When gaps appear in corporate accountability, can private investigators step up to conduct an independent corporate investigation?
The White House reported last week that it will be taking steps towards minimizing investigations into corporate misconduct and reducing a government agency’s ability to open more than one probe into a single company concurrently. While independent agencies such as the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, or the Federal Communications Commission, those agencies might still be susceptible to enforcement by an executive order from the president.
A spokesperson for the White House budget office, an umbrella for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has declared on behalf of the proposed action that “These principles protect both individuals and small businesses while at the same time enforcing the law against wrongdoers. Providing a fair process of all Americans is what’s at the heart of this executive order.”
While it’s true that a corporate investigation can consequently devastate a small company, the entities that will receive the most protection under this proposed action would be larger businesses and Fortune 500 companies. Corporations of all sizes can always benefit from an independent corporate investigation conducted by an objective third-party. In pursuit of truth, independent or private investigators can illuminate the unseen machinations of any corporate investigation. Regardless of the intention of the proposed action, one of the ultimate consequences is that there will be less corporate oversight throughout the United States, allowing pervasive issues to continue harming the corporation or organization from within. As employees, upper management, and consumers alike demand investigation and/or accountability for the wrongdoings in any given corporation or organization, there will be an intelligence vacuum, in which private investigators can use their skillsets to bring context to complex corporate investigations.
This proposed action may potentially protect businesses from malicious litigation or malicious whistleblowing, but it also erodes the voices of employees and consumers with legitimate concerns who cannot be heard otherwise. One of the greatest benefits of government oversight into any matter is that the government has the most resources and financial support available to properly regulate and enforce policy. Restricting the government’s ability to investigate internal issues that are impacting the workforce or the public means that pervasive issues will easily slip through the cracks and continue to inflict varying degrees of harm. The only recourse an employee or consumer might have at that point is an independent corporate investigation.
An independent corporate investigation is best conducted by a person who is not in any way associated with the corporation in question. While risk assessment firms are also known for conducting similar independent corporate investigations, private investigators are another type of professional who might be able to get answers in times of corporate crisis. Private investigators can diversify their services to meet a variety of intelligence needs, and some private investigators choose to specialize in only a handful of investigation types. Whether the private investigator diversifies or specializes, many private investigators may be missing out on opportunities to apply their investigative knowledge to corporate investigations in a way that can improve businesses from within to better their local economy, and affect change for larger corporations with a national reach.
Through their licensure by the state(s) where a private investigator practices, they have access to a wealth of information through verified databases similar to those used by law enforcement every day. Private investigators can use only a few details about a subject or subjects to generate a full background check on an individual or a corporate entity in order to have all the facts relevant to the case. For an independent corporate investigation, a private investigator can view items on employees and consumers such as criminal history, address history, credit history, and litigation history, and contextualize those items for the investigation. Through these databases, private investigators can also look up information about a corporate entity and garner relevant facts regarding its past actions, behaviors, and litigation.
Two of a private investigator’s most prolific and well-known talents are surveillance and undercover operations. When it comes to an independent corporate investigation, the ability to operate under the radar is crucial. In pursuit of truth, subjects in these type of investigations must not be aware they’re being watched. A private investigator knows how to blend in with a crowd or become part of the background of day-to-day life. Private investigators can wire themselves with surveillance technology, and seamlessly assimilate into a workplace in order to document daily internal operations. They can speak with witnesses and develop a rapport that ingratiates the witness to reveal relevant information. Through these intelligence operations, the private investigator is able to objectively document subjects in the work environment.
Because private investigators are typically independent from any law firm or government agency, their fact-finding also carries some additional transparency that is invaluable in an independent corporate investigation. This reduces the impact of any “they-said-they-said” narrative introduced by counsel in any consequential litigation. With even less government oversight on corporations in the United States, private investigators are ideal professionals to bring crucial context to the unheard problems within their structure.
Private investigators by their very nature have a proclivity for transparency and problem-solving. As the old adage goes, “knowledge is power.” Through private intelligence, private investigators can bring light to malignant situations that rot corporate culture and hurt public relations. In pursuit of the truth, they apply their methodology to multi-faceted, complex situations to get answers for their clients. Private investigators who do not currently offer corporate investigation services might be missing out on opportunities to expand their professional network and apply their services in new ways. Even small firms or singular private investigators contracting their services could apply fact-finding, surveillance, and undercover operations to investigate corporate misconduct. In this way, private investigators can fill in the gaps that can occur in corporate oversight and accountability.
The private investigators at Lauth Investigations International are dedicated to providing our clients to make empowered decisions in a complex business world. Our diverse list of intelligence services can be designed to fit the investigative needs of our clients. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at lauthinvestigations.com.
We can provide your business with a solution to their corporate or internal crisis…
For businesses, a corporate crisis is not just a reality, it’s an eventuality. From workplace misconduct to theft and fraud, these corporate crises can leave a company devastated from financial or legal repercussions. Such a sweeping blow can leave executives and management bewildered and scratching their heads.
When corporate crises arise, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. is there with specialized intervention, investigation, and illumination for your internal conflict. Using authorized, secure information databases, innovative surveillance technology, Lauth Investigations International, Inc. brings a special brand of integrity and objectivity to every investigation for comprehensive solutions in a complex business world. Internal investigations receive a high degree of objectivity, as our only mission is to find the truth.
Companies, organizations, and non-profits alike have put their crises in the hands of Lauth Investigations. We can offer assistance in personnel, systemic, and contextual crises through a diverse list of investigation services. Our initiative and autonomy allow us to intervene at any stage in a corporate crisis. From risk assessment to litigation support, our firm’s findings have empowered corporate and non-profit entities to improve their operations and watch their business thrive.
Our team of qualified, seasoned professionals, composed of veterans, former law enforcement, paralegals, and researchers work with cooperative synergy to bring a comprehensive solution to every client’s internal investigation. This empathetic team prides itself in maintaining quality communications with our clients and remaining accessible in a time of crisis. In pursuit of providing our clients with accurate and thorough findings, we are always furthering our knowledge of the latest investigative methods in procedures by consulting a network of educated contemporary professionals and being well-versed in the latest research.
Don’t wait to hire a private investigator to resolve your corporate crisis. A private investigator can provide you with a comprehensive solution. For a free quote, or more information on our services, please call 317-951-1100.
For over 30 years, Lauth Investigations International has been delivering proactive and diligent solutions to help corporations, attorneys and individuals find solutions to some of life’s most troubling conflicts, such as missing persons, theft, fraud, and corporate crises. Thomas Lauth founded this firm in 1995 in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving attorneys, corporations, and private citizens throughout the United States and beyond. His success has allowed him to expand his business, with offices in Tampa, Florida and Boulder, Colorado. His experience and prowess have allowed him to bring closure to grieving families who have lost a loved one, return lost or stolen assets to their rightful owners, and build a company with a culture of respect, innovation, and above all, teamwork. Lauth will be the first to admit no one achieves anything alone, and he attributes his success in large part to the wealth of qualified and integrated support from his investigative team.
Business Development Manager: Karl Buttenmiller
Marketing the services of an external investigations firm comes with its own challenges. If an individual is fortunate, they may never have cause to retain a private investigator for the substantial issues in their lives. Corporations often do not believe they require an independent investigator for their business, with policies in place to handle crises internally. That’s why it’s so important to have a top-notch business developer in any private investigation firm. For Lauth Investigations, that is Karl Buttenmiller, “It’s easy to become myopic when viewing internal problems – partnering with an experienced investigator allows for investigative techniques and range-of-motion usually not available to a corporation.” Karl’s work as Business Development Manager allows Lauth to build a strong network of businesses throughout the Indianapolis area and beyond—educating them on our services and how our expertise can prop them up in a time of crisis. While any budget manager may view a private investigator’s services as extraneous, Karl always assures clients that peace of mind is worth the price tag, “Every company and consumer pays for the effects of criminal or ethical wrong-doing; higher insurance rates, more expensive products and services, fear, etc. Investigators can lower the rates of fraud, theft, trafficking and more, which lessen the negative economic effects these entail while also creating safer companies and communities.”
Director of Client Relations: Kristen Justis
Kristen Justis is the Director of Client Relations for Lauth Investigations International. When individuals and corporations find themselves in need of our services, Justis is one of the first points of contact. “I handle the intake calls for all potential clients who contact us. During the intake, I listen to the details of the client’s situation and I offer them insight on what we, as private investigators, may provide them to find resolution to their situations.” Once Lauth has accepted the case, Justis plays a vital role in using the client’s information to set up case files and create narratives that allow Lauth’s researchers and field investigators to begin building a profile on all the principles in any given case. This gives the investigation a strong foundation in its earliest stages to ensure smooth case progression and an increased chance of reaching a solution. “During the case, I ensure the case file is being continuously updated, the investigations are completing their duties, and the clients are kept current on the status of their cases.” Being highly organized and efficient is a regular part of her position, but Justis also brings something else to the table in terms of maintaining good rapport with clients, “Many people are in a time of crisis when they reach out to private investigators. I ensure clients feel safe and comfortable talking with me and sharing their intimate details. I let them know they are not alone—their story isn’t the craziest story I’ve ever heard, and explain we are there to support them and find the answers they need. I love working with people and being there for them in their time of need.”
Research and Support: Carie McMichael
Once Justis has set up the files and created a strong foundation for the investigation, the fact-finding process begins. Carie McMichael is the Communication and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International. She runs the company’s social media, blog, and provides crucial research support for both Justis and other field investigators. “Once all of the principle information has been compiled, I assist Kristen in building backgrounds on all of the subjects in any particular investigation. We utilize confidential, authorized databases to gather any and all information on a subject that could serve as a valuable lead for our field investigators, like date of birth, addresses, and criminal records.” As the youngest member of the Lauth Team, McMichael’s proficiency and long-time use of social media platforms allows her to locate vital information in cases such as child custody, infidelity, and employee malingering. “Social media is so ubiquitous nowadays. Some people make a post to their Twitter before they even get out of bed in the morning. With a culture of over-sharing and constant social media visibility, it’s crucial that we pull that information in the interest of finding credible leads. I like to think of Kristen and I as teeing the case up for field investigators to knock it out of the park.”
Lauth Investigations International collaborates with investigators throughout the country. One of Lauth’s Investigators, known as CJ, brings a unique set of qualifications and methods to the table when it comes to developing solutions in any investigation. CJ’s combined ten years of experience in both law enforcement and private investigations has allowed her to build an impressive investigator’s tool chest, focusing on criminal investigations, fraud, and reported deception. Proficiency in investigative procedures has allowed CJ to navigate the course of any investigation efficiently and thoroughly. CJ has been decorated throughout their career with awards, medals, and commendations for the resolution of difficult situations, including Meritorious Service in 2014. CJ has collaborated in operations with United States Marshals and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, as well as local and state level tactical teams. But CJ says being a quality field investigator is more than just knowledge of procedure and decorated experience, “I believe the empathy I exhibit toward people makes me a great investigator. Often times it’s important to not show your emotions, but I have found that having and showing empathy for others is essential to be an overall good person. It makes you relatable and people see and appreciate that you recognize that we are all flawed in some way. People tend to open up to me and share intimate details of their lives.”
Whatever crises you have in your corporate or personal life, hiring a qualified and seasoned independent private investigator is the key to finding solutions for a better life. Whether it’s child custody, corporate fraud, or a missing persons case, Lauth Investigations International is here to help you, with a crack team of investigators, research support, and operation experts. Call us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you.
The owner of the dog in question, referred to as the Subject, was living on a few acres of property surrounded by a decorative fence the Victim of the dog bite alleges was easy for the dog to have jumped over. The Victim in the case reported she often walked past the Subject’s property early in the morning, approximately six or seven times prior, where she often witnessed the dogs “going crazy in the yard,” but never observed one loose from the confines of the property fence.
On the day of the incident, the Victim observed the gate to the property closed and one of the Subject’s two dogs residing inside the fence, but not the other. As she continued down the road, the unaccounted-for dog caught her by surprise, biting her on her backside and her arm. The scuffle was soon broken up by Witness A, who approached in their vehicle and honked their horn, scaring off the attacking dog. Witness A then drove the Victim to her residence, where she called 911 and was escorted to the hospital by an ambulance.
Lauth Investigations International Inc. was retained by Client X to contact neighbors of the Subject and witnesses to the incident to uncover if the dogs had ever escaped the fence before. Lauth’s investigators began their investigation by taking note of the lay of the land—both at the scene of the attack and the nearby geography—noting the Victim’s property was only a little over a mile up the road from the Subject’s property, or a twenty-two minute walk.
Lauth contacted the local sheriff’s department to obtain the victim’s police report regarding the incident, and also obtained an additional report for a similar dog bite incident, naming another possible resident of Subject’s house.
Photos were taken by Lauth Investigators of the Subject’s fence around the property. The Investigator did not observe any reasonable means for a dog to escape the fence. The next day, the investigator met with the Subject, the owner of the dog. The Subject insisted her dogs, who have since been euthanized, were friendly animals with zero history of violence and no propensities for aggression.
The Investigator later spoke to the neighbor, Witness A, who saw the attack in-progress. He recalled the dog was “snarling and growling,” and could only report he saw the dog approach from the right side of the road, which is the side on which the Subject’s property is located. He had never seen the dogs before, as he did not travel along that road often.
Witness B lives two houses away from the Subject and told the Investigator, contrary to the Subject’s statements, the dogs were very aggressive, with the propensity for excessive barking, unfriendliness, and a habit of charging the fence from the residence when cars or pedestrians would pass. She also advised it was not uncommon for at least one dog to be loose. When a vehicle left the Subject’s property, the gate to the fence would open, and at least one dog would often follow the vehicle. The gate would close behind the vehicle, leaving the dog loose from the property. At least six other witnesses, including the victim’s daughter and a mail carrier, reported aggressive behavior from the dogs in recent memory. The Investigator did speak to one witness who helped raise both dogs from birth and had never witnessed any violent behavior from the dogs.
With witnesses to both the attack and aggressive behavior from the dogs, it was determined the Subject was negligent in keeping the dogs penned, despite numerous complaints for neighbors and passersby. Lauth Investigations has documented their testimony for litigative purposes, if any, in the future.
Why Private Investigators Have an Advantage Over Police
For months, the family of 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez wondered if they would ever have answers in his mysterious disappearance. On the day he disappeared, he was left in the care of his father’s girlfriend, Emily Glass. In the missing persons report, Glass told investigators on February 17th, 2018, she saw Lucas playing in his room around three in the afternoon. She then took a shower and fell asleep. When she awoke around six in the evening, Lucas was nowhere to be found.
Law enforcement in Wichita investigated for months, unearthing no credible leads into Lucas’ disappearance. Months later, on May 24th, locals were shocked after a private investigator blew the case wide open by informing law enforcement Emily Glass had led them to the decomposing remains of little Lucas under a nearby bridge. Why would Glass, after dealing with law enforcement for months, only then break her silence regarding her knowledge of the little boy’s body? The answer is as simple as this: Private investigators have advantages law enforcement do not when it comes to conducting concurrent independent investigations in criminal and missing persons cases.
So how is a private investigator’s approach different from the approach of a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency? The first thing to consider is the caseload of most law enforcement agencies. From the moment an initial report is made, in both criminal and missing persons cases, law enforcement have the meticulous and overwhelming task of gathering evidence to build a case that will secure justice on behalf of the victims and the state. Crime scenes need to be mined for evidence by medical examiners and crime scene technicians. Detectives and other investigators need to canvass witnesses—sometimes dozens of people—in the area who might have seen or heard something. Now imagine the workload of one case multiplied by 40 or 50 times. An audit conducted in Portland Oregon in 2007 reviewed law enforcement data from Portland itself, and nine other surrounding cities, to conclude the average caseload for a detective in Portland was a median of 54. This is compared to a 5-year average of 56 cases. Knowing statistics like these are similar in law enforcement agencies all across the country, it’s easy to see how the progress of cases might slow to a crawl. Agencies are overwhelmed, and this is where private investigators have the advantage. Private investigators may only handle one or two cases at a time, giving them their full focus and attention. Wichita law enforcement might have faced similar challenges of an overwhelming caseload when it came to investigating Lucas Hernandez’s disappearance. An article released by the Wichita Eagle in mid-December of 2017 revealed, as of publication, there were still ten homicides from the year 2017 remaining unsolved as the new year approached.
Another compelling advantage for private investigators might initially sound like a disadvantage: Private investigators have no powers of arrest. It seems counter-intuitive that a private investigator may use the same tools as law enforcement, ask the same questions, and may even come to the same conclusion as law enforcement without the ability to arrest a suspect for the crime. However, the case of Hernandez showcased exactly why a private investigator—and their inability to arrest—broke the case wide open. Jim Murray of Star Investigations told KMBC News in Kansas, “We’re less of a threat sometimes to people that we’re talking to because we have no powers of arrest,” said Jim. “We can’t arrest them.” This could explain why Emily Glass finally led a private investigator to Lucas’s body, because she knew they could not put handcuffs on her in that moment.
Unfortunately, family members and locals will never have the truth about what happened to Lucas. In the wake of the private investigator’s discovery, autopsy reports were found to be inconsistent with what Glass told both police and the PI, but before the People could build a case against her, Glass was found dead from an apparent suicide. However, were it not for the efforts of the private investigator, Lucas’s father may never have had answers in his son’s disappearance.
Carie McMichael is the Communications and Media Specialist for Lauth Investigations International, writing about investigative topics such as missing persons and corporate investigations. To learn more about what we do, please visit our website.