An avatar is an icon or figure representing a particular person in computer games, Internet forums, etc. and that is exactly how some Client’s relationships end. The computer is a gateway to be whatever you want to be, to represent yourself in a manner you could never do face to face. It’s a make believe world that many people engage upon to express in words what they cannot say.
Take for instance our Client who came to to discuss a very personal situation with her husband. They have been married for over 10 years, have two small children and both are employed with good incomes. She is the extrovert in their marriage and he is more of the introvert, never wanting to explore real events or be in attendance in crowded situations. She never thought for one moment he would be an unfaithful husband. He was always so kind and caring, even though he never really expressed his deep feelings, it was always surface words and actions, but for her, he was a man of integrity and morals. Until………………she happened upon him one night when he was on his computer late for work and he thought she was in bed. He had left the screen on and she walked by and saw a picture of a woman, scantily clad and in an awkward position with a male figure. At first she didn’t think much about it and passed it off as some kind of ad that had popped up on his screen. There were no signs of a cheating spouse and he always told her she would never have to worry about marital infidelity, as he was a one woman man.
Months later, she began to notice a pattern, he would work late on his computer three to four times a week and she would go to bed, or she would wake up in the middle of the night after they both went to bed and found his side of the bed empty. She would find excuses to pass by his office and there he was glued to the screen oblivious to the world. He was so engrossed on what was happening at that moment he didn’t even hear her or see her standing at the door. When she made a loud sound, it surprised him and he looked up, saw her, shut his screen off and stood up. He looked very embarrassed and very uncomfortable. His speech was shaky and he could give no logical explanation of what he was doing so late. She just turned around and walked away. Was he communicating with another woman, was he involved in a secret affair? They didn’t talk about it for a couple of days and he finally said, it was nothing, he was just playing online poker and didn’t want her to know about it.
That day, she came to our office with his laptop. She set it on the desk and said, “Do whatever you have to do to find out what my husband is doing on it”. I don’t care what you have to do and I don’t care the costs, the truth is far more important to me right now”.
To our amazement, the laptop was not pass word protected, but he was the administrator and there were no other users listed. She was sure he was involved in an extramarital affair and she was not going to leave one stone unturned until she could either prove it or be shown he was not. She told us he came straight home from work and never went out with friends except special occasions, didn’t really drink that much, did not smoke and did not use drugs. He didn’t have a flamboyant personality and rarely cared about fashion or the way he dressed. He was a family man who just happened to be on his computer hours and hours when he should be with her or at least in their bed during the night.
We did a forensic extraction of his laptop and what we found we knew she would not be happy. He had created a whole new life on line. He had given himself a new name, a picture that wasn’t him, he was single, never married, no kids, he was self-employed and was looking for a good time after hours.
He had saved many folders that he had previously deleted and a few current hidden folders with pictures and videos of women and messages/emails to and from them. We learned he had been paying women to make videos of them and send it to him, personalized with them talking to his “fake” imposter of a man. We also learned he had sent thousands of dollars to one in particular.
When she came back to the office and learned what he had been doing, not only was she concerned about him but was also concerned about their finances. Where had he gotten the money to send to these women and what effect could this have on their future.
Although devastated, she wanted to know everything at this point. We suggested we could conduct an asset investigation for a personal asset search to search for assets which could locate hidden assets and unknown bank accounts. From this we learned he had opened an online account, had been transferring money from his retirement account on a regular basis. He also was depositing bonuses he received from work into that account.
The last thing she asked us was to refer a name of a good attorney.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations