Investigation Teaches a Business Lesson to an Unsuspecting TeenParenting is a tough job, especially when you want to protect your child and she is a very headstrong teen who thinks she understands everything about the way the world works. At least that was the comment from a worried parent who called .

Katy* got her first job at the local ice cream shop and she was so excited. She had visions of money and freedom and a chance to get her own car. Her mom, Sandra* was equally as happy. She felt this was a good step for her 16-year-old daughter to learn the value of working for your money and the responsibility of a job.

However, shortly after she started, Sandra was getting “weird” feelings about the job. When she talked with Katy and expressed her concerns, Katy was adamant about how the “weirdness” was really just her being rewarded for her performance by being given additional responsibility and raises.

Sandra explained that Katy had been “promoted” to store assistant and had been asked to pick up and deliver cash “deposits” and ice cream products. The “ice cream” would be packaged into Styrofoam coolers and taped shut. Katy was told it was a new delivery service for certain VIP customers and it was because of her and her work ethic that this new business opportunity was being explored. Katy was thrilled. She felt important and honored. Her mom was worried because nothing about it sounded or felt right.

Sandra started pressuring Katy to quit and get out of the situation and Katy felt Sandra was ruining her big opportunity and accused her of not being “with the times and the way business worked today.”

Without imprisoning Katy in her bedroom at home, Sandra wasn’t sure what she could do, other than hire an investigator to verify that it was either a legitimate business or that there was something fishy.

The investigators set up covert surveillance to get the routine and patterns of delivery and pick-ups established. Immediately it became apparent that the VIP customers were located in areas that were known for drug trafficking.

Using surveillance equipment, investigators were able to identify the process and people involved. Background checks, including a criminal background search quickly revealed that the players were most likely not young entrepreneurs of ice cream products, but street drugs. The ice cream shop was indeed a legitimate business, but there was a lot of money and drugs going through it.

Sandra’s suspicions were founded, but she wasn’t happy about it. First, Katy was involved in a dangerous situation and secondly, Katy’s innocent optimistic bubble would be burst forever.

Sandra brought Katy into the office and the scenario and proof was revealed to her. Sandra explained that when an employee applies for a job, the employer often will do an employment background check and, depending on the position, an overall background check. Because this was Katy’s first job and because it was just as a clerk in an ice cream shop, she probably was not subjected to that kind of scrutiny. However, when an applicant wants to get a job in a company, they also conduct their own due diligence to find out if they are a good fit for the company. Again, because this was a first job, Sandra didn’t think she needed to teach Katy about that kind of due diligence process.

Sandra went on to explain that by conducting due diligence the business and the employee are each protecting themselves. This sort of scenario explains why such background investigation can be important. No one truly knows who they are dealing with when they go to apply for a job with a company of strangers.

Katy agreed she had been taken advantage of and said she would quit the next day. Although Sandra was happy about that, she was afraid the employers would get suspicious with the sudden change of heart. So she told Katy to just “call in sick” for the next few days while the evidence was taken to the police.

Background investigations are becoming increasingly common in a wide variety of personal situations including vetting boyfriends or girlfriends, business partners, employees and online dating candidates. With the number of scams and con artists, not to mention criminals taking advantage of people, no one can be too careful.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations