From the files:
You Can’t Be Too Careful on Tinder
With the advent of Internet dating on sites like match.com or on mobile phone apps like Tinder, strangers are meeting on dates that are truly blind. Rather than being fixed up with friends of friends of friends, who at least come with some recommendation, today you can very easily find yourself dating someone you know nothing about. They may tell you things about themselves, but you have no way (besides your gut instinct, which can be blinded by a number of dating factors) of knowing whether or not what you’re being told is true.
A client called our 24-hour number late at night, greatly agitated over the woman he was dating. They had met via Tinder, and he become serious about her very quickly. He was, however, unable to stop worrying about what she had admitted was a promiscuous past – even though she had promised him repeatedly that she was interested in a committed monogamous relationship.
The first thing we suggested was a background check, to make sure that the rest of what she had been telling him was the truth. There were a few minor lies, but most everything checked out. We then staked out her home on the nights she wasn’t with him. Sure enough, she was entertaining men every single night she was “alone”, all of them staying until the early hours of the next morning. It also wasn’t just one man: we staked her house out for three nights, and came up with three different companions for the evening.
When our client had his information, he broke off the relationship entirely. His was one of many cases that proves how it is always better to know and that the old adage of “you can’t be too careful these days” is true now more than ever.
Mother Knew Best
In an interesting twist on a kind of case we get very often, the mother of a recently engaged woman contacted us, and asked us to run a background check on her prospective son-in-law. Although the daughter was quite enamored of the man, the mother had always had a gut instinct that the man was not to be trusted. She asked us to run the most thorough background check we could.
Our investigation discovered that the fiancé, who had claimed never to have been married had three ex-wives. The divorce from the last wife wasn’t even final. There were several children involved as well, not all of them as a result of the marriages, and he had a history of being delinquent on child support payments. We also came up with a criminal conviction for embezzlement for which he had spent 6 months in jail.
There are times when mother does indeed know best. The daughter told us that her mother had simply handed her the report, without an “I told you so”. After reading it, she broke off all contact with her fiancé and dropped the ring in mail. She was lucky to have had a mother who cared enough to hire a private investigator to protect her daughter’s interests.
International service of process is an area that many process servers avoid. At John A. DeMarr PI it’s one of our specialties. We frequently have law firms come to us after their regular servers of process refuse the international assignment.
We had a lawyer come to us with a very important subpoena needing to be served in Canada. The entire case depended upon that one witness, so our client was especially anxious that the subpoena be served properly. That we did, and we also made sure to keep her up-to-date about every step of the process. The Canadian process server even obtained a photograph of the witness with the subpoena, which we texted to our client in under a minute. She had her witness, and we saw to it that she got him with a minimum of anxiety.
Very much like international service of process is service of process on an Indian reservation. (See John’s blog for detailed information.) Service on an Indian reservation is practically the same as service in a foreign country, with the tribal courts having to act as intermediaries in the procedure.
An Arizona attorney was handling an accident case in which the driver of the car that caused the accident resided on an Indian reservation. The attorney was very surprised when he found out just how complicated service of process on an Indian reservation is. He was equally as surprised that he couldn’t find an Arizona process server to handle the matter. Then he found us.
Even though we’re in California and the case was in Arizona, we had the defendant served within the week. We also have a very satisfied out-of-state client, who now uses us for all his service of process needs.
The Doctor Behind the Fraud
We’re often called upon to do surveillance in cases of possible insurance – and especially workers’ comp – fraud.
A recent case involved the owner of a small business and an accident that happened to a long-time and trusted employee. The accident was real, but the employer found it hard to believe that the employee had sustained the extensive injuries he was claiming. (The medical bills alone ran into six figures.)
Many people who make fraudulent workers’ comp claims aren’t nearly as careful as they should be. Sure enough, it took only one afternoon’s surveillance to obtain video of the allegedly bed-ridden employee working in the garden and carrying 40-pound sacks of gravel.
When we showed the video to the client, he had trouble believing that so trusted an employee could be committing fraud to such an extent. We were asked to look into the matter further, and discovered that the real culprit was the doctor the employee had consulted. When we were subsequently brought in by the insurance company to do on-site copying of the doctor’s subpoenaed records, we turned up case after case after case of suspicious workers’ comp activity.
Bottom line, the claim against the employer was reduced to the actual (and comparatively small) medical costs in the case, the employee was forced to make restitution to the insurance company, and the doctor was called up before the Medical Board of California.