer of 2018, a law firm client retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a disability surveillance investigation on a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. Our client requested TIN conduct covert, mobile surveillance due to the Plaintiff alleging physical pain and disability from a back injury sustained as a result of an auto accident the previous year. The Plaintiff further alleged that she was unable to exercise, even though she admitted to having an active gym membership.
After several days of surveillance on the Plaintiff, with little activity, a TIN Investigator followed her to a downtown gym. Utilizing a strategic pretext, the Investigator was able to gain access to the gym and observe the Plaintiff on an elliptical machine for over twenty minutes. During this time, the Plaintiff showed no discernible signs of pain or discomfort and did not appear limited or restricted in her movements. Our Investigator captured the Plaintiff’s workout routine on high definition covert video, evidencing a clear contradiction between her alleged injuries and her true physical capabilities.
As advised by the law firm, their client received a favorable outcome as a result of TIN’s investigation in this matter. All TIN Investigators are equipped with covert, surveillance cameras and are often required to enter crowded, public places in order to obtain the results desired by our clients.
MOM CAUGHT DRINKING AND DRIVING WITH HER KIDS
In 2016, a Houston law firm retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a covert, mobile surveillance assignment on a Subject, who was suspected of violating her divorce decree by consuming alcohol and having male visitors overnight while having possession of her children.
Over the course of four (4) consecutive days of surveillance, TIN investigators observed the Subject consuming alcohol, drinking and driving with her children, failing to secure her children’s seatbelts, and having her boyfriend overnight at her residence. TIN captured covert surveillance video of these activities, documented the findings, and presented the video and the professional, detailed report to the client in a court admissible format.
Per the law firm client, the presiding Family Court Judge was so impressed with the clarity of detail laid out in TIN’s surveillance reports that he openly stated that none of the four (4) TIN Investigators assigned to this case would be required to testify in court. As a result of TIN’s findings, the Subject of this investigation lost custody of her children and was restricted to supervised visitations. The Judge ordered the Subject to vacate the residence, so the ex-husband could move back in with the children. In addition, the Judge ordered the Subject to install a breathalyzer on her cell phone for a period of one (1) year. After receiving this favorable judgment, the law firm client informed TIN that their client (the Subject’s ex-husband) was appreciative of TIN’s work and even stated, “This was the best money that I’ve ever spent.”
DEPO NO SHOW
In late 2018, a Houston law firm retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct covert, mobile surveillance on a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The Plaintiff was involved in a shooting incident and alleged that he could no longer work, lift anything, drive, or perform any type of physical activity.
On the first day of surveillance, a TIN Investigator observed the Subject exit his residence and appear to smoke marijuana. On the second day of surveillance, the Subject was observed being picked up by a family member and traveling to an IKEA store. After the Subject and this family member finished shopping, our Investigator obtained covert video of the Subject pushing a large cart containing multiple boxes to the loading dock of IKEA. The Subject then began picking up and placing several large boxes inside of the family member’s vehicle, demonstrating no discernible signs of pain, discomfort, or disability. The Subject’s activities directly contradicted his claims, and all of our observations were presented to our client in the form of a professionally detailed report and HD video.
Approximately one year later, our law firm client contacted TIN and advised that the Subject’s attorney – Plaintiff’s Counsel – was interested in deposing TIN’s Surveillance Investigator for this assignment. The depo date was promptly scheduled; however, on the day of the deposition, the Subject and his attorney did not even bother showing up. Our client informed TIN that by all indications, Plaintiff’s Counsel was playing games and in all likelihood, elected not to show up for the depo due to the great field work and evidence uncovered by TIN.
CAUGHT RED HANDED
In mid 2015, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by an out of state law firm to conduct a surveillance investigation on a plaintiff who claimed that she had suffered permanent nerve damage as her median nerve was severed, thus causing limitations with her right arm. The plaintiff claimed that she was experiencing very poor grip with her right hand and unable to pick up anything and hold it. Specific examples she cited included not being able to use her right arm to lift a gallon of milk, start the ignition in her car, or use a spray bottle. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed she was unable to perform her job duties and was thus not working during the time in which this surveillance was conducted.
Over the course of six (6) days of surveillance, the plaintiff was observed to be constantly driving, shopping, and loading and unloading groceries and various other items into her vehicle on several different occasions. At no point during these activities did the plaintiff show any reluctance to utilize her right hand/arm to perform any actions. Further, the plaintiff was never observed wearing any type of brace, orthotic or medical device on her right hand or any other part of her body.
The most egregious contradiction to her injury claims came on a day where she drove to a major furniture store and, after shopping for an extended period of time inside the store, exited the store three times pushing out three different dollies containing what appeared to be pre-assembled furniture, boards and other materials. For several minutes, the plaintiff was observed and filmed both assisting a store employee and personally loading several large pieces of wood and pre-assembled furniture into her vehicle, fully utilizing her right hand while doing so and showing no discernible signs of pain or disability.
All of these activities were captured on video and presented to our client in the form of a court admissible surveillance DVD, along with professionally detailed surveillance reports. Per our client, our reports and surveillance video proved most helpful in reaching a favorable resolution in this matter.
INAPPROPRIATE CORPORATE RELATIONS
In late 2014, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a north Texas oilfield services company to investigate the activities of their General Manager while on a business trip in Houston, TX. The Investigation was predicated on the fact that the subject of Investigation was scheduled to come into Houston for a one day business meeting but, for some reason, unexpectedly decided to fly into Houston two days prior to the one day meeting.
Texas Investigative Network Investigators Pfister, Roesner and Amrine initiated surveillance at Hobby Airport in Houston, TX in anticipation of the subject’s arrival. After successfully locating the individual at the airport and conducting covert surveillance of him until he purchased a rental vehicle, TIN Investigators were able to determine that the subject was staying at hotel in a suburb of southwest Houston, suspiciously far from the location of his meeting which was two days later. The same night that the subject arrived into town, he proceeded to a local bar and, after consuming several alcoholic beverages, left the bar while appearing to be intoxicated.
The next day the subject of investigation was observed meeting a woman at his hotel and, as the subject and the woman were observed entering the subject’s hotel room, covert video was obtained. This same woman, stayed with our subject of investigation the majority of the day and, after leaving for the evening, returned the next day and again remained with the subject of investigation, until he left for his meeting. It was determined that the woman who our subject of investigation was seen with was actually a married, publicly known woman.
These findings were promptly provided to the client in the form of professional surveillance reports, which contained several photos captured from the surveillance video. Our client was very appreciative of Texas Investigative Network’s ability to handle this investigation in a professional, discreet and expeditious manner, thus bringing clarity to their concerns about their general manager. Our client then made the decision to handle the matter involving their unpredictable and suspicious general manager internally.
SINGING, DANCING AND DISABLED
In early 2015, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a Texas law firm to conduct a surveillance investigation on a plaintiff in a lawsuit who claimed that he had sustained a back injury as the result of an accident at the client’s place of business. The plaintiff initially had back surgery, yet claimed that he was still injured and had limited physical capabilities as a result of this accident.
Of particular concern to our client was whether or not the plaintiff in the lawsuit was actually working during the time of our surveillance. To determine this, Texas Investigative Network Investigator Spears conducted three separate days of surveillance on this plaintiff. Each day, the plaintiff was observed traveling around the town he lived in, taking his acoustic guitar with him to each location. The plaintiff was very social and physically demonstrative communication on each day which he was observed. At no point was the plaintiff observed to have any discernable signs of pain or disability.
On the final day of surveillance, Investigator Spears was required to initiate covert surveillance of the plaintiff inside one of the restaurants that the plaintiff had entered, carrying his guitar and what appeared to be CD cases. Once inside the restaurant, the plaintiff was observed singing, dancing and playing his guitar for the restaurant patrons. The plaintiff was also observed selling CDs inside of the restaurant and accepting cash tips from some of the patrons.
All of these activities were captured on video and presented to our client in the form of a court admissible surveillance DVD, along with a professionally detailed surveillance report. Our reports and surveillance video proved helpful to the law firm that engaged us in securing a settlement which was favorable to their client.
DISABILITY SURVEILLANCE INVESTIGATION LEADS PLAINTIFF TO DROP CIVIL LAW SUIT
In late 2013, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a Dallas law firm to conduct a disability surveillance investigation on a Plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The Plaintiff claimed he had sustained a serious back injury as the result of a workplace accident he suffered in mid-2012. The Plaintiff further claimed that he could now only work three hours per week as a result of the accident. Our client requested TIN initiate covert, mobile surveillance in order to determine the extent of the Plaintiff’s physical capabilities.
Over the course of four days of surveillance, the plaintiff was observed (at various times) hanging up Christmas lights, shopping, bending over on multiple occasions, utilizing a ladder, reaching with both arms while on the ladder, using a leaf blower, operating a table saw, and climbing in and out of the bed of a pickup truck. While performing all of these activities, the Plaintiff showed no discernible signs of pain or disability, which clearly contradicted the injuries he was alleging.
All of Plaintiff’s activities were captured on high-definition video and presented to our client in the form of a court-admissible surveillance DVD, along with our professional surveillance report. When the Plaintiff was confronted with the surveillance video obtained during our investigation, he dropped his civil law suit, much to our client’s satisfaction.
STOLEN VEHICLE, FRAUDULENT CREDIT CARD SCHEME...MERRY CHRISTMAS!
In December of 2019, the owner (Client) of a specialty car rental company called Texas Investigative Network, Inc. about a corporate investigation regarding a high-end Mercedes Benz sedan that had been stolen. Our client informed us that the customized Mercedes Benz was valued at $ 150,00.00.
The client stated his company had previously entered into an agreement with a customer to rent the vehicle; however, once the rental agreement expired, the customer claimed the vehicle had been stolen from his driveway. After several phone calls between our client and the customer, the customer told our client he didn’t know where the vehicle was and to leave him alone. The customer immediately became a suspect. This suspect further stated that he had tried to file a police report, but law enforcement would not accept the case since he was not the owner of the vehicle.
Our client attempted to locate the vehicle by tracking the GPS unit, which had been installed on the vehicle, only to discover that this unit had been removed from the vehicle.
TIN promptly initiated a background investigation and covert, mobile surveillance of the suspect. TIN verified that the suspect was currently serving a probation sentence for Assault Causing Bodily Injury (family violence). This information made it clear that our suspect was no stranger to criminal activity.
The suspect was observed on each of the first three days of mobile, covert surveillance; however, the stolen Mercedes was nowhere to be found. Early on the fourth day of surveillance, a TIN Investigator arrived at the suspect’s residence and observed a vehicle in the driveway that matched the stolen vehicle’s description. This vehicle had dealer license plates on it. While updating the client, two additional TIN Investigators quickly arrived on-scene, along with a client rep to inspect the vehicle.
TIN Investigators noted that a small piece of paper had been strategically placed within the vehicle to obstruct the vehicle’s VIN number from being observed through the windshield. The highly customized interior and other unique marks on this vehicle allowed our client to confirm positively that this Mercedes Benz was in fact the stolen vehicle. At this time, the client contacted local law enforcement and informed the agency of our situation.
While waiting for a police officer to arrive, our suspect’s brother exited the residence. TIN Investigators questioned the brother and found him to be extremely uncooperative. The brother would not provide any information regarding the stolen vehicle, how it ended up at this residence, or about the suspect (his brother).
Later, another client rep arrived on-scene with a key fob for the stolen vehicle. The employee was able to remotely unlock the vehicle and verify that the VIN number for this vehicle matched the VIN number for the Mercedes Benz which had been stolen. TIN Investigators conducted a quick search of the interior of the vehicle and found a high-end printer used for producing fraudulent credit cards and a stack of credit card blanks. TIN Investigators also located the original license plate for the vehicle, which had been placed in the trunk.
Once the agency detective familiar with this case arrived on-scene, he attempted to question the suspect’s brother, who remained uncooperative. The detective quickly had the suspect’s brother placed in handcuffs and detained in the back of a police vehicle while he continued his investigation. The police detective decided to have the stolen vehicle towed to the police department to be dusted for fingerprints. The detective also informed TIN investigators and our client that the suspect originally paid for the rental fees by virtue of a stolen credit card.
With the stolen Mercedes Benz now located and recovered, our client was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The information and evidence obtained through this corporate investigation positioned our client more favorably in order to pursue a civil lawsuit and/or criminal charges against this suspect.
EMPLOYEE CAUGHT WORKING WHILE ON SHORT-TERM DISABILITY
In the spring of 2018, a client retained Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a corporate surveillance investigation on an employee (Subject), who was suspected of fraudulently receiving short-term disability benefits. Specifically, this Subject was believed to be managing several of his rental properties while alleging that he can no longer climb structures (stairs, ladders, etc.), bend, stoop, squat, lift anything heavy, or perform any overhead work.
TIN Investigators conducted two weeks of covert, mobile surveillance and discreetly observed the Subject (on multiple days) performing general maintenance activities at his rental properties. Surprisingly, our Investigators also observed the Subject carrying two recently purchased toilets, and then loading them into the back of his van without any assistance whatsoever.
Our Subject was also observed carrying boxes of flooring and ceiling fans, working on an air conditioning unit, changing a flat tire, washing his vehicle, climbing in and out of his work van, and visiting local home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware). The above activities were all captured discreetly on high definition video by TIN Investigators, all while the Subject showed no discernible signs of pain, discomfort, or disability.
The surveillance video was then processed into a court admissible DVD format and presented to our client. Our surveillance video was supported by a professionally detailed report that evidenced our Subject’s true physical capabilities, and explicitly contradicted his allegations.
THANKSGIVING GESTURE TO EMPLOYER – STOLEN INVENTORY
In November of 2017, a national tool company’s out-of-state office called Texas Investigative Network, Inc. about substantial inventory losses at a facility for their Texas-based client. The tool company informed TIN that an initial audit revealed $ 700,000.00 in losses over the last three (3) years.
The stolen tool products belonged to the tool company’s client; however, two (2) of the tool company employees were responsible for the handling, inventory, and management of this product at the client’s Texas facility. The tool company needed to uncover the cause of their losses and, ultimately, to determine if the two (2) on-site employees were involved. Interestingly, one (1) of these employees – a long-time, trusted employee – resigned recently to “care for his elderly mother.”
TIN promptly and discreetly initiated background investigations and covert, mobile surveillance of both suspected individuals. The week after Thanksgiving, three (3) representatives from the tool company flew to Texas, met with Investigator Pellerin, and notified him that the ongoing, internal audit now revealed $ 1.6 M in inventory losses. Together, the tool company and Investigator Pellerin conducted an extensive interview with one (1) of the employees and subsequently ruled her out as a suspect.
One (1) of the company reps then called the other employee, who had recently resigned, and asked him to come in to finalize some pending administrative matters. The former employee claimed he was unable to because he was caring for his aging mother, so surveillance of this suspect continued.
During TIN’s surveillance, Investigators followed the suspect to a local jewelry store and then to a recycling company that same day. Investigators learned the stolen product had no practical use outside of its designated commercial purpose, yet when disassembled the two (2) types of metals that make up the product are of great value.
TIN established that the ex-employee was removing the product from the facility, extracting the two (2) metals from the tool, and then selling the metals to two (2) independent, local buyers. With the cooperation of the two (2) buyers, TIN proved the suspect’s involvement by gathering seller documentation, receipts, and historical purchase details. As authorized by the tool company, TIN provided this information and evidence to law enforcement for criminal prosecution.
Within a couple of days, police arrested the suspect at his residence and charged him with felony theft. The tool company was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief now knowing how the losses occurred and that further losses to their Texas client would not continue.
MOM MAKES AN AMAZING RECOVERY
In the summer of 2019, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a Texas law firm to conduct a covert, mobile surveillance assignment. The Subject of this corporate surveillance investigation was denied her original worker’s compensation claim due to questions regarding the incident which caused the alleged injury. The subject claimed the injury happened at work; however, since her employer found a copy of her softball schedule on her desk, our law firm client suspected that she had hurt herself playing for her softball team.
After her claim was denied, the Subject began taking off from work via FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) alleging she needed to tend to her sick mother. Again, our client and the Subject’s employer suspected the real reason the Subject was taking off from work was to play in her softball league.
During the first two days of this corporate investigation, TIN Investigators observed the Subject at home and running errands, but she never visited her mother. On the morning of the third day of surveillance, the Subject emailed her employer advising she would not be at work due to her mother’s health taking a turn for the worse. Later that morning, the Subject was observed running errands, but again, never visited her mother. Later that night, TIN Investigators followed the Subject to a local park where she and her softball team participated in a softball tournament. The Subject played in this same softball tournament on the fourth day of surveillance, even though she continued to allege her mother’s health was quickly deteriorating.
All of the Subject’s activities were captured discreetly on high definition surveillance video and were submitted to our client. TIN’s corporate surveillance investigation helped bring clarity to the real reason the Subject was missing so much work and allowed our client and her employer to make an important and informed decision as to her future with the company.
NIGHTCLUB FRAUD EXPOSED WHILE UNDERCOVER
In late 2015, Texas Investigative Network was engaged by a Texas law firm to conduct an undercover surveillance investigation into a nightclub involved in a civil lawsuit over a breach of contract dispute. TIN’s case objectives in the matter were the following:
- Determine the monetary charges at the door for those customers entering the nightclub and determine the number of attendees (approximately) who pass through the entrance each evening that surveillance is conducted.
- Determine the number of operable bars and/or serving stations within the nightclub on each evening that surveillance is conducted.
- Determine the quantity of customers served at each bars/serving stations (and all combined bars/serving stations) each evening that surveillance is conducted.
- Determine the typical method of payment for customer drinks (to bartenders and/or waiters/waitresses)
- Determine specifically how charges/monies are typically processed by the nightclub personnel once a transaction had been completed
- Approximate the total number of customers within the nightclub on each evening that surveillance is conducted.
After conducting surveillance on two separate evenings at the nightclub, TIN undercover Operatives observed that on both evenings the parking lot was completely full of vehicles and that the nightclub was crowded. TIN Operatives observed and covertly filmed over three hours of covert video of constant transactions of the selling of alcohol at nightclub the all of the bars within the club. Many transactions were in cash and the nightclub showed no evidence of being “slow”, having a lack of customers or struggling financially as a business. Upon conclusion of this undercover assignment, all video and TIN report work product were promptly prepared and reported to our law firm client for resolution of the pending litigation in this matter.
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES BEING HONEST WITH YOU?
In the fall of 2014, Texas Investigative Network was engaged by a Texas company to determine the actions of a high ranking executive within the company. Our client, the president of this company, explained that the executive in question claimed he had a daughter in the hospital that required him to miss an extended period of time from the company. The executive further claimed that he would be working from the hospital at which his daughter was staying. Our client had also received information internally that, not only was this executive not being honest concerning his daughter’s health, but that this individual may be actually on vacation, using his daughter’s illness as an excuse to leave the state. Upon receiving this information, the company quickly retained Texas Investigative Network.
The first phase of our investigative strategy was to simultaneously initiate surveillance of the subject’s residence, conduct inquiries at the hospitals where the subject’s daughter was allegedly staying, and initiate social media and subject locate research to determine where the subject was currently located. T.I.N. Investigators quickly uncovered that the hospital that the subject of the investigative claimed his daughter was staying at had no record of anyone by the daughter’s name currently at the hospital. While this information was uncovered, surveillance was initiated at the subject’s residence. Shortly after surveillance was initiated, a couple, later identified to be the brother and sister in law of the subject, was observed arriving at the residence and loading groceries and luggage into the subject’s residence. Later that day, the subject’s four children, including the daughter who was allegedly in the hospital were all observed entering the residence. The subject and his wife were not observed on this day.
On the next day of surveillance the same four children were observed being dropped off at various schools by the brother and sister in law of the subject. Again, the subject and his wife were not observed throughout the day. While the surveillance was taking place, TIN Investigators, through a variety of proprietary investigative means, were able to determine the subject and his wife were actually in the California area at the time of this investigation.
All these findings were presented to our client in the form of professional surveillance reports. Upon receiving them, our client terminated their relationship with the subject of investigation and began investigating this former executive’s internal company files. This research uncovered that the subject of investigation had actually been embezzling from the company. Criminal charges are currently pending against this same individual for these charges. In the event that there is reason to believe that your employees are not being honest with you, it may merit further investigative activity as provided above by Texas Investigative Network.
ON-LINE DEAD ENDS LEAD INVESTIGATOR DILLENDER TO FIELD ACTIVITY THAT SOLVES ANOTHER LOCATE INVESTIGATION
In the summer of 2018, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a law firm client to locate a Witness (Subject) in a civil lawsuit. This Subject, a former city employee who worked in the waste management division, was believed to have first-hand knowledge that contradicted opposing counsel’s argument as to the cause of a dry well flooding during a recent storm.
Initially, our law firm client provided TIN the Subject’s name and a possible address. After exhausting all in-house, proprietary databases, courthouse records, social media, and a variety of online informational sources, TIN was left with a few outdated residential addresses and telephone numbers, none which proved helpful in confirming a current residential address or employment for our Subject. In addition to the outdated information obtained, TIN developed a telephone number for the Subject’s father. Investigator Dillender contacted the father, who informed him that he is estranged from the Subject and the rest of family and had not spoken with them in over a year. The father provided Investigator Dillender a general geographic area of where the Subject and family members were now believed to be residing, but he did not know the actual address.
At this time, Investigator Dillender traveled to the area provided by the Subject’s father. After knocking on multiple doors, Investigator Dillender was eventually able to make contact with the Subject’s mother, who informed him that the Subject lives in a trailer on the property; however, he was currently at work. Investigator Dillender provided the Subject’s mother his personal cell number for her son (the Subject) to contact him.
After several days, the Subject contacted Investigator Dillender, who coordinated a phone call between the Subject and our client. While on this call, the Subject provided details about the incident which were favorable to our client and also agreed to cooperate in a deposition, if needed.
TIN recognizes the importance of utilizing every possible on-line source, computer database and informational leads when conducting locate assignments. Many difficult locate assignments can in fact be successfully concluded via computer research and/or via telephone inquiries. Often; however, field work is the next essential step to uncover the most current and critical facts for our clients. Today, many of our modern era Investigators rely exclusively on social media, computer databases and on-line information sources to conduct a “full and comprehensive” investigation. In fact, many Investigators remain hesitant to simply pick up the phone or use a “boots on the ground” approach to solving difficult locate assignments. In this particular case, Investigator Dillender’s willingness to pick up the phone, knock on doors and make field inquiries was the catalyst in solving this Subject locate assignment.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESEARCH SOLVES ANOTHER CASE
In early 2018, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was retained by a law firm client to locate a Defendant in a civil matter. This Subject (Defendant) was involved in an auto accident while driving a company vehicle, quit his job on the day of the incident and had been flying under the radar ever since. Our law firm client was hoping to locate the Subject and gain his cooperation in order to more adequately represent his former employer.
Initially, TIN was provided the Defendant’s name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, two (2) possible addresses, and an old phone number. After exhausting all in-house, proprietary databases, courthouse records, and a variety of online informational sources, only a few outdated residential leads were developed. At this time, we turned to social media in the hopes of obtaining specific pieces of personal information, which could lead us to the Subject’s whereabouts.
Within three (3) weeks of receiving this case, TIN was able to successfully obtain a current cell phone number and a current address for the Subject. The comprehensive use of social media research allowed us to dig deeper into the personal life of the Subject, which ultimately enabled us to solve this locate case. TIN has developed an innovative, in depth social media-based investigative method to uncover the most critical facts achievable for our clients.
DIFFICULT SUBJECT LOCATE SOLVED WITH TENACITY AND TIMING
In July of 2015, we were hired by an out of state law firm representing a national healthcare provider for the purposes of locating a registered nurse. The nurse was originally from the Philippines and according to our client, had received the benefits of extensive training and various paid expenses in preparation for moving to the United States and beginning a new job. Once here in the U.S., the nurse began her new life. Contractual obligations required her to remain employed until the expiration date of her contract with the healthcare provider that made it possible for her to receive this opportunity in life.
Shortly after initiating this new assignment, the nurse unexpectedly elected not to return to work and our client was not able to reach her by phone or in person. The law firm advising the healthcare provider suggested that a Private Investigative agency be engaged for assistance. Shortly afterwards, we began this Subject Locate assignment. In the absence of certain critical identifiers (SS#, Drivers License#, Date of Birth, etc.), we found very little data in the form of viable leads that we could act upon and were initially unsuccessful in establishing traction on this locate case. If fact, all of the information that Investigator Skalka developed preliminarily on this case through our research of various on-line, internet, computer database, proprietary databases, courthouse/government records, financial accounts, private records, etc. produced outdated, raw and/or unconfirmed information. Realistically, nothing that we initially obtained was determined to be actionable. After personally reviewing the case and all investigative work that had been done to date by one of our investigators, I believed that this was a case that warranted setting it aside and then at a later time, re-run our databases, informational sources, etc. in anticipation of developing new information that could be acted upon.
About two weeks later, Investigator Pfister agreed to take a look at this file and evaluate the work that had been conducted to date, and re-run some of our primary databases and informational sources for any potential new leads. Surprisingly, Investigator Pfister discovered that just three days earlier, our Subject had registered a new vehicle using an address in a residential area in a North Houston suburb. Every other record and informational source we accessed showed no connection whatsoever for our Subject at this address. After conducting an initial inquiry to the residence, it was apparent that the resident landlord was allowing our Subject to live at this residence, but was also very guarded in disclosing additional information to us. It was also apparent that the landlord would probably not open the door for us again at any point in the future.
This information was reported to the attorney that engaged us, who then promptly forwarded all appropriate court docs for us to initiate civil process service attempts. After a couple of brief periods of surveillance at this residence and with only a distant view of the driveway and garage door, one of our investigators/process servers was able to establish verbal contact with the nurse when she was returning to the residence and served her with all appropriate court docs. According to our law firm, this was instrumental in achieving a settlement for the client in connection with the contract that this Subject had previously breached.
ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYWAY
In October of 2011, a gentleman who was both a member of and executer of a family estate hired Texas Investigative Network, Inc. for assistance in locating his estranged nephew who was named as a beneficiary in the will of a family member. Our Client only knew his nephew’s name, the city he grew up in, his approximate age and that previously he had encountered trouble with the law.
T.I.N. Investigator Pfister first used the little information which was provided on the Subject to properly identify him. After conducting on-line and computer database research, making telephone calls to various leads identified through this research and in additional follow- up with our Client, the Subject was eventually properly identified, thus allowing us to make more extensive attempts to locate him. It soon became apparent that our Subject had not had a permanent residential address in nearly two years.
After additional research, Investigator Pfister then uncovered recent, multiple felony criminal charges stemming from one incident of Arson against our Subject. Using the court documents obtained from these charges, Investigator Pfister confirmed that the Subject was in fact incarcerated in an area correctional facility awaiting a psychological evaluation.
While the Client was understandably disturbed with these findings, a provision of the will stipulated that if the Subject happened to be in jail, his portion of the will would actually be awarded to our Client.
BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION REVEALS KEY WITNESS LIED IN DEPOSITION
In early 2018, a law firm client contacted Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a Background Investigation on a Witness (Subject) of a physical altercation that resulted in the death of one of the parties. During a recent deposition, the Subject stated he did not have any active misdemeanor or felony cases, yet he appeared “very uneasy” when answering this question. Our client, suspicious that the Subject was not being forthright as to this line of questioning, requested that TIN conduct a criminal history investigation on this witness in order to assess his credibility.
Our client provided TIN Investigators the Subject’s name and some important identifiers. Investigators were able to delve into misdemeanor and felony records which had been filed throughout the U.S. and found several previous convictions. TIN Investigators were shocked to discover the following charges in this Subject’s criminal history:
- 2013 Misdemeanor — Telecommunication Harassment (Active Warrant for Subject)
- 2005 – Misdemeanor – Violating a Protection Order
- 2003 – Misdemeanor – Violating a Protection Order
- 2001 – Felony – Burglary
- 1998 Felony – Domestic Violence & Telephone Harassment
- 1998 Misdemeanor – Unauthorized use of a Vehicle
- 1998 Misdemeanor – Menacing
- 1998 Misdemeanor – Theft
- 1998 Misdemeanor – Falsifying an Official Document
- 1996 Misdemeanor – Criminal Damaging or Endangering
- 1995 Misdemeanor – Phone Harassment
- 1990 Felony – Vandalism
- 1990 Misdemeanor – Knowingly Damage and/or Endanger
- 1990 Misdemeanor – Domestic Violence
TIN was able to obtain the supporting documents for each of these charges, including an active out-of-state warrant, and presented our findings to the client in the form of a professionally detailed, confidential report. Consequently, TIN Investigators were able to establish the clarity needed as to this Subject’s criminal history. Our background report armed our client with criminal history data that was factually associated with this Subject. This information allowed our client the leverage necessary to challenge the credibility of this Subject’s testimony.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND SAVES CLIENT FROM A POTENTIAL DISASTER
In early 2018, a corporate client contacted Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to conduct a Background Investigation on a potential employee. TIN’s client was aware of a criminal history, as the Subject had indicated that he did in fact have a prior drug and theft conviction. When asked about these convictions, the Subject would not provide many details. TIN was tasked with providing the critical details of the Subject’s criminal record, so the client could make the best decision when considering this person for employment.
TIN Investigators were provided a photo of the Subject’s driver’s license and his application for employment, which contained his name, date of birth, and social security number. After properly identifying the Subject, Investigators dove into the courthouse records and found several previous criminal convictions. Expecting to find one (1) conviction for possession and one (1) for theft, Investigators were surprised to discover the following criminal charges, which had been filed against this Subject:
- 2016 Felony — Theft < $ 2,500.00 (2 or more prior convictions)
- 2015 Misdemeanor — Possession of a Controlled Substance (Carisoprodol); 3 < 28G
- 2015 Misdemeanor — Criminal Mischief
- 2015 Misdemeanor — Trespassing of Property/Building
- 2014 Felony — Possession of Cocaine < 1G
- 2014 Felony — Theft under $ 1,500.00 – Post 3rd Offense
- 2012 Felony — Theft under $ 1,500.00 – 3rd Offense
- 2012 Misdemeanor — Theft ($ 50.00 < $ 500.00)
- 2012 Misdemeanor — Evading Arrest/Detention
- 2012 Misdemeanor — Theft ($ 50.00 < $ 500.00)
TIN obtained the supporting details for the above six (6) misdemeanor and four (4) felony charges and presented the findings to the client in the form of a confidential report. As stated by the client, they were “shocked” to see this type of extensive criminal record on their job candidate. The client further advised that the Subject was applying for a position that required entering customers’ residences, and there is “no way” that they could justify hiring this person.
IDENTIFICATION AND BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
In late 2014, Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was contacted by a corporate client to conduct an Identification and Background Investigation of a potential employee. The subject of investigation had gone through the usual background check conducted on behalf of the client by a third party screening company; however it was during this time that the subject advised that he was a victim of identity theft in the past. The subject also advised that in the course of our background investigation, we would most likely discover that an individual with the same name, date of birth, and social security number has been convicted of murder in the state of New Jersey. Texas Investigative Network, Inc. was tasked with providing clarity to the situation, to properly identify both the potential employee and the individual who was convicted of murder in New Jersey, as well as provide evidence that the individual who was convicted of murder is not in fact, without any reasonable doubt, the same person who is applying for employment at our client’s company.
TIN’s first task was to properly identify the subject of investigation. This was not difficult, as TIN was provided the standard identifying information from the subject’s application (date of birth, social security number, a copy of his Texas driver’s license, etc.) from the client, along with a signed consent form from the subject. After property identifying the subject, our next task was to properly identify the individual that was reportedly convicted of murder in New Jersey, in order to provide clarity to this situation. This task proved to be a bit more taxing. TIN Investigator Skalka contacted the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and was provided the name and State Bureau Identification number, or SBI number, of a currently incarcerated individual who was convicted of murder in 2007. This currently incarcerated individual, who had the same name and date of birth as our subject, is currently serving a 40 year sentence, and furthermore, has been incarcerated for the past seven years for this crime in the New Jersey Department of Corrections. Investigator Skalka was informed by an administrative officer with the New Jersey Department of Corrections that it is not uncommon for an inmate to provide several aliases and false identification information (dates of birth, social security numbers, etc.), upon being processed into the Department of Corrections. The clerk further advised us that the New Jersey Department of Corrections does not verify and/or thoroughly investigate all identifying information that inmates provide due to the high volume of inmates, and variety of false information that is provided.
Investigator Skalka was able to obtain the Offender Detail document for this inmate which provided identification details and a photograph of the incarcerated individual. This document provided both clarity and concerns as it reflected an individual is in fact currently incarcerated in the New Jersey Department of Corrections with a mandatory minimum term remaining of over thirty-three years; however, the photograph of the incarcerated individual looked eerily similar to the Texas Driver’s license of the subject applying for employment with our client. The photograph of the incarcerated individual did show a large scar below his right eye that was not present in the photographs provided for our subject. We obtained definitive information that there is in fact an individual currently incarcerated in the New Jersey Department of Corrections with the same name and date of birth as our subject, who is definitively not currently incarcerated. Our subject was actually applying for employment in the state of Texas. Investigator Skalka was curiously advised by a representative of the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, that the subject does in fact know the individual who is incarcerated, but that the relationship was unclear at the time, and due to New Jersey privacy laws, the documents that contained this information could not be released to TIN without a court order.
TIN investigators were nonetheless, able to bring clarity to the situation and provide our client assurance that they are not about to hire a convicted murder, yet the subject might not be informing his potential employer with the whole truth about this situation and his relationship with the incarcerated individual.
TIN investigators were able to provide this information to the client in a timely and professional manner, of which the client was grateful, and ultimately decided to hire a different applicant. As technology advances and our personal information is more easily accessible online, we must be extremely vigilant in our never ending battle against identity theft.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT MAY BE IN ONE'S PAST
In April of 2011, a Houston area IT Company engaged Texas Investigative Network, Inc. for a routine pre-employment background investigation. This same company had used T.I.N. for similar pre-employment hires in the past, and was expecting to receive a routine, “clean slate” report on this new, seeming qualified and eager applicant.
T.I.N. Investigators conducted research in the most recent four counties in the applicant’s residential history, uncovering nothing in the first three for the seven year time period which the client requested. Two lower court charges were found for this applicant in one county (Dallas), including a Driving While Intoxicated and Resisting Arrest charge but these charges fell outside of the seven year time frame the client requested.
Harris County, Texas was the final county researched and T.I.N. Investigators were surprised to uncover a Murder charge less than two years old, filed against the applicant. Our Client, while clearly surprised was thankful that they had made the decision to have this level of due diligence performed on their potential new hire.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
In July of 2010, a woman from Austin engaged Texas Investigative Network, Inc. to investigate a man she had recently entered into a new relationship with. While she did not suspect infidelity, the man seemed to be hiding aspects of his past. When she questioned him regarding the possibility of past transgressions, he simply replied that he had some minor run-ins with the law when he was younger. Trusting her instincts, the woman asked T.I.N. to check into the man’s criminal history and see what he might be hiding.
T.I.N. Investigator Pfister found many startling discoveries in the course of this investigation. In Travis County alone, this same man had three (3) misdemeanors and nine (9) felonies in his criminal history over an eighteen (18) year period. The convictions against our client’s new boyfriend ranged from a “Theft by Check” charge to multiple “Possession of a Prohibited Weapon” charges, and even a Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance charge.
All of this information was detailed and professionally documented in our report format and then promptly submitted to the young woman who, while clearly disappointed by these disturbing revelations, was relieved to have received the information before the relationship had gone much further.
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