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Evidence Preservation is Vital

CATCHING A CHEATING SPOUSE: Does it really matter to the court?

BY: J ALEXANDER CHILTON, LPI, CAP

In 1999 when I started my career as a private investigator a large majority of the surveillance work I did was related to marital infidelity cases. This went on until about 2007. Some of these cases would go on forever it seemed. The more evidence of infidelity I gathered the more the client would want; and as result it became a vicious cycle. In some of those case I had to tell the client no, I would not do anymore surveillance.

After having several of these lengthy cases end up in court I started to notice a pattern in the rulings from the bench. No matter how much evidence I gathered and presented the ruling was pretty much the same, an equitable division of the marital assets would occur in accordance with prevailing law. In most all of these cases there was no punitive action taken against the adulterer by the court. That is to say, there was rarely an adjudication in which alimony or special spousal support was given. In the instances in which punitive actions were ordered it was generally because one spouse or the other was a stay at home parent/ home maker and had been in that family role for years.

With that all said, why hire a private investigator in an adultery case? The simple answer is peace of mind. Either confirm of squash the suspicions that you have so you can make informed good decisions about your future with this person. The more strategic answer also revolves around informed good decisions. More specifically, it deals with strategic leverage. Many times in divorce cases involving marital infidelity one spouse or the other is making threats to take away the kids, withhold financial support, or is belligerently denying the affair and threatens to fight the divorce to the bitter end. When any of these or other scenarios occur and you have evidence of the infidelity, it puts you in a better position for pre-trial settlement negotiations or mediation.

In other words, you’re not depending on the judge to determine who will get what. Well, how is this possible you might ask, since most if not all judges follow the prevailing law? In many instances, the Judge has great latitude to approve most settlement agreements between the parties as he sees fit as long as both parties sign off as agreeable. Very simply, having a licensed professional investigator gives you the ability to “air the dirty laundry,” so to speak, on the record for all to hear and see. You have the power to subpoena and depose the spouse’s paramour, friends, family, coworkers, financial records etc. Regardless of who they are, not many people, with the exception of the narcissistic few, want their family’s dirty laundry aired in a very public way.

So again, when you suspect your spouse may be cheating, remember to hire to a licensed professional investigator that understands, the fight is not fought in the court room but instead the conference room. Good Luck!

Investigate early to protect your small business…

BACKGROUND CHECKS vs BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS: The importance of Due Diligence

BY: J ALEXANDER CHILTON, LPI, CAP

I have been trying to educate people for the past 17 years about the differences between a background check and a background investigation. Many times I have been accused of parsing words. To the contrary, it is those accusers who are parsing their words. Very simply background checks only verify information provided by a person that is contained within the four corners of an application, resume or other document. A background investigation typically not only verifies the same information but should go steps father to develop and vet new information to provide a pattern of life.

Most background checks only search records in the county in which the subject currently lives. Many times this will not include an arrest history, non-adjudicated matters, and contacts with police or civil filings. Presentation of the listed records are typically not allowed within the parameter of most background checks. However, in most instances this information will not only be discovered but disclosed as part of a background investigation. Because remember, background investigations should not stop at the first source of information but should continue on to secondary and even tertiary sources as well.

Home repair and construction contractors can change names like you change underwear. When checking for reputation, most home repair websites that declare that they “Background Check” their contractors but in many instances they don’t check against the contractor’s real name; they only check against the company name. More fraudulent home repair contractors will operate under multiple business names at one time. Now, I have to ask, what exactly are the home repair websites checking against…court records…criminal records…business license records? What about code enforcement, permits and inspection records? Many time you can’t check these records through a web based search because there is no central repository…so again, what are they checking against? What about a criminal records search on the contractor’s employees or subcontractors for that matter? Who is really coming into your home or place of business? What are their real credentials?

The same can be said for home health and nursing home care. MOST of these places will do background checks that consist of an application/ resume process, some type of criminal history check and some type of reference check, but in reality there is no character assessment. Patient abuse in nursing homes and in home health care settings is rampant throughout the country. Most places that require you to “pass a criminal background check” 9 times out of 10 will send the applicant to the local police station. The applicant will show their ID to an over worked records clerk, who has no real training in detecting fake IDs. The background check will be done based solely on the information contained on the ID. There is typically no finger print verification done which extrapolates to no Identity verification and no REAL national criminal records search. Typically this type of criminal records search only leads to a local criminal history and at best a state wide arrest and conviction history but in most instance it is the latter of the two.

Many times employers will pull consumer credit reports as a way of determining character and morals of an applicant. Let me say this, I personally know people who have extremely high credit scores and live in high end neighborhoods and own half million to million dollar homes but I wouldn’t let them watch my dog.

So again, I go back to the processes of a background investigation versus a background check. Typically with a background check you only get an opportunity to verify against information provided by the applicant. In a background investigation you not only verify against known or provide information but you also go steps farther by developing and vetting new information for a global view of the subject with a goal of developing a pattern of life as opposed to fluff that is contained in the application or resume.

A good background investigation process should be considered an integral part of operational due diligence for any size business with the purpose of protecting your business from damaging internal losses to negligent hiring and retention litigation. For the consumer, it’s added peace of mind knowing you have done all you can to protect yourself from being fraudulently separated from your money or allowing a vulnerable family member to be taken advantage, or in worst case scenario physically assaulted by a less than scrupulous person.

Where background investigation by design are more encompassing and thorough, a background investigation is still not a catch all. Nothing is perfect, but the processes of a background investigation should give you a global look into someone’s background so you can make BETTER informed decisions in the instant and future.

Regulatory Investigation…

Why hire us? Perspective.