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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Divorce and Child Custody Investigations - Private Investigators focused on the safety of children

How can a private investigator help keep my child safe during divorce or child custody dispute?

All too common in today’s headlines are stories involving children who have been abused. While we worry about our children’s safety around strangers, we sometimes fail to take the proper precautions to keep children safe in their own environments. Private investigators specializing in child custody investigations work directly with an attorney to generate a formative case for impeachment. Child custody investigators are trained to investigate and detect child abuse, neglect, substance and alcohol abuse, and other behaviors that may endanger a child. The information gathered by a qualified child custody private investigator about a custodial or non-custodial parent during a legal custody investigation, can uncover behavior that places a child at risk of harm, while also documenting the incidents of concern. This is a critical step in ensuring the information gathered during the child custody investigation can be presented in court if necessary. During cases of separation and divorce, no cutting corners when considering the safety of a child, and a qualified private investigator can literally save a child’s life.
Courtesy of  Throughmyeyes

Why is it important to utilize a private investigator specializing in child custody investigations?
Any separation or divorce is an emotional time during one’s life. At times, the situation can become volatile. While a parent’s first priority should be the child’s safety and emotional stability, it is not uncommon for parents to make false allegations to restrict the other parent’s access to the child. Unfortunately, children commonly become the pawns during a divorce and child custody case. Utilizing a private investigator specializing in custodial investigations can reduce incidents of false accusations, substantiate legitimate allegations, and ensure the child’s well-being is first priority.
Ideally, a qualified and licensed private investigator is hired to conduct the child custody investigation and work directly with an attorney during the pre-filing phase. The private investigator and the attorney handling the casework together to ensure all concerns are addressed prior to filing the case in court. This also ensures as much information as possible is presented to the court during the initial phase of the child custody case.

What happens during a child custody investigation?

A child custody investigator can document critical information during exchanges and visitations to chronicle how the child is treated while in the care of the other parent. Gathering evidence supporting mistreatment or neglect of a child during a legal custody investigation can entail interviewing the other parent, questioning witnesses, and conducting background checks on all parties involved in the child’s care. In addition, an experienced private investigator will conduct an on-site assessment of the child’s home can determine if the child is being cared for in a suitable environment by evaluating the cleanliness of the home and those who reside in, or frequently visit the home.

Also very common is utilizing video surveillance to document the parent’s behavior while the child is in their care, documenting those the parent associates with and who the parent may be exposing the child to, if the parent is participating in an illegal of reckless behavior, and any incidents of abuse such as keeping record of any bruises or injuries. Hiring a licensed child custody investigator ensures the investigation is conducted legally and the quality of evidence gathered can be used in a court of law. If required, the investigator will also provide expert court testimony.

Should I hire a child custody private investigator and what should I be doing?

  • In court, judges commonly hear accusations from both sides. At times it becomes very difficult to determine who may be telling the truth and if concerns are warranted. Evidence presented in court by a licensed private investigator provides documented proof of allegations the court must take into consideration when making a ruling in a child custody case. It is especially important to present an accurate representation of a person’s character during any court case and even more important when children’s lives are impacted.

  • If you suspect the other parent may be abusing your child emotionally or physically while in their care, it is important to substantiate those concerns. While hiring an investigator can guide and assist you, keeping a journal of any negative events, comments your child makes that are of concern, comments or threats the other parent makes to you, are helpful. Especially important, document any injuries the child has sustained in the care of the other parent by keeping written record and photographs of the injuries. Also, record any medical treatment received by a medical professional.

  • If you suspect the other parent may be drinking excessively or involved in substance abuse while caring for the child, a private investigator can document the other parent’s actions by observing their daily activities, document those who come and go at the residence, and detect drug and alcohol abuse. 

  • If you suspect the other parent is neglectful, participating in any kind of criminal behavior, or associating with individuals who may have a criminal background, it is best to have a private investigator perform a comprehensive background check on the other parent, anyone that resides with the parent or has interaction with your child. It is important to keep in mind, most incidents of child abuse and child death, occur within the home of a child and injuries inflicted by those trusted to care for the child. 

  • If you are not certain who the other parent is associating with, a private investigator can conduct surveillance to document who is coming and going at the home, even documenting license plates to determine the identity of individuals permitted to be in close proximity or care for your child. 

  • If you are concerned about how a child custody investigation may affect your child, it is important to know professional private investigators are highly trained in child custody investigations to utilize investigative methods that minimize exposure of the child to the investigation. In fact, most investigations can be conducted without the child ever knowing, as the investigator is there to protect the child and serve in their best interest.

When children’s safety is in question, it is always best to be safe than sorry. If no questionable behavior is uncovered, everyone can feel secure knowing the child is in safe hands with two loving and responsible parents.

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is an expert in the field of missing persons and continues to advocate for crime victims utilizing 20 years’ experience working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Effective business intelligence protects company bottom-line

Whether your company is entering a merger, considering an investment, or assessing a competitor’s advantage, due diligence is a necessary factor to ensure a successful outcome.  Business leaders know the importance of growth but every opportunity presented holds the potential for success or failure.
Business intelligence consists of collecting and organizing large amounts of data that enable businesses to identify opportunities and develop strategies that promote long-term success. Hans Peter Luhn, a researcher for IBM, said in a 1958 IBM Journal article, “Business intelligence is the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action toward a desired goal.”

Making better decisions based on business intelligence
Successful business leaders know the importance of information gathering and review before making any business decision. They draw information and knowledge from various professional disciplines including business consulting, law firms, journalists, and of course investigators.

For instance, when considering a merger with another company it is crucial to know as much about the company’s history, business management, ethics, financial solvency, possible undisclosed liabilities, leadership of the company, and their affiliations. All business transactions have potential risks and it important to assess these risks prior to entering any business transaction. The public information gathered can be quite revealing and prevent a decision that could devastate years of hard work, reputation, and even avoid litigation in the aftermath.

Another circumstance that could arise is that your company may want to know the demographics of your competitor’s clients. The information gathered would contain the number of products offered by the company, how many were products were purchased, how many were sold to men or women, the age brackets of those who purchased the products, the average income level, zip code, and level of education. Utilizing a combination of commercial due diligence and intensive analytical due diligence can forecast sales growth; identify a competitor’s operational metrics, procurement, customer management, and even fraud.

Benefits of internal business intelligence
While business intelligence can identify external opportunities and risks, internal business intelligence can be equally important. For instance, in the Human Resources Department of a company, the data collected on employee’s absences can be a predictive trend and therefore a strategy developed to combat income loss and retain employees. The same company may want to gauge how their latest marketing campaign is increasing sales in order to produce a trend analysis report and present the information in east to understand graphs and charts in PowerPoint at the next Board Meeting. The advantage of data analysis is endless when assessing performance measures of a business.

The risks of economic espionage
Corporations of all sizes face risks both internally and externally. Protecting trade and investment secrets has become increasingly difficult for large corporations entering the age of cyberspace. International corporations face increased loss and risk that ultimately affects the American economy.

In June 2000, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported Larry Ellison, Chief Executive of Oracle admitted to hiring a private detective agency to investigate groups that supported Microsoft. Oracle was trying to uncover ties to research groups that had been releasing studies supportive of Microsoft during an antitrust trial.

Claiming it was his “civic duty” to investigate Microsoft’s affiliations, it was uncovered, the investigative group hired by Oracle attempted to buy trash from two housekeepers at the Association for Competitive Technology.

In a June 28, 2012, statement before the House Committee on Homeland Security and Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counter Intelligence Division, estimated more than $13 billion losses to the American economy due to economic espionage.

Whether an insider employee is selling trade secrets, a competitor is attempting to infiltrate, or a company is the target of cyber-attacks, more and more companies, governments, and nonprofits face significant risks. Business intelligence when conducted legally and ethically can protect more than the bottom-line.

Private Investigators specialize in business intelligence
Professional investigative teams have private investigators that can verify information, collect information about financial transactions, assets, investments, liabilities, and identify existing contracts, business practices, and even political associations. The information is then provided to the client providing a solid base for decision-making.

Business intelligence involves research, measurement, querying, analytics, data mining, performance management, reporting, identifying benchmarks, information sharing, and regulatory compliance. To implement effective business intelligence strategy, it is important to have skilled investigators to help your company obtain the needed information while conducting a legal, ethical, and discreet investigation.

According to Thomas Lauth, owner and lead private investigator at Lauth Investigations International, business intelligence has become a necessary component of business management worldwide. “From a negative media campaign to competing for a contract, knowing who your opposition is and their political and media affiliations, marketing and internet campaigns, and even motives will give you the competitive edge” says Lauth. “The old saying, it is better to be safe than sorry, rings true."

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. Kym is now a freelance writer and serves as an expert in the field of missing persons and victim advocacy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Michelle Knight, removed by police from FBI database only 5 months after disappearance - Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper

What I uncovered sent shivers up my spine but worse, it is representative of a much larger national problem - the deficiencies that exist between  the way missing child and adult cases are handled. After verifying the information I had received, I was  forced to make a decision to do what I thought was right and notified the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Michelle Knight prior to her 2002 disappearance
I was acting on a hunch and had no idea I would uncover a huge misstep in the investigation of the three Cleveland women. Michelle Knight, the oldest of the three Cleveland missing women who were all found safe last Monday, had been removed from the FBI National Crime Information Center database (NCIC) nearly 15 months after she vanished!

An error was made that could have gravely affected Knight's case early on. Rather than point fingers at the law enforcement agency that is understaffed, under-trained, and underfunded, I say this error falls upon each member of Congress and their failure to appropriate enough funding for law enforcement agencies throughout the country to carry out the functions of investigating missing person cases properly. Law enforcement throughout this country desperately needs quality training so mistakes are kept to a minimum, and most importantly a legislative mandate requiring a unified response to missing adults cases with every single case entered into the FBI NCIC as required for children. 

Congress funds efforts to find missing children in excess of $30 million annually! Not to mention organizations like NAMUS, Project Jason, Black & Missing, and the Cue Center to name a few, who desperately need funding so they may assist to meet the ever-increasing need for advocacy assistance. If you see a system for children works, model it, fund it, and  implement it for adults.

Congress,this is one mistake that can only be undone by each and every one of you putting yourself into the shoes of Michelle Knight's mother who searched for her daughter and distributed fliers ALONE - along with every missing person Michelle Knight represents. 

One more thing to those up on the Hill, after 15 years of listening to me plead and warn we are fighting a losing battle without your congressional support - PLEASE, DO THE RIGHT THING! 

Here is the Plains Dealer Newspaper article that explains what we discovered today. 

Michelle Knight, held captive since 2002, removed by police from FBI database 15 months after disappearance

A special thank you to Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Leila Atassi who took my call today and ran with it! Doing the right thing should be as easy for everyone as it was for her!

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. Kym is now a freelance writer and serves as an expert in the field of missing persons and victim advocacy.

Robert K. Ressler - A Legend to those who fight monsters

Robert K. Ressler

Robert K. Ressler (02/15/37 - 05/05/13)

A former FBI Agent and Criminologist, Ressler is considered the granddad of "criminal profiling" at the Behavioral Sciences Unit at the Bureau and developed many of the programs that led to the creation of the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime. His contributions to this field have been numerous and immeasurable. 

~A hero, a mentor, and a Man who fought Monsters. ~ I devoured his books when I was younger and grew up to fight monsters too. My inspiration. Robert will be missed.

For additional information

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the Nation’s Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym has spent 20 years working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media. Kym is now a freelance writer and serves as an expert in the field of missing persons and victim advocacy.