Expert Article Library

F.A.C.T.S. (and nothing but the facts)

Fraud, financial checks, forensics;
Accident reconstruction, arson, auto accidents;
Criminal, corporate audits;
Trial preparation;
Statement taking, surveillance.

There are several areas where an investigation firm can assist industries. Before you pick up the telephone and place a call to a Private Investigator there are some issues which need to be addressed.

What is a Private Investigator? We have all seen Magnum P.I., Remington Steele and as of late a lifeguard / PI. The reality is most cases, unlike their TV counterparts, are not as glamorous and are not settled in an hour with commercials. Private Investigators are "persons who investigate and furnish information for hire or reward." Basically they are people who research, observe and report information.

Does a Private Investigator have to be licensed? Yes and No...Sound confusing? If an Investigator only works for one client, they do not need to be licensed however if an Investigator is working for several clients they are required by law to be licensed.

So do you peek through bedroom windows? This has to be, superseding "Do you follow cheating husbands?", the number one question I always get asked. The answer is, no! This area of investigation is a catch 22 of Investigators. The information, whether contrary to what a person wants to hear or confirming what a person already thought, is explosive at best. Either way the person is not going to be thrilled with the results. There are firms however which do this type of investigation.

Do you carry a gun and drive a Ferrari? Considering the main premise of investigation is to be discreet I personally find a Ferrari not suitable for this field of work. As for the aspect of armed Investigators, yes. There are certain situations in which Investigators carry weapons.

How do I know if I need an Investigator? The easiest way to determine if an investigation is warranted is to first know what your primary objective is. Sounds simple... but when adding elements of emotion this is not always the easiest of tasks. You have to ask yourself what is the situation and what is my primary focus. For example:

Insurance Companies:

You have received a death claim where a husband while felling a tree dropped it on his wife.

Question? Is he just really careless or is there a motivating factor?
Answer Conduct inquiries.

I have been informed a claimant is immobile yet I receive an anonymous call he is out on the 16th hole at the golf course.

Question? What are his present activities and range of motion?
Answer Obtain surveillance.

Legal Community

I have a statement of claim in which our client "parked her vehicle on a little old lady." I know three cars were involved.

Question? How do I determine the positions of the cars?
Answer Reconstruct the accident and obtain statements.

While on vacation in Peru a patron of a hotel tried to re-enact Batman's famous dive and did not make it.

Question? I do not speak Spanish and need all reports. How do I do this?
Answer Obtain all incident reports through the Consulate and obtain taped statements over the telephone, which will then be transcribed.

Business Community:

When I arrive at work my computer crashes and I do not know what has happened.

Question? How will I find out if someone is using my computer?
Answer Have diagnostic testing done.

Our inventory is way out and I think someone is stealing from the company.

Question? How to I determine this?
Answer If you feel someone is responsible a background check would be in order. If you do not know who then some consideration should be given to an internal surveillance.

The above examples, as humorous as some have been, are real cases in which I have been able to help clients in each particular field.

How does one trust the information which has been provided? BAD FAITH...the words which make us all shudder. The important issue to remember is Private Investigators are not above the law. When you see Magnum entering a residence using his credit card...Trespass to Property, Break and Enter. If you see a video tape where a subject looks like he is speaking to someone yet there is no one else visible...Entrapment. As in any industry, private investigation does have forms which base the rules on percentages. FACT: 80%.............of files settle through some form of payment. 10%.............of files settle before mediation. 8%.............of files settle before preliminary hearings. AND 2%.............go to court. I personally do not see the joy in spinning the barrel of a gun and playing Russian Roulette...how about you?

Choosing an Investigator? When you choose an Investigator remember this rule of thumb. Jack of all trades equals master of none. The easiest way is to ask us at F.A.C.T.S. We have the availability to assist in determining the nature of the investigation, help determine what the cost should be and which type of firm is best suited to your needs. Well according to my calculations you should be at the end of your coffee....BUT before you go....I think since I have done all the talking thus far it is your turn. I would appreciate your letting me know what you think, good, bad or indifferent. In addition.... since my vocation lends to research and development I would also like to hear about any cases which may be stumping you or interesting cases you have seen through the years. Please Email Kim Bumelis of The Bumelis Group Limited bbltd@networx.on.ca or fax us at 1-905-546-0025. Have any interesting topics, questions or case studies for future articles? Tell us. I hope you enjoy The F.A.C.T.S.