Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jobs for Felons

Private Investigators talk about how to make sure of who you are hiring, but what if the person looking for the job is honest and says "I have a felony record." Should that immediately disqualify him? The answer is more complicated than you might imagine. We can tell you what the felony was, and possibly get additional information about the court case that is not in the public record. Some of those conditions may still allow you to hire the applicant. After all, a person without a felony may be conducting themselves improperly and never have been caught.

Here are some jobs that are more easily available to felons:

Construction Jobs
Normally, the easiest and quickest jobs for felons to obtain are in skilled and semi-skilled labor. These include jobs within the construction industry and the trades, such as plumbing and welding. Labor and trade jobs may be acquired through friends, connections, a contractor, or through a temporary agency. Temporary agencies offer work in a variety of situations on a daily basis, including general manual labor positions. Although professional licenses can be suspended or revoked, you can work in the field as a helper and possibly work your way up to a supervisory position.

Sales are a good job field for felons to work, because the pay is often based on commission. A primary concern for employers hiring felons is risk, but since the employer is not putting up a lot of upfront money, he may be willing to take a chance on you as a salesman. It also provides the opportunity to prove yourself, which can be difficult for felons. Sales jobs can be found in the automotive, home improvement and contracting industries.

Other Options
Other opportunities for felons include traditional and non-traditional job fields. There are organizations that assist felons in re-entering the workforce, such as Goodwill Industries, the Salvation Army and other rehabilitation-centered companies. Also, potential freelance jobs may be found on the Internet, especially in writing, blogging, web development and online sales.

Source: eHow

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Qualities of the PI

Characteristics of an Effective Investigator
By Ralph Heibutzki, eHow Contributor

No two cases are alike, but investigators share five characteristics needed to function. First and foremost is an analytical mind-set to consider multiple theories of how a crime occurred, followed by strong communications skills to deal with suspects and witnesses. A flexible outlook is also essential to coping with the job's sometimes relentless personal demands. However, these qualities are meaningless without a strong sense of integrity, particularly if alternative theories lead cases in a different direction.

Analytical Mindset
An analytical mind-set and keen sense of curiosity are important skills to develop, says Kevin Trees, a Louisville, Kentucky, detective featured on A&E TV's investigative reality show, "The First 48." Chasing leads and identifying suspects requires looking at cases from many different angles, Trees stated in a posting for the website.

Avoidance of Groupthink
Good investigators resist promoting one theory above all others. Known as "groupthink mentality," this situation is most likely to happen when fatigue and stress push investigators to their limits, former Vancouver detective inspector D. Kim Rossmo stated in an October 2009 "Police Chief" magazine article. Good detectives are flexible enough to admit their original theory is wrong because they realize that failure to acknowledge mistakes increases the likelihood for additional errors, Rossmo says.

Effective Coping Strategies
Investigators must develop ways of coping with the long hours and irregular schedules that distinguish their jobs. Detectives may be called any time, so relaxing with family and friends can be problematic, according to Trees. Even if he is not working a crime scene, Trees says, a detective must still take calls from detectives handling cases in his absence, he stated. Detectives can find that emotions spill over from investigating difficult or frustrating cases, Trees says, and their families have to deal with that.

Sense of Integrity
Investigators need a strong sense of integrity. This is especially important in avoiding wrongful convictions, which often result from ignoring alternate theories, according to Rossmo. In 1994, a British court ruled that police improperly used a covert operation to implicate Colin Stagg in the stabbing death of Rachel Nickell, Rossmo says. The outcome forced prosecutors to withdraw their case and release Stagg. Failures of integrity can damage departments' and investigators' reputations, Rossmo says.

Strong Communications Skills
Good detectives are strong communicators in dealing with suspects, according to a report written by corporate investigator Christopher D. Hoffman. Direct accusation works best when substantial proof of guilt emerges, but subtler strategies are needed for multiple suspects, Hoffman says. One variation is the Reid Technique, which evaluates a suspect's knowledge of the crime and if they are answering truthfully, according to Hoffman. Investigators adapt their responses, depending on the levels of truth or deception they encounter.

Source: eHow

Friday, December 7, 2012

Who Investigates?

What are the qualities of a good private investigator?
  • curiosity
  • desire for the truth
  • detail oriented
  • research savvy (both online and off)
  • logical thinking
  • analysis of data
  • puzzle solving
These are the same qualities that make a good investigative detective. Is it any wonder that retired detectives often become private investigators?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Facebook Security

Professionally, we Private Investigators love that a great many people choose to participate in social media platforms like Facebook and to put all sorts of information up that is readily available to the public, like their photos, whereabouts, and relationships. It is very helpful information when we want to find someone, figure out if they are legitimately injured for their workman's compensation case, or figure out why they haven't been paying their bills.

Personally, we hope that you take a moment to review your settings and secure your information so that strangers cannot find out little details about you that could compromise your safety. So please, log into your Facebook account and do the following:

Secure your profile
  • In the upper right corner of the page, click the down arrow
  • Privacy Settings
  • Change "public" to "friends" or "custom"
  • You can modify your custom settings as you like
Review your "friends"
  • At the top of the page, click your name to see your Profile
  • Click the Friends photo box under your cover picture
  • Delete anyone you do not know personally
  • Delete anyone you no longer choose to keep contact with
  • Delete anyone who may pose a threat to your safety 
  • Note: Anyone you "unfriend" will NOT receive notification, and you can still phone them if you choose.
Secure your photos
  • At the top of the page, click your name to see your Profile
  • Click the Photos photo box under your cover picture
  • Delete anything that no longer needs to be there
  • If you organize your photos into Albums, you can change those security settings all in one click instead
    of individually for each photo.
Stough International is a full service protection and investigation firm offering services of the highest caliber to our clients in both the private and public sectors.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ask an Expert

What's it like to be a PI?
How much does it pay?
What kind of cases have you handled?

Lifehacker answers questions about private investigation. Check out the candid question and answer session HERE.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not a Runaway?

There may be times when a child (or even an adult) disappears and everyone, including the police, insist that he/she simply left of their own accord. Those that know the missing person best know in their hearts that running away isn't in the person's nature. What can an individual do?

Hire a private investigator! We have resources the police force may be stretched too thin to use. We can interview family, friends, classmates, and resolve the case for you, often reuniting families, or reopening a "cold case" that the police have given up on solving.

Read about a current case of missing teenagers some investigators are working on in Colorado HERE.

HERE is another case of missing teenagers in Colorado under investigation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finding your Birth Parents

More than just a longing for a sense of further identity, finding one's birth parents may be a matter of life and death. Many adopted people experience medical problems as adults and want to find their birth parents to learn more about their condition, the family history, and sometimes a familial match for organs.

If you want to find your birth parents, Stough International can help.

Friday, October 19, 2012

About Us

Mr. Stough, President and CEO of Stough International, has served in the protection and investigation field for over 12 years, specializing in customized complex investigative and security needs. Each of the highly trained investigators at Stough International takes pride in his or her career and is hand selected based on training and expertise in different fields. Mr. Stough, along with his team, has been credited and recognized nationwide for their service and skill.

Investigations through Stough International are meticulously conducted in a fashion where documentation and communication with the client is paramount, providing a thorough investigation that is tailor-made to meet your specific needs. Anonymity is key to any successful case. All investigations through Stough International are, and remain, strictly confidential.

We have assisted companies every step of the way from incident assessment and prevention all the way through litigation. We offer armed and unarmed security personnel as well as secure delivery options for staff and equipment. We also offer secure pick-up and drop-off from any airport in the world, and our teams are ready to move at a moment's notice. We also perform comprehensive background checks on people as well as businesses. If the information is out there, Stough International will find it.

Often today's busy business man or woman finds that it’s hard keeping their eyes on everything at once; that's where we come in. Specializing in custom security solutions and global tracking devices for planes, watercraft, vehicles, and anything else that could find itself lost or stolen. We offer a full line of security camera systems plus remote monitoring solutions that allow our customers to monitor their assets no matter where they are at any time.

We are confident that you will find everyone at Stough International to be prompt, professional, discreet, and capable of handling any situation that may arise. Our team of highly-trained investigators, and their expertise, add directly to the bottom line with efficiency and accuracy.

Whatever your investigative needs, whether in Florida, nationwide, or throughout the world, Stough International will provide the services you need, when you need them.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Security Consultation

Keep your business safe. We will find out the answers to these questions and improve your practices for the best protection of your company, its employees, and its trade secrets.

  • How can the alarms and camera be overridden? 
  • Where is the monitoring room, if any, and who is monitoring?
  • Where is your monitoring and surveillance equipment stored?
  • How often is your equipment maintained? What is the right schedule?
  • Who has access to the money? The information? 
  • How secure is your intranet?
  • Are there any hidden items like cameras or software that could be a breach?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Defrauding the Elderly

If you fear a parent or other elderly person you care about is being defrauded by a caretaker, stranger, attorney, or other person in their lives, contact us to investigate before it's too late!

This case was broken this week in Sacramento:
A caretaker for the elderly was arrested Wednesday for allegedly using a client’s credit and debit cards without permission.
The 69-year-old woman told police she was at home while recovering from surgery and had people taking care of her. She told detectives that one of her caretakers, Farrah Fawcett
Lavulo, was making unauthorized credit card purchases.
Some of the charges included getting meals, withdrawing cash and paying for phone calls with her boyfriend, who is in jail. Lavulo, 34, reportedly rang up $1,000 worth of charges.
In a news release, the Roseville Police Department said the woman was able to report the unauthorized charges so quickly because she closely watched her financial statements.
“However, if a loved one is incapacitated and no longer able to look out for his or her own safety and financial affairs, it's important to have a trusted friend or family member keep a close eye on their health and the condition of their home, and check financial statements regularly for unpaid bills or unusual transactions,” the release contined.
Source: Fox 40

Friday, September 21, 2012

Teen Safety

Utilize a private investigator to confirm your suspicions that your child may be using drugs so that you can keep him/her safe and intervene and get him/her help.

The first line of defense today to help children combat the war on drugs are their parents. Today's parents are in the best position to see drug use in the family as well as to stop it. It is a hard process to overcome but there have been many families who have dedicated themselves with this serious problem. Through this dedication and persistence children and their family have fought the addiction battle and won.

The first step is to become familiar with the drugs out there today. This not only includes information on the drugs, what it looks like, side effects, terminology, lingo, and of course keep updated on information about new drugs out in your children's world.

Furthermore, if you want to be successful in warning your child about the dangers of drugs and alcohol then start early. The best way to do this is to talk to them about drugs at an early age. It has suggested that parents start as early as nine or ten to help them from using drugs in the future. This early start can give your child a fighting chance against peer pressure once he or she enters the junior high school. This little edge might assist your child in making a very important decision about using drugs.

There are also certain signs that may suggest that your child is using drugs. Several types of signs are present. These include physical or biological signs, physical evidence, and behavioral changes. Even though we will talk about these changes, don't be too quick to jump to jump to any conclusions. Many children experience peer pressure and normal adolescent changes that may not be caused by drug use. BE CAREFUL! Physical signs can be red and bloodshot in eyes, poor coordination, pupils dilate, insomnia, sleepiness, sweating, watery eyes, and loss of appetite.

Physical evidence is an obvious way to tell that your child may be involved in drug activity. Finding the drugs on your child, in his or her room, in their car suggest a drug problem.

Other sure tell sign include finding paraphernalia (rolling papers, pipes, empty alcohol bottles, soda cans, little baggies, lighters, vials, aluminum foil that has been lit, wearing sun glasses or having Visine bottles around, someone can have incense burning or a deodorizer to cover up the smoky smell, and numerous others) that belongs to your child. If you notice that money or valuable have begun to disappear this could also suggest that someone may have a drug problem in your home.

Lastly there are behavioral changes that may occur. Changes range from someone being more irritable, secretive, less motivated than usual, more forgetful, somewhat depressed, anger, spends less time involved with the family functions, and being less than open about talking to you about new friends in their lives. Other things to watch for include declining school grades and even a decline with a persons participation in activities that he or she liked before.

If you notice any changes in your child's behavior from any of the categories above it is your responsibility to find out if these changes are due to drug use. A good way to do this is to keep communication open with your children. Talk to them about not only drugs, but peer pressure, their problems, friends, sex, etc. If you have any suspicions that your loved one is involved with drugs, set then limits and boundaries with them. You need to be firm that their drug use needs to stop. If necessary call a professional for assistance.

Source: Exposure Response Prevention

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Modern-Day Private Investigators

According to Reporter News, the world of private investigation has changed considerably from the glamorized version on television.

The world of private investigations has shifted to that of a man following another around town and taking pictures to that of cyber investigations, background checks and getting police records.
Gone are the days of spy versus spy, covert operations and other adventures that created the mystique of the profession.
"That's the persona and its perception. It has nothing to do with reality," Havard said. "We have had too much TV, so if they're looking for somebody in a trench coat and a fedora hat, they're not going to find it."
Although investigations have fallen into the realm of the Web, true sleuths like Havard remain grounded in their experiences in the field, using that knowledge with the luxury of today's technology to get the job done right and at a much faster pace.
Many in the industry also are former cops.
There are many things the public still don't know about the techno world. For instance, Havard said the flashlight app on most cellphones — fills a cellphone screen with bright white light — can do wonders, but it also can harm the user as far as private information is concerned.
"The main one (flashlight app) is done by somebody in Russia. So once you put 'yes' on the disclaimer, he has all your background information," Havard explained. "When it says 'do you agree or do not agree,' well everybody agrees, and why? Because not too many people wants to read the fine print. If you ever read one of those disclaimers, it goes on there and says the provider can have all the history on your phone, all your contacts with all of their phone numbers and everything."
Private investigators who have developed a knack for high-tech probes often find themselves lecturing at law enforcement classes, even at the FBI headquarters in Virginia.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Government Records

We recently told you about a private investigator who posed as a law enforcement officer in the course of his work. Here's a question we get often and a brief answer:

Do Private Investigators have access to government records?

Having a private investigator’s license does allow you access to several proprietary databases that are not available to the general public. These include data aggregators such as:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Private Investigator Ethics

There are things a Private Investigator is allowed to do that citizens are not allowed to do. However, a PI cannot hold himself out to be something he is not, such as a police officer, judge, or parole officer. In a recent case, a Sacramento private investigator was seeking information in a child custody case and used old pieces of identification from his previous job as a parole officer to obtain such information. He reportedly covered the portion of his identification that stated it was no longer valid to trick his informants. He now faces misdemeanor charges for impersonating a peace officer.

Read the full story at the Sacramento Bee

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to Hire a P.I.

Ask friends and family members if they've ever hired a private investigator. Ask only people you trust to keep your inquiry to themselves, especially if the matter is sensitive.

Search online for private investigators in your area. Search for investigators who handle the specific type of investigation you'd like done, such as missing persons searches, crime scene investigation, bounty hunting or surveillance work.

Visit the website of the private investigators you're considering, and contact them directly. Find out what credentials they have, such as education, experience and clientele. Obtain testimonials and references.

Ask the investigator detailed questions about his background, why he became a private investigator and what types of cases he handles. A good private investigator will answer these questions willingly and will most likely be happy to provide you with details about his training, background, qualifications and cases. Remember that they can only share limited information about their clients' cases.

Source: eHow

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reasons to Use a Private Investigator

  • A suspected cheating wife or husband
  • A suspected cheating partner
  • Marriage disputes or settlements
  • Custody/child maintenance issues
  • Worker's compensation queries
  • Concerns for a child, teenager or loved one
  • Locating missing persons
  • Harassment and stalking issues
  • Suspected drug activities or other illegal activities
  • Corporate or Government requirements
  • Situations where private investigation and surveillance of the nominated target will lead to the desired objective results
Source: ASAC Group

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Social Media and Investigation

Your social footprint helps investigators know your patterns of behavior, closest confidants, places and persons of interest, and gives away little details about you that you may not have noticed you were exposing. A private investigator may look at the photos you post to see how active you are, and if that is counter to what you are claiming against injuries you sustained through workman's compensation.  

Utilizing Twitter and Facebook as sources of information is known as "open source intelligence," meaning no one owns the rights to the information as protected, if the information is unsolicited and unprotected by the user.

Source: Reading Eagle

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why Use a PI as a Process Server?

After all, the Sheriff’s Department will do it for, oh, probably $20. When they get to it. But they have an impossible job with an impossible workload. And process usually needs to be served FAST. So it usually pays to hire a professional process server private investigator. Who has some backup resources if something goes wrong. Or if legal issues arise.
In short, serving process is not as simple as walking up to a guy in a suit, asking his name, handing him papers, and saying “You’ve been served.” In California, for example, there are various ways short of physical delivery to serve someone with a summons. But a subpoena has to be served personally to the person’s face, or a judge might not enforce it.
Your legal papers need to be served by someone who knows where the lines are, what the rules are, and when it’s permissible to brush by the secretary to get to the man in his own office.
Who engages professional process server private investigators and process server private detectives?
  • Law firms looking for rapid, efficient, economical process service of new lawsuits
  • Trial attorneys who need to subpoena witnesses
  • Copy services specializing in obtaining medical and business records under procedures set by the California Evidence Code, and Code of Civil Procedure
  • Plaintiffs filing their own lawsuits “in pro per” – i.e., representing themselves
  • Anybody filing a small claims case, where no attorneys are allowed.
A good process server private investigator knows how to find someone who is evading service. He or she can also decide in the field whether to shift gears to a second method, like substituted service to a responsible adult at a business location. And he or she knows when he doesn’t have to hand the papers to the subject, when he can simply get a name acknowledgment and drop the papers at the target’s feet.
Process service seems simple, but oftentimes it isn’t so simple. So when you need to get a subpoena, or a summons and complaint, or a small claims complaint served WITHOUT FAIL, you need to hire a professional process server private investigator. If you want to get process served fast, efficiently, economically, and in a manner that will satisfy the Court the law has been observed, our professional process service private investigators and professional process service private detectives are ready 24/7 to serve those papers.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Get a PI

eHow's Missy Jess tells us how to get a private investigator:

Individuals and companies hire private investigators for many reasons: for child custody cases, to catch insurance fraud, to locate a missing person, to perform a thorough employment background check or to catch a cheating spouse. Once hired, the private investigator uses various methods, such as taking video surveillance and interviewing your subject's associates, to gather information for your case. The information gathered by a private investigator can be used for your own personal curiosity or to build a court case in your favor.
  1. Find a private investigator in your area by searching online or looking through a phone book. If you have a lawyer, ask her if she has any recommendations.
  2. Ask if the investigator is licensed and insured. Most states require private investigators to hold a license in order to run their practice. In order to obtain a license, the private investigator typically must be insured, bonded and pass a background check, but the actual requirements vary by state.
  3. Inquire about the investigator's educational background and work history. Many private investigators are former or retired law enforcement officers, lawyers or insurance agents. Their expertise can help with your investigation if it aligns with your case's purpose.
  4. Discuss your case with the private investigator. During this consultation, the private investigator will tell you his fees and his initial plans on executing the investigation. This could involve conducting surveillance, searching databases and taking video. You also may be asked to share details on your subject: his work schedule, frequently visited places, information on his associates and other details.
  5. Get a contract and read it over in detail. The contract should explain the scope of all services you'll receive and how often the investigator updates you on your case's progress.
  6. Sign the contract to authorize the services to begin the investigation.

Tips & Warnings
  • A private investigator does not have the same authority as a law enforcement officer. Therefore, he cannot obtain search warrants or make arrests. Make sure your private investigator is working within your local laws.
  • Understand your investigation may not go the way you expected. If the private investigator performs surveillance on your subject and he turns up nothing, you'll still be expected to pay for his services.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pros and Cons of Using a PI

Think your spouse is cheating? The pros and cons of utilizing a private investigator, courtesy of Truth About Deception:

What are the benefits of hiring a Private Investigator?
Private investigators are licensed by the state to gather information and engage in surveillance. Private investigators understand what is permitted under state law. If the potential for legal proceedings exists (e.g., divorce, child custody, alimony, etc.), hiring a private investigator can help minimize your risk. Many people have obtained useful information about a spouse on their own, but were unable to use the information because of how it was obtained. Not only does hiring a private investigator help minimize the risk of information being thrown out during legal procedures, but in most cases PIs are allowed to testify on your behalf. And if negative information about your spouse is going to come out, it is usually beneficial to have a third party present the information - it will seem less biased and more credible.

Private Investigators are also better at collecting information because of their training, experience, and their lack of emotional involvement. Many people who try to catch a cheating spouse on their own, have a difficult time knowing what to look for or they become too upset while the process unfolds. We have heard from many people who have wasted months of their time trying to figure out if their spouse is cheating, but were unable to do so because they lack the investigative skills and tools which are needed. And people also tend to become too emotionally volatile when investigating their own spouse. People have a difficult time NOT confronting their spouse before they discover the full extent of the betrayal that occurred. Professional investigators simply have the added advantage of knowing how to investigate a spouse in a more objective manner.

What are the disadvantages of hiring a Private Investigator?
A major consideration when hiring a PI is the cost involved. Depending on where you live, hiring a PI can easily run into the thousands of dollars. And while there are always less expensive options available, given potential consequences involved, the additional expense may be worth every penny.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hiring a Private Investigator

Hiring a private investigator is probably not something you do every day. In fact, you may rarely find yourself in a situation where you need a private investigator. However, those tend to be the situations where it really counts.

Of course you want the best investigator you can get…but what does that really mean? Here are some questions you should ask before hiring a private investigator.

Are you licensed and insured?
Every state has different requirements for licensed private investigators and the scope of the work they may perform. Both the client and investigator have a responsibility to be aware of the laws in the states where the investigation is to be performed. Investigators should also be able to provide proof of liability insurance.
Can you provide references and work samples?
Most experienced private investigators will be able to provide you with references and samples of several different types of cases. It is important to understand that, due to client confidentiality, there is a good chance that work samples will have identifying information redacted or the facts of the case changed to protect the subjects’ identities. However, samples are helpful to see the quality of the reports, the thoroughness of the investigation, and the various sources utilized by the investigator.
Who will handle my case?
In many cases, the experienced professional private investigator will manage the case and delegate lesser investigative tasks – or even the entire case – to other individuals. It’s important that you know who will handle the case, and request information about their experience and background. Request examples of their prior work and obtain an understanding of how closely the primary investigator will supervise the case. If there is an international component to the case, you need to ask your investigator detailed questions about the capabilities of the investigator’s international contacts.

Do you belong to any professional organizations?
Many investigators belong to membership organizations such as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) or the National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS). These organizations offer rigorous training and certification for investigators, have codes of ethics, and other education and experience standards for membership.

Do you use “shady” or unethical methods to obtain information?
Between a fully above board investigation and illegality lies a vast grey area. Over the years, many clients have found themselves embroiled in scandal because of their investigators. It is important to set parameters for your investigator at the outset – ideally through an engagement letter that explicitly outlines your expectations and requirements before. Both you and your investigator should be aware of the laws in the jurisdiction where the investigation will occur.

Will our communications be privileged? Do I need to tell you everything?
Privilege laws for investigator-client communications also vary widely by state. Clients and investigators should be familiar with the particular laws in their state. When it is an attorney who retains the investigator, additional legal work product and communications privileges may apply. Of course, an investigator does not need to be told every detail. However, providing the investigator with adequate information before hiring a private investigator, and throughout as new developments occur, will increase the likelihood of an efficient, thorough, and successful case.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Family Protection Services

There are times when you or your family is threatened and requires extra protection. At those times, you need a body guard you can trust. Whether for a short time such as changing locations or travel, or for a longer stint of around-the-clock protection, Stough International is on the scene for you and your family.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skip Tracing

Skip Tracing is locating a persons whereabouts.

Some possible reasons to use this service include:
  • Bad debts
  • Avoiding lawsuit or judgment
  • Abusive home life
  • Mental illness
  • Runaway
  • Abduction
  • Locating long-lost relatives/friends

With skip tracing, it is important to verify and follow up the data found, then search other sources until all leads are exhausted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Murder Mysteries

An article in Writing PIs recently detailed that private investigators solve murders. Well of course we do! As they state:
It’s true that PIs, who are civilians, are less constrained by government rules — for example, PIs are not bound to the same evidentiary laws as law enforcement. It’s an assumption, however, that an experienced PI, especially one who specializes in legal investigations, would use “unknown” methods for obtaining evidence. In our investigations agency, we’ve gathered evidence using established rules and procedures to establish chain of custody (documented procedures demonstrating how we got evidence from where it was to our evidence locker). These procedures guarantee reliability and have resulted in courtroom admissibility and victory for the lawyers who employed us.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Security Consultation

Q. What is Security Consultation?
A. Security consultation is a term used when we are asked to give the "best" security practices or advice on technologies or software that will help improve security of a system. This service is linked to vulnerability testing and security auditing, however it is not seeking a security hole or vulnerability, rather it is giving advice on how to lock down a system without performing an audit or test of the system in question.

Q. Why do I need a security consultation?
A. To protect your enterprise from losses, regardless of the size of the business. These losses are estimated to cost U.S. businesses millions of dollars each year.

Q. What sorts of things are included in a security consultation?
A. No security plan or program can be effective unless it is based upon a clear understanding of the actual risks it is designed to control. Specific areas of the business operation are scrutinized including; perimeter and facility security, cash handling procedures, computer security, proprietary information, hiring practices, benefit abuse, emergency procedures, and contingency planning.

Q. What do you provide to me?
A. A comprehensive written report is provided identifying the risks and vulnerabilities of your business. This analysis results in the development of specific countermeasures and corrective recommendations to reduce or eliminate the risks.

Q. We had a security consultation some time back. Should we repeat the process?
A. This service is recommended to be performed at least once every two years.

Sources: Maley Investigations, Daniel Securities

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trial Preparation

Stough International offers trial preparation. Don't count on your attorney to handle every aspect of your case. Private investigators are frequently used in trial preparation to help you win your case!

What is Trial Preparation?
Trial preparation involves gathering and preparing the raw material for a court or hearing. Trial or hearing preparation can include evidence gathering, forensic investigation, private investigations, evidence analysis, preparing witness testimony, creation of investigation reports, medical investigations, criminal investigations, and many other assets. Effective trial preparation can be essential to winning a case, so it should never be ignored.

But won't my lawyer take care of trial preparation?
Unfortunately, many people lose important court cases because they assume that their attorney will take care of all the details before a hearing or court case. The attorney's job, however, is to prepare the material at hand. If there is not enough evidence for your case your lawyer may simply not be able to prepare a strong legal argument. By taking the process of trial preparation into your own hands through the hiring of a qualified investigative professional, you can drastically improve the chances of success in court.

How do I know if I need additional trial preparation from an investigative expert?
If your attorney is not completely sure that you will win your court case, you should hire a private investigator, who may be able to uncover evidence to help you. In fact, if there is any chance that you may not get the outcome you want in court, why take the chance? Appeals and additional trials are costly and time consuming. A private investigator can help you get the proof you need for your hearing or court date.

How can a private investigator help with trial preparation?
A private investigator can help with surveillance and background checks of suspects. An investigator can help with witness interviews, evidence gathering, and can even help find missing persons. A qualified investigator can even act as an expert witness on your behalf. In short, an investigator can help your attorney get the raw material needed to win your case.

Source: PI Now

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why do I need a Private Investigator?

Private investigation is not just stuff for the movies anymore. There are 101 reasons to use a private investigator. Our service is top notch, but in case you don't know why you might need one, here are just a handful of examples from this week's top headlines around the country:

  • Perhaps you are a city official who believes your fire department has committed some violations and need an objective third party opinion to read into the details, while maintaining the strictest confidences such as the mayor of Gardiner, Maine. Source: Kennebec Journal
  • Maybe you are a veterinarian who has lost his beloved dog like Dr. O'Banian. Source: CBS4 
  • It could be that you think someone has been eavesdropping on your private telephone conversations as in the case of homeowners as reported in the New York Times.
  • Hopefully you are not the family member or friend of a missing child who is presumed to be dead, but no body has been found, or maybe you work with the police department as in the case of Jhessye Shockley in Glendale, Arizona. Source: Arizona Central Or in the kidnapping and murder case of Holly Pirrainen of Boston, Massachusets. Source: Fox Boston 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Private Investigator vs. Private Detective?

Is there a difference between a Private Investigator and a Private Detective?

That depends on the state private investigator licensing laws for your state. In many states, the words ‘private investigator’ and ‘private detective’ are interchangeable, but in some states there actually is a difference in their accepted meaning. For example, in New Jersey those who want to become a private investigator must adhere to the licensing laws as detailed in the Private Detective Act of 1939. The person who has the prerequisite investigative experience is called the ‘qualifier’ and when the New Jersey State Police Private Detective Unit issues the license, the qualifier is actually classified as a Licensed Private Detective. The owner of a licensed detective agency may hire employees, who when properly registered with the state licensing authority, the investigative employees are classified as a Private Investigator.

Historically, the profession of non-law enforcement investigations started back with Pinkerton in the late 1800’s. At that time the term “private detective” was the formal name and the outfit they worked for was called a “detective agency.” There were many movies and books that began using the “private-eye” moniker more and more. It was television starting in the 1974 with James Garner in the Rockford Files that really brought the investigative profession into the limelight. The show also had a major influence on most people using the private investigator title. The P.I. title became famous with the Magnum, P.I. television show featuring Tom Selleck.
Starting around 1960, many states did not want the public to confuse a private detective with that of a police detective. There has been a trend amongst many state licensing authorities and state investigative associations to use the title ‘private investigator’ as compared to ‘private detective’. In fact, many have actually taken legal steps to stop using the “detective” title.

Source: PI Magazine