By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) hasn't provided additional documentation regarding the case that drove them to issue Grand Junction Private Investigator, Jessica Erin Lane a letter of admonishment. Hopefully additional information will be available soon.
See also: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issues Admonishment to Grand Junction private investigator after investigator refuses to provide investigation report
Meanwhile, private investigators from all over the country, responded with examples of when, in their practice, they might deny an investigative report to a client who requested it. Many states including the State of Colorado, require private investigators submit reports in order to keep their licenses. A cursory review of the Colorado license requirements confirms this is a requirements that needs to be specified in the contract. Screenshots obtained from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office are are circles in red.
To start with the basics, Virginia based private investigator, Kimberly Williamson defines report as "a blurb that says 'this is what we did, this is how long it took and here are the next steps.'" She says she the investigation report provides clients with, "some kind of narrative or summary with expense reports." Most cases that are paid for, invoiced and completed follow this formula.
Williamson once worked "with a guy who offered a significant amount of money for a home address of a vehicle that made him mad during traffic. He said he wanted to send a guy adult toys or some nonsense," and that was a situation that needed to be handled differently.
Although "work product is the juicy details, photos, or the generated background/address info," it is Virginia state law not to "hand work product to someone whom we discover or suspect of being under a protective order." The same pertains to a client who is under a retraining order or who may be self-injurious. In such circumstances, Williamson explains, the private investigator may still supply the information to the attorney or to the therapist of the client. If the private investigator needs to terminate the contract, the PI will "send a copy of the signed contract with the violation highlighted and a letter advising them that x, y, and z were performed and what led to termination."
“My client always gets a report, as long as the invoice is paid,” explains Oklahoma City based investigator, Brian Bates when asked about circumstances that would cause a gumshoe to preclude a client from seeing or receiving a final report. "I have very few clients on terms and most provide a retainer. That said, getting a report does not mean the client gets all my work product," he explains.
For Bates, recording everything is key. "I audio record all my interactions for my benefit. I do not turn those over unless it becomes necessary or relevant to do so. I also keep my own personal notes and I do not turn those over - I use my notes however as a basis for the report I give the client."
Thanks to recording technologies evolving from the early dictagraph days (pictured above) it is easier than ever before to inconspicuously record a conversation. Bates insists that the "audio recording feature of my Apple Watch is a life saver," saying "no one questions it the way they question a phone or recording pen."
"I also track myself while on a case (car tracker and smart phone tracker) and shoot timestamped photos randomly. Unless required as part of a surveillance job, I do not turn those over," he explains.
Why then such painstaking efforts to document information that wont even be included in the report? "The main reason I record all interactions is for liability reasons," Bates explains, is that "people lie - a lot. Recordings have saved me from arrest more than once."
See also: the Denver Private Investigator Blog talks process server safety with Tom Mills
While there is no known correlation between the Admonishment that the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issued to the Grand Junction investigator ---case currently remain unknown as no additional supporting documentation has been made available-- and the examples in this article, the report is still a vital part of the job for Bates who says, "my client gets a report, as long as the invoice is paid."
Recordings protect private eyes anytime their side of the story is contested and Bates is emphatic that "people lie - a lot. "Recordings have saved me from arrest more than once. Had the FBI stop me once as I was leaving a town in Oklahoma. All because the person I interviewed, that was involved in a federal case, realized he shouldn’t have talked to me. He called the FBI agent he had been working with and lied and told him I identified myself as a federal agent. I was detained and only released after I was able to play back audio of our meeting - where I clearly gave the man a card and told him I was a private investigator.”
See also: felony menacing charge
Bates’ example is not dissimilar in what happened to Colorado process server, Tom Mills when he served papers to an off-duty Denver Sheriff’s Deputy in Adams County, Colorado and it was ultimately the video recording he made of of an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy pointing a gun at him that he used to prove his innocence.
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issues Admonishment to Grand Junction private investigator after investigator refuses to provide investigation report
By Susanna Speier,
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Jessica Erin Lane of Grand Junction, Colorado, located in Mesa County received a letter of admonition issued by Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) program director, Mark Browne on January 7, 2019 stating “the director determined that the facts disclosed do not warrant the commencement of formal disciplinary proceedings against your private investigator license. However, the Director has ordered this Letter of Admonition be issued to your pursuant to section 12-58.5 (1), C.R.S.”
See also: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issues admonishment to Texas based Colorado private investigator licensee
If you'd like to brush up and/or refresh on the latest tweaks to licensing regulations, you'll find the full legalese rundown on the Justia website and Mark Brown's letter specifying the Lane's licensing violations are pasted below.
According to the two bullet points and their parenthetical (but considerably more layman-friendly) summaries, the admonishment is for “failing to complete the contracted investigation and failing to provide report of investigation.”
See also: report writing for Private Investigators
It is unclear from the document obtained why Lane did not complete the investigation and/or produce the report. As Lane never issued a response, the admonishment must remain a stand-alone document of what happened. The segment of the letter, pictured below, also states the admonishment will be available in the public records which is how the Denver Private Investigator Blog obtained it.
According to her Linkedin profile, Lane has worked for the Defense Investigators Group (DIG) The Robison Group and Marden Investigation Company and has 18 years of experience in investigations and legal fields. "I have built, directed, supervised and managed a successful investigation agency for 10 years," she states in her Linkedin summary.
Reports are a vital part of an investigation. Especially if it is a legal investigation requiring consistency and clarity to ensure the attorneys, judges and juries are able to connect dots of seemingly disparate trails of evidence and testimonies.
To reiterate, it is unclear from this document why Lane did not complete the investigation by providing her client with a report at the end of the assignment. This particular article, however does not need to end as Lane is welcome to contact and share her side of the story with the Denver Private Investigator Blog so we better understand what the dynamics between her and the client were that lead to the admonishment being issued. We can, of course, be reached through the website and through all of our social media channels which now include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
The Korey Wise Innocence Project at University of Colorado, Boulder's Colorado Law School has gotten a lot of calls and emails since the Netflix release of Ava DuVernay drama web television miniseries, "When They See Us," according to Anne-Marie Mo'syes Director of the Korey Wise Innocence Project. The series is about the five young men from Harlem who were wrongfully convicted, imprisoned and eventually exonerated of a crime committed against a jogger in New York's Central Park in 1989.
“Not only has there been a strong response to (When They See Us) but a strong response to his story. That’s my sense based on all the different emails and Facebook posts. It says something at the end about his involvement with our project and we’ve had this explosion of interest and comments and messages," Moyes said in a phone interview.
Korey Wise's attorney lives in Colorado and represented him in the civil suit (against The City of New York) and she played a big role in facilitating his gift to CU Boulder's Innocence Program that represents others who claim they were wrongfully convicted. The final episode of DuVernay's series focuses primarily on Korey Wise's story. The Denver Post also reported the uptick in donations since DuVernay's series was released on Netflix.
Wise donated $190,000 to the Innocence Project in 2015 after Wise and the other four after winning a 41 million dollar settlement against the City of New York.
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blog
Lightning struck outside my window as I sipped afternoon tea on Summer Solstice last weekend contemplating which Denver Private Investigator Blog ideas to turn into timely and relevant articles about the Colorado's private investigator industry.
If you were on surveillance in Byers, Cope, Burlington, Limon Karval, Eads or Cheyenne Wells over summer solstice weekend you would have been enjoying some refreshingly mild --though unseasonably-- cool days. If you surveillance assignment extended into the last week of June your surveillance assignments --especially if they involve sitting in parked cars for extended periods of time-- might start to become uncomfortable toward the end of June.
According to AccuWeather, your July surveillance assignments will be relatively bearable, providing they're in Colorado Springs where temperatures hover in the 70s and 80s next month. If you're in Denver moving into late July you may start melting into your car seat as temperatures push into the 90s while you're waiting and watching and waiting and watching. Taking photos and videos and/or crossing hot asphalt to serve papers over driveways and parking lots is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for people whose workplace requirements include air conditioning. It's not a bad time to revisit what we shared on staying cool in a hot car and the parts of Colorado:
See also: Best and worst Colorado regions for surveillance jobs
That said, the foreseeable future of the private detectives whose primary revenue source is surveillance may have a new competitor. The new competitor is impervious to sweltering summer heat waves as well as to the monotony of sitting in a parked car for excruciating amounts of time. Hot carseats to not bother this new competitor. Nor does the smell of perspiration. It is a competitor that requires no air conditioning or kevlar vests. This new competitor does not sleep. It doesn't even defecate or urinate.
On June 12, 2015 Amazon filed a patent for a "drone based surveillance system" and on June 5th, the patent was granted by the United States Government. Publications all over the country have been flailing around trying to figure out what Amazon plans on doing with the patent. Perhaps private investigators need to start weighing in, too.
Quartz, wasted no time in pointing out that Amazon has already been in the surveillance business using devices like Alexa (disclosure: I have one and have concluded it's convenience outweighs it's heinousness) but that doesn't really detail whether or not this may be used for something less benign than an aerial delivery of your Whole Foods purchases.
The above photo was snapped during a purely recreational drone flight I took over Denver's Cheesman Park and Botanic Garden last year. I have participated in projects like Denver's 48 Hour Film Project that used drones cinematically. I'm not a world dominating corporation like Amazon, though.
This is the link if you'd like to check out the patent for yourself and trying speculating on the long term impact this could have on the private eye industry. Bottom line being, will Amazon drones be taking over surveillance jobs?
Please share your thoughts and impressions on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles. You can also respond in the comments field below.
JulBy Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Spring and digital forensic investigation is in the air. The annual Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) conference takes place July 24th - July 26th at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs this year. The PPIAC annual training event will feature a workshop with Amber Schroader about smart phone and the apps that rule them and an advanced online investigation workshop with Cynthia Hetherington. Perhaps most intriguing to me personally, as I'm putting together my first podcast, is the Sheila Wysocki workshop titled, "Podcasting, the Next Investigative Tool."
An added bonus feature of the timing is that the training will overlap with July 24th so the event will kick off with a PI Day (Not to be mistaken for March 14, which is Pi day) celebration. The national holiday takes place annually on the birthday of Eugene Francois Vidocq, the very first Private Investigator who founded the first known detective agency in 1833.
You don't need to wait until summer to attend a PPIAC event, though. On Wednesday, June 5th you can attend a PPIAC training on what process service looks like from the attorney's point of view. This unique training opportunity takes place at 6:30 (arrive at 6:00 if you want to arrive in time for networking) at the Hilton Denver Inverness which is located at 200 Inverness Drive West in Englewood. Colorado process servers as well as private investigators and lawyers would have a lot to gain by attending.
If, after reading the last two posts, you are eager to delve more deeply into digital forensics, Chris Wells recommends the upcoming LEVA Digital Multimedia Evidence Training Symposium that takes place October 7th through 11th in Denver
See also: Colorado digital evidence consultant Chris Wells
If you're sure whether or not you/re ready for the deep dive, the University of Colorado Denver College of Arts and Media has a National Center for Media Forensics. It was created, in part, by the Department of Justice including the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance and offers training courses as well as a graduate program.
As far as summer reading recommendations go, Colorado Public Radio host, Ryan Warner will be doing a live Q&A with Colorado writer Peter Heller at the Avalon Theater on June 20th. They will discuss Heller's new wilderness survival thriller and mystery, The River. The event takes place in Grand Junction and is a great opportunity for private investigators on Colorado's Western slope.
The new Denver Private Investigator Blog Instagram will also be sharing books about investigation and litigation throughout the summer so be sure to subscribe by clicking the Instagram feed and icon on the website. You can also check out the first set of books we recommended by going here.
Colorado digital evidence consultant Chris Wells on Facebook and the Colorado Bar Association's sock puppet prerogative
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
To get a second opinion on the stalking suspects safely issue discussed in the previous post, I asked Boulder based Computer and Cell Phone Forensic Examiner, Chris Wells about using
See also: Digital 101 forensics workshops for Denver attorneys and private investigators
Facebook to research suspects and/or persons of interest. Wells concurred with Jones' stipulation adding, "Facebook does not provide a 'who viewed my profile' capability."
See also: Storyful's News Intelligence and Investigative Journalist Kelly Jones talks Stalk Scan for private investigators
Facebook's terms of service explicitly prohibits the creation of a bogus profile. This means, using that fake name, photo and online identity, as private investigators sometimes do, is an ethical violation that could get a firm in hot water during testimony. It could also cost individual investigators their membership to a professional organization. Organizations like World Association of Detectives (WAD), National Association of Legal Investigators Professional Private Investigators (NALI) and the Association of Colorado (PPIAC) [Disclosure: the author of this article is an associate member of the PPIAC] all have ethical codes to help maintain the integrity of a profession that is frequently misrepresented in Hollywood. Section 2 of the PPIAC's code of ethics states, "We will not advertise our work, skill or merit in an unprofessional or misleading fashion and will avoid all conduct or practice likely to discredit or do injury to the dignity and honor of our profession."
"It's easy (though against Facebook policy)" Wells points out as an example, "to create a bogus Facebook profile, and use it to do things anonymously on Facebook. For example, I download a picture of you from the Web, create a 'Susanna Speier' Facebook account using that picture, then start friend'ing people with it."
In addition to violating Facebook policy it would violate Section 2 of the PPIAC code of ethics but not all of Colorado's licensed private investigators have trade organization memberships. To throw yet another monkey wrench into the ethical works, a 2017 regulation protecting Colorado attorneys' authority to "direct advise or supervise others" to, in essence, behave deceitfully. Rule 9.4 section C of the Colorado Bar is, in essence, a sock puppet prerogative.
See also: Colorado's new misconduct rule: what will the consequences be?
A demanding client can direct a Colorado private investigator to create an online decoy profile and use that profile to to obtain information on Facebook that he or she may not otherwise have access to, despite the precarious situation it would put their client and associates in if discovered.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Rule 8.4 section 3 is addressed by Colorado's new Attorney General, Phil Weiser now that the Attorney General responsible for putting it there in 2017, Cynthia Coffman, is out of office.
Storyful’s News Intelligence Investigative Journalist, Kelly Jones talks Stalk Scan for private investigations
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
Kelly Jones is based out West where, as Denver and Colorado Springs area residents already know, snow season runs till June. Add reliable wi-fi and a Wyoming landscape view she boasts, "would make others jealous' and you’ve got a day in the life of a news intelligence investigative journalist.
With viral memes as myriad as hailstorms crossing the western plains in June, the demand for digital forensic investigation expertise is higher than the Platte River during a flash flood. Her job, like the jobs of many private detectives and legal investigators is necessitated by myriad misinformation online.
Kelly Jones' employer is Storyful, a New York based business to business subscription service that functions as the ancillary arm of newsrooms. Their Storyful subscriptions enable newsrooms to avoid wasting the time and energy of their already overtasked and quickly diminishing newsroom staffs in the predatory landscape of hedge fund ownership.
If you follow visual news media, even peripherally, chances are you've come across some of the images or videos that Jones and/or her Storyful colleagues have painstakingly drilled down to the bedrock in order to identify the prototype. Close social media contacts such as family members can then be contacted and asked to confirm the veracity of a viral image or video. Once verified, the images are released to newsroom subscribers who publish them in breaking stories worldwide.
After attending her hands-on photo and video verification seminar at an APME (Associated Press Media Editors) sponsored News Train event for journalists in Aurora, Colorado I had the opportunity to ask Jones the question I always hear private investigators and process servers asking all the time regarding social media audits and peoplefinding searches: can private investigators surreptitiously use social media platforms like Facebook to obtain evidence and information without compromising the results of their investigation? In other words, can you digitally spy on someone without getting caught?
“I can’t see whose looking at my Facebook page or my Twitter account but I can see who follows me or friends me," Jones said when I asked if it is possible to research suspects or persons of interest on Facebook without leaving a digital footprint or inadvertently dropping breadcrumbs that could alert someone to the fact that he or she is being monitored for future litigation purposes?
Jones recommends private detectives use Stalk Scan. Stalk Scan is an open source tool for extracting publicly available information from a Facebook profile. The platform makes the monitoring process faster and more digestible for private eyes researching suspects and/or persons of interest. Plus, it is free and does not require a premium subscription. Anyone with a computer and internet has access. A downside, as she points out, is it “only works if the person has everything public.”
If someone posts a photo near a high profile area and you are trying to locate them, she recommends a reverse image search using Google after honing in on something in the background., like a building, bridge or other distinct landmark.
Crowdtangle, another tool Jones recommends, shows public pages and enables users to create customized lists. Stalk Scan however seem to be the indispensable one for PIs and process servers. “I would use Stalk Scan if I’m doing a social profile,” Jones says adding if she was investigating an accident she would use Google search or Google maps to figure out where surrounding building are and from there, contact those building to try and obtain footage.
My own, cursory experiment with Crowdtangle revealed more information that I thought was publicly available, including the summer events that I r.s.v.p.'d to on Facebook. Were a process server or private investigator wish to track me down they could go on Stalkscan and obtain a relatively reliable set of locations and times I could be found throughout the summer using information I posted on pages I thought only made this kind of information available to friends or to other people who liked that particular page.
It is relatively simple and straightforward however if you need a tutorial I recommend the Stalk Scan explainer video I've embedded below Please like, reshare and hit me up on social media to let me know how your stalkscanning goes!
By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger
The Denver Private Investigator blog just launched an new Instagram and we look forward to figuring out what we're doing based on your feedback. Instagram is a platform that many of our esteemed colleagues still regard as a clandestine surveillance tool rather than a broadcast one.so we'll be paying close attention to your likes and comments as well as observing how other PIs use the platform for day to day observations about the local, regional and national private investigator world.
Our top five selections were made based on storytelling ability, originality, distinct voice, photo quality, relevance and useful information. Metrics and follower count were not a factor in this selection . Not because it isn't important but the internet and Instagram already rewards high follower counts. We wanted to invest our time into custom picking grams that provide value to the security and private investigator community and might otherwise be overlooked.
If your Instagram can teach us more about crime investigation, surveillance, to DNA analysis, skip tracing, surveillance, criminal defense, and witness interviews the history of the industry then please be sure we know about it so we can consider it for inclusion in future recommendations.
#1 -International Spy Museum - the International Spy Museum, which we have reviewed in previous posts, is about to move to a magnificent new building Washington, D.C. The museum presumably has an expanded marketing team that overshadows anything that a part-time employee with more limited financial resources could do however for history nerds following them will keep you current on the museum while teaching you about spies, artifacts and about spyware throughout history.
Giving them first place is, in many ways, about honoring the museum that provides everything from lock picking workshops to historical documents like the one George Washington penned initiating America's first spy network by enlisting Nathaniel Sackett. "The letter served as the launching point for an intricate and secretive intelligence network known as the Culper Spy Ring that would in large part save the American Revolution," according to the museum's instagram.
See also: the Denver Private Investigator Blog's International Spy Museum review
History buffs and gadget geeks will be having the time of their life following this feed. If your focus is more on engagement and shop talk, however this pop culture and government espionage focused feed will be less useful than posts focusing on personal injury, corporate espionage, infidelity surveillance and legal investigations. That said, who knows where your best ideas might come from?
An additional Spy Museum events feed is entirely museum events focused and if, like us, you're based in the Denver metro area (or Lone Tree, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, Boulder, Craig, Grand Junction, Breckinridge, Telluride, Durango, etc) area it'll trigger a major FOMO crisis so consider yourself warned.
We selected it as the top Instagram to follow because of the quality and variety. There are diverse historical figures represented and stories with a global interest and impact.
#2 - Lancaster Detective - Lancaster Detective agency CEO, Sean L. Hall has been doing such a supurb job of documenting the day-to-day activities of a private eye in Pennsylvania that his work was featured in a summer photography exhibit as part of a first Friday walk And, yes, we learned about it by following his Instagram. We also like how Hall juxtaposes mundane day-to-day objects like coffee cups with sophisticated surveillance devices like built-in camera glasses and acquisition for his vintage camera collection.
One day he is sharing a reflection in a puddle and the next wandering through a snowy Lancaster street and taking you with him as he takes us from diner breakfasts to snow covered trees all while on assignment. Whether you want to take a peak at how he uses a cough drop packages to hold a surveillance camera in place or just want to get a glimpse into the sometimes black and white and sometimes color world of someone who does something similar to what you do but in a different part of the country we recommend following Lancaster Detective on Instagram.
#3 - p.i._memes - Will the anonymous gumshoes responsible for these please step forward? And yes, this "invisible one's" gags are mostly surveillance focused however they are original, industry relevant and appear to be sparking interesting conversations in the comments section about only things a private investigator who pulls long surveillance hours and has to figure out how to create.
If you read the conversation you'll even some impromptu schooling on how to improvise an in-vehicle, um, restroom on those extra long surveillance days.
We have a hunch this is a Cali based PI but can't be sure. We have also noted that the oldest post is dated February 23 which means this poster is greener than us. Yes that is actually possible. So please follow this meme making surveillance operative and encourage new posts since it is not easy being green.
#4 - the_detectiveagency - this Florida based private investigator firm shares memes that are funny, insightful, informative and historically relevant. Props earned for going the extra distance with exceptionally dynamic black history posts interspersed with provocative commentary on today's criminal justice system.
#5 - WantedPodcast - behind this gem of a gram is a modern day Bonnie and Clyde couple (pictured below in photo taken by Charla Ayers/Wild Blooms Photography) documenting their daily Boba Fett activities on Instagram and a Podcast on which they debrief. While the Instgram isn't as dynamic as each of their personal Instagram accounts accounts we laud their innovation -- they've even launched a line of branded bail recovery merch!
We wish we could see more of letter written by 'Gary,' the sovereign nation guy featured in podcast two. In the letter he actually proclaims the agents were guilty of "treason" and "war crimes" for interfering with his independent nation -i.e.- the nation of Gary.
We will provide more details on the Wanted Podcast team in our next post so be sure to subscribe to our blog but submitting your email to us using the box in the top righthand column of this page.
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