Gone but not Dead – Death Fakers

NZherald covers an interesting article by Frances Morton about those who disappear and fake thier own death.

Our special investigation unit often receives requests from clients to assist them in finding people, for one reason or another. Most time, the missing person owes a debt – money borrowed, property illegally sold/stolen, landlord dispute, employee theft/mismanagement,deadbeat dad, witness in a lawsuit, etc.

Other times though, the client is trying to find a missing loved one who ran away or just “disappeared”. As Frank Ahern advises in his book; “Ultimate Privacy: How to Diasappear, Erase Digital Footprints & Vanish Without a Trace”, most women “disappear” to avoid a dangerous situation, while men will fake their own death mostly to escape financial difficulties.

Today’s digital age makes it very diffuclt to disappear without a trace. Most people have become so used to paying by credit/debit cards, having mobile phones and communicating online through various social media sites, that they leave a huge footrpint.

Unless a person is extremely serious and dedicated about vanishing wthout a trace, investigators can locate people through trails they leave behind. Police won’t necessarily be looking for them if they haven’t committed a serious crime, but savvy investigators have access to special databases which can indicate where the person may be hiding.

The moral of the story; if you’re thinking of disappearing, don’t talk about it on Facebook and remember that cash is king.

Would you like to get help with a computer problem simply by pressing a button?

This tip is for everyone out there who has a love/hate relationship with their computer. When my computer is working fine, I love what it can do. When it gives me problems or picks up a virus, I hate that I have to spend so much money to fix it and maybe do without it for several days.

Then last month, I discovered Automatic Geek. Automatic Geek allows you to install a HELP button on the tool bar of your laptop, home or desktop computer that gives you 24 hours a day access to an IT troubleshooter (Geek). It didn’t even cost me anything to try it as they give you a free PC tune-up when you visit the site.

When ever you have a computer problem (lost document, suspected virus, power point presentation assistance, free software download, etc.), you just hit the help button and within 10 – 15 seconds a live individual will come to your assitance, 24 hours a day.

Not only is this way more convenient than hauling the computer into an electronic store and having to wait in line to be served, but it is a lot cheaper. On average, computer stores will charge around $200 to remove a virus. Automatic Geek charges $20 a month and you never have to leave your home/office.

It is ideal for small businesses since you can have up to three computers covered under their $30 a month plan. Five computers can be included for $50 per month. Another great savings for small businesses is that Automatic Geek will search the internet for open source soft ware and once they have found what you need, they will download it to your computer for no additional charge – it is all included in the monthly payment.

Busy investigators or E.P. agents who may have to complete a report or other paper work at the end of their shift, can’t afford to be stuck with a problem when they finish work at midnight or 6am.

Like the old saying goes; “the work isn’t over until the paperwork is done”.

How to catch a Liar

Last night, Fox Channel 5 aired the new series; “Lie to Me”, with Tim Roth.

I was delighted to see such a series. I am one of the few investigators who practice Integrity Interviews. Many people have some kind of idea what it is, but do not seem to understand it that well.

I am hoping that many will watch this show and realize how investigators like me focus on people’s body movements to determine when they are being truthful or deceitful.

Certain clients like property management companies can not afford to hire employees who can not be trusted as they have access to people’s homes on a daily basis. Integrity Interviewing is a fantastic way to shortlist candidates or to even investigate an incident where there are multiple suspects.

Beware though if you intend to try out this form of questioning yourself. It takes many years and hundreds of interviews to be able to detect the faintest of facial expressions that can give the investigator a glimpse into the real character of a person.

Who says Politics doesn’t pay and why can’t I find clients with pockets this deep?

I have never drank the political coolaid. I have little faith in big party politics. Give me an independent politician who does not have to toe a party line and I’ll show you a politician who has half a chance of being a decent advocate of the people.

I think one of the greatest wrongs that politicans commit is in their thinking of voters as idiots. I use the Washington Post article of 1/17/08 as a prime example. Staff writer Carrie Johnson writes in the Business section that GAO investigators will look into “NO-BID Contracts” irregularities involving the Justice Department.

This all came about when a firm led by the former Attorney General, John D. Ashcroft, drew attention for receiving lucrative (more like outrageous) contracts to oversee companies accused of fraud and other wrong doings. One firm in particular, Zimmer (famous for their “Zimmer Frames”), agreed to pay Mr. Ashcroft’s firm between $28 and $52 million dollars to resolve kickback allegations.

Two questions spring to mind; 1) How much was the original “kickback” amount when they can now afford to pay out $28,000,000.00 to $52,000,000.00? and 2) Does the recieving of (as much as) $52 million dollars by a former high ranking politician from a company with it’s back up against a wall not sound like a “kickback” in of itself?

What does Mr. Ashcroft’s firm deliver as a result of this outlandish payment? Well, as a “monitor”, they will make sure that Zimmer stops making illicit payment to doctors for using Zimmer products. There’s got to be more than that, surely? Kind of. Ashcroft said that he has already made several trips to Indiana to “understand Zimmer’s troubles.” Several trips to Indiana for $52 million dollars? Did they buy their own luxury jet just for those trips?

Private investigation firms all across America conducts similar services on a daily basis, only for a mere fraction of what Zimmer has paid to this former Government official. As a private security business owner I can attest to the fact that a typical investigation company would be delighted and thrilled to receive 2% – 3% of this amount and in so doing would employ highly skilled investigators with backgrounds and certifications such as Certified Fraud examiner in the FBI, United Nations and other Govt. and corporate investigative agencies.

You can be sure that Mr. Ashccroft is not the only former government offical riding the gravy train. The article states that several other former government officials with ties to the Bush administration have been awarded similar contracts since 2001.