In the investigative business, one day is never like the next. At , we happen to like the fact that we might work with a few insurance companies, to find the truth about suspected insurance fraud and then go directly to a case involving suspected employee embezzlement. From there, it’s not a bit unusual for us to then help an attorney locate a missing heir or find unknown heirs.
We also frequently work with both sides of a court case. Sometimes it’s the prosecutor’s office. But on other occasions, we get a call from a defense attorney.
Not long ago, a defense attorney contacted about a high-profile case. In many ways, the media had already got the ball rolling in regard to publicly trying and condemning the defense attorney’s client. To make matters worse, the plaintiff’s key witness for the quickly approaching trial date had disappeared, supposedly for his own safety, and supposedly until the court date.
Good attorneys never ask questions that they don’t know the answers they will get. So the defense attorney called on our firm to dig into the key witness’s life. He wanted us to find every single bit of information about the guy. Hopefully find enough information for the defense attorney to take an educated guess about the man’s behavior and how he would likely react to particular questions on the witness stand. He wanted to be prepared.
Very much like any other due diligence investigation or even a missing person investigation, these sorts of investigations can grow, depending on the threads that are unraveled. And in this case, there was a parka coming apart! A background check starts with the basics about the person, including a criminal records check. That was when things started speeding up and dropping into place.
Just the fact that he had been arrested several times before in other states, was known under several different aliases and had a sketchy employment history chipped away at his credibility.
More recently in this state, he had actually been arrested with the plaintiff two other times. Then there were the businesses. Not really all businesses, some were business dealings. But there were several financial arrangements, including joint ownership of some real estate and transactions between the two. Now that might not be unusual since his status as a witness was because he was with the plaintiff at the time of the incident – supposedly.
As we dug deeper, including some social media engineering, we uncovered that he actually was in another state at the time of the incident, so his having an eye witness account to share was probably unlikely. Confirming his was out of state as a witness made his statement even less plausible.
The disappearance of the witness made it difficult for the defense attorney, but not impossible because he had on his side.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations