When you think about the various ways that some people lie, cheat and steal, certain activities make you immediately decide that a private investigator should be involved. Two examples …
- When one spouse sees signs of infidelity and suspects an extramarital affair, most of us think about a private investigator.
- We also think about hiring a private investigator when a business owner suspects his employee of faking a job-related injury and committing workers compensation fraud.
But the client base at continues to broaden. We are not limited to certain scenarios where private investigators would be suggested. And so, when a well known company for designer sunglasses suspected a black market traitor in their midst, they contacted the police. But they also hired private investigators. Knowing that violent crime takes precedence, the company manager understood that police investigative time would be greatly limited. But if a private investigator professionally secured evidence for a later court date, the company had a much better chance at resolving the problem, quickly and efficiently.
When opportunists develop “knock-off” products to copy designers, the companies lose money. And when an employee provides design and production data, the money lost is significant while the bad guy benefits from the corporate espionage.
The first avenue taken was to install surveillance equipment. Video cameras were placed in the suspected employee’s work area. Then, his computer was replaced so that digital forensics could be performed by a computer forensics investigator. Data mining software in the hands of a computer forensics expert makes for valuable evidence gathering. With professionals, the evidence found during a computer forensic investigation can be admissible in a court of law.
Next, in an effort to locate the fake vendor, the private investigator spent time in area cities. Those who peddle fake designer items set up shop in places where there is a lot of foot traffic. For example, a vendor of this type might display fake Rolex watches in the trunk of his car then entice pedestrians with low prices.
When those efforts turned up nothing, the private investigator moved online. Within hours, he discovered that the vendor had boldly created a website. Pretending to be a customer, the private investigator purchased one pair of sunglasses for $25.00. If these were the real deal, the price tag would be well over $100.00. He then set a meeting time with the vendor, to purchase 500 pairs of the imitation sunglasses for $20.00 each. Although private investigators do not make arrests, they often work closely with police, which led to the arrest of the vendor.
Armed with the evidence from the surveillance cameras and the forensic computer analysis, the employee was caught red-handed. The fake glasses manufacturer and vendor was identified and arrested, too. So the case was quickly and efficiently resolved through the efforts of the investigator who knew how to use traditional and cutting edge tools to find the truth, just as the company manager had requested.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations