Our client contacted us as she was suspicious about the behaviour of her partner. Her partner owned a dairy farm and a stud farm, but over the previous months our client had noticed that her partners financial position was precarious and he had spent less and less time at the farms and more time at the horse and dog race tracks. Our client was suspicious that her partner may be gambling. She had confronted him regarding the amount of money he was spending at the race track, but he denied everything. We were instructed to undertake a fourteen day surveillance and tail. Day one and two of the surveillance saw very little movement of the subject, but day three saw him attend the two dairy farms. He did not attend any tracks nor did he attend any bookmakers. However, on day four our client's suspicions were confirmed: the subject attended a dog racing track in the midlands and made several trips to the bookmakers. On each trip the subject was seen handing over large sums of money; only one of the four bets placed was successful. Day six saw the subject attend another dog race in the midlands, and again, substantial financial bets were placed in the bookmakers. None of the bets resulted in a payment for the subject. This pattern was repeated the following week in the same order, with the subject placing more bets (again involving large sums of money) with only two small wins out of eight bets. We were able to give our client all of this evidence which she then used to confront her partner. He admitted his gambling addiction and he now attends counselling for it.
We were contacted by a client who was in the process of applying for a divorce. He was estranged from his wife for many years and she had stayed at the family home with the children and continued to farm on the property. The youngest child had just turned 18, the point at which the couple had agreed the family home could be sold. However, at this point the wife requested that the home not be sold, and that she be allowed stay in the home, as she had a small business which would have to close if she moved. Our client agreed that he would be willing to consider this if the wife paid him a yearly dividend which was a percentage of her income from the business. The wife supplied our clients solicitor with a statement of means, as requested under the Family Law Act 1996. This statement was suspicious to our client, who believed that his wife was not being completely honest in her affidavit of means. He contacted City Investigations and instructed us to undertake surveillance in order to ascertain the amount of clients / customers attending the business on a daily basis for a period of twenty-eight days. We gathered our operatives and had a meeting with the clients legal team, in order to design a completely bespoke investigation for the client. After twenty-eight days of observation and discreet inquiries, City Investigations were able to present our client with a list of visitors to the property, and this was sent to the wife's legal representative. Upon reassessment of the evidence supplied by City Investigations our client was able to secure a financial deal which was over 40% higher than the original one supplied by the wife. Our client was delighted with his divorce settlement.
During the summer we were contacted by a client who needed a headcount of sheep on her husbands farms. She needed this information to prove his income as part of a separation case and maintenance application. The husband's affidavit of means showed that his income was low and this was therefore reflected in the amount our client would be awarded. The husband's affidavit claimed that he raised 400 sheep per year and that the birth of the lambs would bring the numbers to approximately 600. This meant that the husbands income was substantially lower than our client believed. City Investigations attended the area on day one of the investigation, whereby a recce (reconnaissance) was undertaken. Our operative identified more than five possible areas throughout the farm where there were sheep kept. On the property our operative identified two public right of way paths, which were an excellent way of obtaining entry to the property with camera to take photographs and conduct a sheep head count. Our operative used a nearby river to gain access to the back of the farm where two more large fields were identified as owned by the subject and contained sheep and lambs also. Our operative spent two days around the property, identifying new areas and conducting an exact sheep headcount. All in all the subject had 1400 sheep, 60% more than he had sworn in his affidavit of means in court. Once the evidence was given to the client and presented in court, our client was awarded a higher maintenance payment and back pay for the weeks when she was given the lower amounts.
The Christmas Party
City Investigations deals with all areas of investigations and some of the most difficult cases for operatives are family law cases. Family law operatives are trained to be both thorough and sensitive. Our operatives conduct family law investigations on a daily basis. In Christmas 2009, a client contacted us, upset and afraid that his wife was having an affair. He believed that her behaviour was becoming more erratic and suspected she was seeing another man. He believed that his wife would use her upcoming Christmas party to meet this man and conduct her affair. Our client supplied us with the address of the hotel where the party was taking place the following Saturday evening. Our operative attended the hotel the day of the Christmas party to undertake a recce and to identify which rooms and exits would be attainable from the main foyer. Our operative identified that the room where the party was to take place, which was a communal room, would also be used by four other companies, which meant our operative could move about the hotel with relative ease and without raising suspicion. Our operative identified the subject within fifteen minutes of the party start time. At no point during the event did the subject meet any male. She left the room on two occasions to use the facilities, and both times she was back within ten minutes. She was observed on both occasions and met with no male. After the party finished the operative followed the subject to her home and at no point did she stop or even make any calls on her mobile phone. The subject arrived home at 2am having been observed for five hours. We suggested another surveillance day just to put our client's mind at ease, and conducted another eight hours of surveillance spaced over two weekends. This extra time also gave our client the much needed evidence that his wife was not cheating and they were able to have a happy family Christmas.
The Cat in the Halting Site
One of our insurance companies instructed us to carry out surveillance on an injured claimant. The claimant had returned to work with a partial disability status. Our client wanted to ensure that the claimant was indeed enduring partial disability. Our operative attended the claimants home on the first morning of the surveillance, and after thirty minutes the claimant left for work. The operative maintained close observations on the claimant for over thirty miles, after which the claimant turned into a private work yard. The operative had to access this yard as no part of the yard was visible from the road. The operative noticed there was a halting site next to the private yard and proceeded to enter the halting site. The operative explained to one of the residents that he had lost his cat and could the resident help him. The resident wanted to help, suggested that the cat may have gone into the yard, and told the operative to get into the car so they could both go down into the yard to look. As the foreman knew the resident, the approach was straightforward. The operative was wearing cameras and when the resident explained to the yard foreman that there was a missing cat and could they look around, the foreman agreed and the operative was allowed into the yard. Surveillance for over forty minutes found the claimant lifting heavy loads stooping, bending and climbing which he was claiming he was unable to do. This evidence was then turned over to the client.
The Government in my Head
In 2008, we received one of the most unusual calls to our offices. The caller wanted to know if we could undertake a bug sweep. This service is usually required by commercial clients, but when our case manager requested to know the address of the property that was to be swept, the caller said there was no property. The case manager enquired as to where the sweep would take place. The caller explained that the bug was in his head. The caller believed that the government had abducted him and planted a bug in his brain. The case manager remained professional and continued to discuss the case, asking the client why they were worried about the bug being in their head, and what were the symptoms. The caller explained that they heard a buzzing when they talked on the phone or a call came in on their mobile. The operative explained that our bug sweeps would probably not be strong enough to find a bug in the cranial cavities but suggested that the caller contact their GP to arrange an MRI scan which would probably find a bug if there was one.
The Killer in Me
Another strange call came into our offices in 2009. The caller, who was living in another country but originally came from Ireland, rang to request that an operative attend his home town and enquire about possible murders that the caller thought he may have committed the previous summer when he was home on holidays. The caller explained that he had been home some months previous, had been involved in an altercation with several people and believed that he may have killed some of them. The caller also believed that this was covered up by the local police who did not want to deal with the paperwork, and that the police had buried the bodies in the local graveyard in other familys graves. The caller also felt that his own mother and best friend were involved in this cover-up and were in collusion with the police. Our case manager took the details and spoke at length to the caller about the case. The case manager sent the instruction contract to the client, who called back in five days to cancel the instructions as his mother would not allow him to go ahead with it.
The Car Park is Full
We received instructions from a client who lived in the UK but was in business with a partner in Ireland. The client owned a car park in joint partnership. This car park was situated in the city centre, and the customers did not pay at a machine but directly to an operative, who took a note of the time they arrived and departed and charged accordingly. Our client instructed us to send an agent to the property to undertake seven days observation on the car park, as the client was worried that his business partner was not honest when he forwarded our client's monthly shares of profits. The client requested a photograph of every car (and its registration number) that entered the property, what time they arrived and what time they left. This was completed over a period of seven days in order to get an accurate reflection of the weekly income and therefore the clients share of the profits. Our agent attended the property in the city centre, undertook the observations as requested and the results were sent in photo and video to the client, whose suspicions were thereby confirmed.
The Thief Within
An agitated client called the office last year with a request that we send an operative to one of their retail units in the city. The client was after conducting yet another stock take and once again the financial books did not equate. This was the third time in less than six months that there were major discrepancies in the stock check. We arranged to put an operative into the store as a stand in deputy manager to undertake observations and surveillance. On day one of the observations the operative had no updates to give the client, day two and three were also uneventful. However on day four, when a large delivery of three pallets came into the store, the operative proceeded to undertake a count of the stock on the pallet. One staff member came over, thanked the operative but said that they would in fact count the stock themselves and sign the invoice for the driver. The operative agreed, thanked the member of staff and moved back to the front of the delivery bay where they could watch the staff member without suspicion. The staff member proceeded to remove the stock without counting it. The staff member then proceeded to divide the stock into different areas of the warehouse. Not all stock was unpacked into its own bay, some stock was moved to other bays and in different lots also. This aroused the suspicion of the operative who observed and photographed the behaviour. The operative was in this store for three weeks and during this time, goods that were meant to be delivered to customers did not arrive in the quantities ordered, and goods were sent to customers with no delivery dockets. All of these discrepancies were occurring when the member of staff who was under suspicion was on duty. We compiled a booklet of evidence which showed the staff member moving stock around the bay and also showed customers' wrong orders being loaded by this member of staff. There were other suspicions but as we did not observe these in person we could only give our expert opinion of incidents that were witnessed by our operatives. The customer received video and photographic footage which was then used by the company to instigate the dismissal process and investigate the staff member fully. The staff member was later dismissed for theft.
Employees are sometimes unaware that when they sign their contract, they often sign non-disclosure and privacy policies, clauses stating that the employer can gain access to their computers and use information they find there to dismiss an employee for bad behaviour. One client contacted us to ask if our forensic investigators could attend the company and find out which member of staff was sending comic but often abusive and sexually explicit emails to other staff. The mail came from an internal mail which over thirty people had access to remotely. We first asked the client to confirm that all members of staff had signed the privacy and non-disclosure contracts, which they had. Then there is a process in employment law whereby the employer must follow fair procedures when investigating this type of employee behaviour. Our operative attended the office on Monday afternoon; there was some discussion with a few of the employees as they felt their privacy was being compromised, but we at City Investigations follow strict fair procedure policies and therefore suspected this group might contain the individual who was sending the emails. After three days on site we identified by forensic investigation of the computer systems which terminal the emails were being sent from. It was indeed one of the first employees who were annoyed at their terminal being investigated. The employee was identified and as the company had followed fair procedures conforming to the Unfair Dismissals Act 1997-2007, they were able to terminate the employees contract for gross misconduct.
Competition is healthy, isn't it?
During 2010 we had a flurry of cases dealing almost exclusively with competition. Most of these queries came from companies who were suffering because former employees were leaving, branching out and the clients believed that the employees were skimming customers. Firstly, we had to identify the ex-employees who the clients believed were taking or skimming. Once the employees were identified we could then observe their business and therefore their new customers. We undertook surveillance for three days on the premises and then identified the possible customers who were being skimmed. This was done by eliminating those customers who had not ordered since the new company was set up by the ex-employees. Once these customers were identified we could contact the customers and through a series of questions and surveys we could identify the ones who were skimmed. The results were brought to the attention of our clients who could deal with the information in a number of ways. Some clients used the information we obtained to enter into discussions with the ex-employees to stop the skimming; some ex-employees were spoofed by the fact that the client was aware of their skimming. Others who had non-competition agreements signed by the ex-employees when they took the employment could rely on this to instigate legal proceedings against the ex-employee and in turn bring the customers back to them. It is imperative that employers insist that employees sign non-competition and non-disclosure agreements when they start the employment in order to ensure that they are protected in cases where employees leave and try to take customers.
DNA Testing, New Forensics and Peace of Mind
Some cases that come into our offices can be a little heart-breaking, others, heart-warming. Some that start out heart breaking can end up heart-warming. Last year a client contacted us to ask for our help. His wife had just died, and as they had been married for twenty years, he had not wanted to upset the relationship by bringing up the issue of DNA testing. However, he explained that his wife had had an affair just before they had married and on the day of the wedding his wife told him that she was pregnant. The client loved his wife very much and asked would there be any change if the baby was not his. His wife said it was definitely his baby and they got on with married life. But the question had been in his head for so many years that sometimes it was too hard to bear. He loved his son very much and never once was the son told of his suspicions, even after his wife died. But our client reached the point where he simply needed to know the truth, so we arranged for the DNA testing. Our client had obtained samples of DNA from the son (having explained that he wanted to identify the familys roots in Europe, the son happily gave his sample). Our client then undertook the swab sample also. The test took over two weeks to come back and we called out to our client with the results. As we wanted to make the experience more authentic for our client, we did not read the results before the meeting. Our case manager's hands were shaking as much as the client's when the moment came. Everyone took a deep breath as the case manager read the results, which were 98.9% positive that our client was indeed the sons biological father. A fantastic and heart-warming result for the client. (P.S, the family roots came from Germany in case any of you were wondering, dad already knew).
Whos the Daddy
A very upset client contacted us to help her find the father of her child. Her child was ten years old and asking about his dad. The client had a one night stand and had become pregnant. In the early years she had tried to find the father without success, and believed her fate was not to find him. However, as the child got older he was asking more and more questions about his dad, and our client did not want to tell him that she had no idea who his father was. She decided to contact us and make one last attempt to find the father of her child, peace of mind for her and a name for her son to put on his dad. The client gave us all of the information that she could remember, including his physical description, his first name and particular nickname she remembered his friend calling him. She knew which city he came from and his job, but she didnt know any more. We took the name of the bar where they had met and this is where we started. We canvassed the bar for any patrons who may have been customers over ten years previous. As this was a also a nightclub, the chances were slim, but barman was able to advise us of a patron who had been a local in the bar for over twenty years. We went to see this patron at his own home and tried to describe the father to this patron, his first name, where he was from etc., but with no luck. Just as we were leaving, we asked if he'd heard the nickname, and the man started to laugh. He said he had indeed heard the name, didnt personally know the man but knew someone who this man used to come and visit over ten years previous. He gave us the name of the friend and we went to visit him and enquired about the man. The friend hadnt seen him in many years but had heard that the father had gone to live on an island off the West Coast of Ireland. We contact the post offices on all of the islands and amazingly the father was living on one of them. Due to data protection the post office could not give us the address, but we knew the island, so we went there and undertook local enquiries to find the address, which only took a matter of minutes. We verified the nickname etc. and went back to the mainland. We contacted our client to inform her of our findings and met her to show her the photo and obtain her next instructions. She was not 100% sure from the photo but thought it could be him. She asked us to go back to the island and speak to him. She asked that we bring with us a DNA kit and ask his permission to take the test. When we returned to the island the father was intrigued by the situation; he had vague memories of meeting a girl in the bar in the city when he was visiting his friend, but could not remember much. We told him about the child and asked his permission to take a DNA test. He agreed and we got the test sent off immediately. It only took fourteen days for the test to come back and we called the client with the results, which was 98.9% positive that this man was the biological father; she was so relieved that she cried. We arranged to go back to the island with the results and the client. After the meeting they both were relieved, although the father was sad that he had missed out on so many years of his son's life. Since that original meeting, the father, client and son have met on several occasions. The son can now say he knows his dad, and he spends occasional weekends swimming in the islands off the coast of Ireland.
Over 93% of our adoption traces are successful. This owes to our wealth of experience and our dedication to our clients. We are specialised in Adoption Tracing and work both for individuals who want to find their natural parents, and parents who want to find their adult children. One client contacted us after spending over ten years trying to find her biological mother. We were able to investigate records and find from over 15,000 possible births, five that were possibly her natural parents. After researching and investigating these five, we were able to narrow the number to three, and after discreet local enquiries we were able to identify the natural mother. We discovered from local records that she was remarried and had four other children. We secured her address and returned to our client with all this information. After some weeks, the client asked us to go to the natural mother's home discretely and speak to her. The client gave us a letter to give to her mother should she agree to speak with us. We were relieved that the natural mother was delighted that her daughter found her; she had spent years wondering and hoping that somehow the child would find her. Indeed she had given the adoption agency her details but the client said she never got a letter from her natural mother. The natural mother read the letter and started to write a letter in reply, which we of course delivered immediately. Within three weeks, our client had met with her natural mother and father. It turned out the natural mother and father had married in later years. Our client met her brothers and sister and the family have regular reunions.
Child Custody and Visitation
A very upset young mother of two contacted us to help her in her desperation. She was in the middle of a bitter divorce and the couple were now fighting over custody and visitation. Her husband was foreign and was threatening to take the children to his home country, saying that she would "never see them again. Our case manager assessed the case as urgent and as there was an order for visitation our client was obliged to have the children stay with him the following weekend. Our client was terrified that he would remove the children from the state. Our specialist investigators undertook surveillance for the weekend of the visitation, keeping the children under constant supervision. Our operatives maintained a 24 hour watch over the children and video surveillance was on a 24 hour rota also. The video tapes were kept so that the Gardai could be informed immediately if the operatives believed the husband was going to remove the children from the state. If this was the case there could be a kidnapping report made immediately and the husband could be prevented from taking the children out of the country. Our surveillance meant that our client was able to comply with the court visitation order yet have the peace of mind to know that her children were safe and not being removed from the country. Within 48 hours our client was able to apply to the courts to stop the husband from taking the children out of the country unless he had permission from the mother, which she was not going to give lightly after his threats. To date the father has visitation on a bi-weekly basis. The children can see their dad, and our client has peace of mind with an injunction, which means she will not have to worry about the children being taken out of the country by her husband. If you need to hire the best private investigators in Ireland, call City Investigations today. With years of experience, countless successful cases and all the resources you need, we can help you with any case. No problem is too big or too small; we will work with you to get positive results.