Here at International Investigators we use a lot of high tech equipment and software. But along with that comes years of investigative experience. And we employ both good old fashioned detective work with the digital tools in just about every case we handle.
One case involved a son and his father and the company the father had built from scratch. Both had offices in the same building, just a floor apart. In fact, the son’s office was directly below his father’s office. Dad, who we’ll call Sam was getting on in years and wanted to retire – at least part-time. But he wasn’t sure his son, we’ll call Jim, was ready to take over the helm. Jim believed he was able and the next in line.
Sam was having confidential discussions with some of the executive board and senior staff voicing his concerns about Jim’s readiness. Shortly thereafter, Jim confronted Sam about his opinion. Sam was stunned because he never believed any of the senior staff would breech a confidence of this nature.
He spoke with each person and each vehemently denied leaking any information. That’s when Sam called us to conduct a bug sweep of his office. It’s officially known as Technical Surveillance Countermeasures or TSCM.
We came in after hours and used the highly sophisticated equipment and software to ascertain if there were any spy listening devices, electronic surveillance or other eavesdropping devices. Since they are often tiny and hidden in inconspicuous places, they are not noticed day-to-day. But we uncovered no electronic surveillance equipment and were long gone before employees arrived the next day.
In a meeting with Sam, we decided to continue the investigation from a different angle. Sam was to schedule a confidential meeting with the senior staff and we would conduct covert surveillance of Jim at the same time. Using a specific spot in the parking lot, we were able to see directly into Jim’s office through a big picture window. At the time of the meeting, Jim was in his office, standing on a chair with a microphone pointed at the air vent in the ceiling.
We didn’t need a listening device or bug detector to understand what was happening. Our experience told us that Jim was probably using a sound amplification device to hear the conversations in his father’s office.
Our suspicions were proven correct in the next two days as we shared the surveillance video with Sam and he subsequently shared the amplification equipment used by Jim. Sam had hoped that his suspicions about whether or not Jim was an able successor would be proven wrong. He never dreamed he’d proven correct in such a dramatic way.
-T. Wilcox, CEO, International Investigators