The Rising Need for Private Investigators

private investigators

Contributed by Samantha Castillo


private investigatorsThe increasing need for tailored investigations, that you otherwise would not default to law enforcement or take on personally, is becoming remarkably visible. Recently, private investigators have been flooding the headlines with cases that pertain to political investigations, infidelity and missing persons, but those are a limited scope of capabilities for the profession. The truth is that private investigators conduct a wide variety of investigations, contrary to media portrayal.

On the broad end of a private investigator’s duties, you typically find responsibilities such as background checks, taking statements and uncovering legal or financial documents.  The narrow or specialized end of the profession envelops investigations and specialties that can include but are not limited to the following:  Fraud, child abuse, child custody, identity theft, alive and well, process serving, neighborhood canvass, spousal surveillance, audits, computer forensics and employee time theft. Everything from personal to corporate matters is within the realm of possibilities.

Private investigators are largely employed by investigative agencies, law firms, insurance companies and individuals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of private detectives and investigators was projected to grow 11 percent between 2016 and 2026; this projection is faster than the average for all occupations [1]. The growing need can be attributed to increased threats to personal security and evolving potential for fraud and crime in the cyber age.

The immense reliance on online data for discovery purposes, forces older generations to seek investigative help when it comes to utilizing the internet. Conversely, younger generations are forced to seek help when they cannot use social media and internet searches to find what they seek. It estimated that only one quarter of all seniors use social networking sites [2]; making it more difficult for them to navigate the internet and more difficult for them to be found on the internet.  Both ends of the spectrum are currently feeding into the growth of the business.

If you find yourself in need of any of the services mentioned throughout this article, it may be worth your time to explore your options further. Start your search today at: and,


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Private Detectives and Investigators.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018,
[2] Smith, Aaron. “Older Adults and Technology Use.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 3 Apr. 2014,

Conducting Covert Surveillance Operations

covert surveillance

Contributed by Samantha Castillo

Occasionally, we all find ourselves in a position where we realize that we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Learning to analyze your social situation and make a determination on how to improve your position or to terminate your follow can be difficult. Getting close up, delicately filmed footage is a gold mine for clients, and should be treated with caution as if you were actually mining gold. More precisely, try to conduct bold moves with a quick reconvene.

In my experience, some of the most important factors that I consider on a regular basis when conducting covert surveillance are: location, demographic and time. Unlike a follow conducted while mobile, you are limited to me, myself and I. Upon exiting your vehicle, you lose your cover, expose your appearance and limit the amount of surveillance gear that you have readily available to you (being a female purse carrier is an advantage here). Most importantly, you lose your ability to move quickly.covert surveillance

Location can be used to your advantage or it can completely snub your chances of following a subject on foot. For example, large grocery stores, department stores, restaurants and public buildings often present with multiple vantage points and room to follow at a safe distance. Other locations such as lawyer’s offices and doctor’s offices are difficult because of close proximity and your need to be present. If you walk into a dentist’s office and don’t check in, take a seat and look directly at your subject the whole time…you may be made.

Depending on the geographic location or type of location that your case presents with, the demographic of that location can thwart any entry. Here is an example. I recently followed a subject into a grocery store, upon entering the store I quickly realized that I was the only woman not wearing a hijab and not pushing a cart; I quickly acted like I was looking for a specific item, and bolted as if they did not have what I needed. Large cities with a vast amount of culture and suburbs are going to have their individual challenges. Particular establishments will have a challenge as well, i.e. as a woman I am not going to march into a VFW hall during happy hour! A quick read of the neighborhood you are in, can help you determine if you can blend into the demographic or if you should halt following.

They truly mean it when they say, “time is of the essence”. Many covert follows are not possible when you have a few minutes or less to obtain footage. Take the example of a gas station. Most people patronize a gas station for 2-3 minutes. This does not leave ample time to park your vehicle, enter the building and record and return to your vehicle. You run the risk of your subject reaching their vehicle before you. That identical risk need not be taken for any situation. Always let time be on your side.

Those three factors, location, demographic and time may not be totally inclusive of everything it takes to conduct solid covert surveillance, but they are what I have found as a basis for protecting the integrity of my cases. Safety, morality and results should also be at the forefront of your mind while in the field.

What is a Professional Investigator to an HR Professional or Business Leader?

Professional Investigator

Professional InvestigatorA PI Huh? So, You Follow Cheating Spouses All Day?  If I had a nickel for every time I have heard this from someone at a networking event…  Truth be told, we understand this common misconception, especially from anyone who has never worked with a Professional Investigator before.  To each person, depending on their own personal experiences, we may be a different kind of duck, maybe even a platypus to some!  What does a PI actually do?  Much like lawyers, Investigators often focus on very specific types of investigations, whether it is because of the investigator’s background, expertise or a local need, there are actually fewer investigators who cover the entire spectrum of investigations – you know the equivalent attorneys who do everything from Estate Planning to Plaintiff Law and every type of Criminal Defense in between.  Oh, and they can help with Tax Law too if you know anyone who needs help!

If you are an HR professional, you know Professional Investigators as the premium solution to performing employee background checks, a resource to investigate workplace misconduct, time theft or disability fraud.  You are aware of the value of having a licensed investigator carry out the background checks on candidates to prevent future HR Issues and ensure the accuracy of the information you have on hand before making hiring decisions.

As a business leader or corporate attorney, you know your Investigators as the people who can get you answers to specific business problems, check out vendors, contractors or potential investors and partners.  You ask us to track down and locate people, investigate executive candidates, work with your staff to prepare for litigation, protect your intellectual property or investigate those infringing on your patents or trademarks.  You can be sure that there are no television dramas or reality shows about this type of work!

As a Business Leaders, HR Professionals or Corporate Counsel you know what your Professional Investigators can do for you, and are probably reaping the benefits of having a solid relationship with an investigator you trust.  At ASG, we serve professionals just like you who know the value of our industry-specific services and are benefiting greatly from the impactful information and problem solving we offer.  If you don’t currently have an Investigator that you work with or are working with one who “mostly just handles cheating spouse cases” we urge you to consider contacting our team to discuss your specialized needs.

Harvey Weinstein Scandal and the Expert Sexual Harassment Investigator

Expert Sexual Harassment Investigator

The Weinstein sexual harassment news serves as a terrifying example for many organizations. To an expert sexual harassment investigator, it looks like the perfect storm. He was the unquestioned leader of the company, he appears to have been engaged in this type of conduct for a log period of time and he has multiple alleged victims.  His position poses a problem internally for anyone within the company to investigate. Further, it is extremely unlikely that many others in leadership and management were unaware of his actions. For anyone in HR leadership, this is a nightmare scenario. Expert Sexual Harassment Investigator

In many instances like this and those involving employees and contractors at varied levels of the organization, HR management will take it upon themselves to investigate sexual harassment allegations. They use an HR employee to conduct interviews, gather evidence and ultimately make a determination if the company sexual harassment policy has been violated. this seems like a sound approach, but using an internal resource leaves the potential for bias and influence to direct the investigation and can easily lead to the wrong conclusion. Can you imagine being the poor HR manager who would have been tasked to investigate a complaint against Weinstein?

Just this past summer the EEOC convened a task force to examine sexual harassment in the workplace. That group determined that sexual harassment is a persistent problem for three main reasons: (1st) many employers do not do enough to curb sexual harassment nor do they send a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated; (2nd) companies often  do not have a sufficient anti-harassment policy or, if they do, do not enforce it and (3rd) when a harassment matter arises, most employers focus on protecting the company from any potential litigation rather than harassment prevention.

Using an expert sexual harassment investigator rather than an employee only makes sense.

An independent sexual harassment investigator is not only guaranteed to be independent, they are simply going to do a better job by virtue of their training, experience and being dedicated to this type of work on a full time basis. If you or your company intends to take a real stance against sexual harassment, they should strongly consider calling our team of investigators to discuss how ASG can improve the process and help reduce the risks involved in this sensitive area.

Hiring the Right Agency to Conduct Employee Misconduct Investigations

Employee Misconduct Investigations

There are several good reasons to hire an outside expert to conduct an employee misconduct investigation. The first is that having an independent expert, who is trained in investigations, and is not subject to internal influences and lacks any perception of a connection to a specific outcome of the case greatly enhances the credibility of the investigation. It also removes any stress that would be placed on an employee who would be tasked to interview co-workers about another co-worker. There is also good reason to use a licensed professional investigator to conduct employee misconduct investigations rather than an attorney. It is likely that a qualified investigator can be retained for significantly less money, but more importantly, utilizing an attorney to conduct the investigation often heightens the tension and makes employees and outside sources more apprehensive inasmuch as it implies that litigation, courtrooms, judges, and punishment are imminent. Lastly, hiring a professional investigator to conduct employee misconduct investigations is likely going to produce a far better result. Professional investigators who engage in employee misconduct investigations, like sexual harassment, asset misuse, theft and inappropriate behavior, on a daily basis are simply far more effective and more likely to produce results that have less room for misinterpretation or speculation.

Employee Misconduct Investigations
Employee misconduct investigation experts

We often find that HR departments will look to a law firm for help when an employee misconduct investigation is required. Although attorneys are an essential part of the process, they are only one tool available, and not always the right one. Some clients like the idea of having an attorney handle these matters solely because of the attorney-client privilege. What they often don’t realize is that as Michigan private investigators, or Professional Investigators as we are technically called, we offer a privilege with our clients that is just as strong as that of an attorney. We cannot be compelled to produce our records or testify even if subpoenaed by a state prosecutor!

Surveillance in the Workplace 3.0

surveillance in the workplace

Surveillance in the Workplace

With the innovations in video camera technology, surveillance in the workplace has become more accessible and more flexible than ever before. In the past, covert surveillance in the workplace was almost always conducted by an actual investigator. The technology to support dynamic surveillance in difficult to monitor areas has allowed for cameras to be placed in all manner of places and allows employers to protect company personnel and assets like never before.

The latest round of temporary, moveable, covert surveillance technology not only allows for surveillance recording in more places, it also allows for monitoring from these locatisurveillance in the workplaceons. For example, a camera can be placed in a outdoor storage building that lacks power, it can record in total darkness and send motion activated alerts to the proper personnel in real time. This not only allows you to capture video evidence of the activity you want, it allows for the possibility of real time interdiction.

It is important to remember that a reasonable expectation of privacy has to be reasonable. Just because an employee has found an area of the office where she can go and drink alcohol without being seen because no one uses that area during their normal work day does not mean that they are entitled to privacy while in that area. Private areas, like restrooms, locker rooms and private, walled off offices remain private.

As you know, employees who engage in inappropriate behavior are acutely aware of the location of visible, stationary security cameras. The flexibility of constantly modifying your video footprint  to optimize surveillance in the workplace will keep everyone safer and save significant money in the process. This flexibility can be used for loss prevention, eliminating employee time theft, thwart drug and alcohol use and much more.

If you have questions about surveillance in the workplace and how our surveillance experts might be able to help, please call us today. The consultation is free.

Non-Compete Agreement Enforcement Begins with Gathering Evidence

non-competition agreement

Having a non-compete agreement is an essential step in securing your business assets, almost like insurance, from one of the most damaging types of the potential employee theft; theft of your clients. Unfortunately, a signed agreement is only the first step. Once an ex-employee violates that agreement and begins stealing from you, you need the right lawyer and investigator to enforce the agreement, stop them from stealing your clients and compensate you for the damages they caused. Non-compete agreement enforcement begins with gathering evidence. non-competition agreement

At ASG, we have assisted hundreds of businesses and owner groups to help enforce non-compete agreements.

Effectively, we have two ways of going about this. The first is to identify and document whatever business the violator is conducting through interviews, document retrieval and background checks. Establishing a timeline of events and documenting the proof of business transactions is crucial. You need a trained investigator who can read between and beyond the lines to not only document the violations that are easy to see, but to also locate other instances that have yet to be uncovered. As the investigation unfold, ASG will help legal your legal counsel to target additional avenues to send subpoenas to further the evidence collection process.

The second way that ASG frequently collects evidence for non-compete agreement enforcement is by conducting surveillance of the offender and sometimes even their partners or proxies. Surveillance is unique and powerful evidence that demonstrates the violator’s actions in an undeniable way.

If you are seeking help with non-competition agreement enforcement, call one of our team today. We can walk you through the process, help you to determine if an investigation is appropriate and, as always, the consultation is guaranteed to be confidential by law.

Paul Dank Achieves Board Certification in Investigations



For Immediate Release

Contact: Harvey E. Morse, Founder- BAI

Voice: 386-547-3600

harvey@ bestpi .com



Local Private Investigator successfully completes requirements and earns the

Designation of “BAI”


The Board of Accredited Investigators, Inc. and lntellenet are proud to announce that Paul Dank.

has completed all of the requirements to be awarded the designation of Board Accredited Investigator (BAI).

To achieve this prestigious designation, the applicant must hold a valid private investigator’s license where required and successfully complete Board approved ongoing training which may be by written exam, specialized courses and the submission of a white paper on an investigative subject not restricted to a particular state. The results of the effort are evaluated and finally approved by peer review. To maintain the designation, the licensee must agree to pursue continuing education on an annual basis in accordance with the strict guidelines of the Board.

“We perform very serious professional investigative services for the public, corporations and the legal community,” said BAI Founder Harvey E. Morse, “and the BAI program allows those who wish to voluntarily establish a higher level of education and credentials to do so, thus gaining recognition and separating themselves from the average investigator.”

Those elite individuals who meet and maintain the highest standards of the investigative profession who successfully complete the extensive program requirements, are ultimately awarded the BAI designation with whom clients can engage assuredly.

Screening a third-party employee

Screening a third-party employee

Screening a Third-Party EmployeeSo many of today’s business responsibilities are outsourced to contractors, freelancers, and temporary workers. This saves companies on overhead and all the costs that are associated with bringing on a full-time, permanent employee. However, while the cost of hiring extended work employee may be reduced, the price you pay by not screening a third-party employee and investigating their credentials with the help of a private investigator could end up costing your business a fortune in the long run.

Why Screening a Third-Party Employee Is Necessary

Workers affiliated with a staffing agency are typically subject to background screenings directly through the agency, which ideally positions their staffers as cleared and legit employees for whichever company needs their assistance. However, there are other groups of outsourced workers who often go without screenings, such as interns, volunteers, unpaid workers, and vendor representatives.

Every person who steps foot in your place of business to carry out a job – whether it’s for your company specifically, or to aid your company (say, a copy machine repairperson) – should be screened. Do you trust your vendors to screen all of their employees so that anyone who comes to your place of business from another company will be on the up and up? Chances are, you don’t have time to conduct such screenings yourself. At certain points it’s necessary to trust the other businesses you’re affiliated with, and at other times it’s critical to take matters into your own hands and conduct your own third-party employee screenings with the assistance of a private investigator.

Here are some things employers should keep in mind when considering third-party employee screenings:

  • Security threats: There is a unique security threat from the extended workforce. Employees in this category are more likely to have a criminal record or a history of drug and alcohol abuse than permanent hires.
  • Checkered pasts: Applicants with a checkered history are more likely to apply for jobs where background checks are not performed so their past actions do not jeopardize their chances for employment. Temporary and contract positions often fit the bill.
  • Accessibility: Third-party workers hired by vendors, like maintenance experts or cleaning crews, often have access to the entirety of a workplace, and they may or may not have been screened by the company that is outsourcing them to your business.
  • Proprietary information: The energy expended on a background check should fit the position. A freelance IT specialist, for example, has access to proprietary information and the life’s blood of your company. A third-party employee screening conducted by a private investigator is essential before inviting anyone into your company’s computer system.

Federal and state background screening laws do exist, but there are a great number of gray areas where the extended work force can fall through the cracks. Neglecting to do a third-party employee screening leaves room for cases of negligence or the exposure of employees, clients, and customers to people with a violent past, convictions, firings, business fraud, and other questionable situations.

Why Hire ASG for Screening a Third-Party Employee?

Many companies that use third-party employees regularly affiliate themselves with staffing agencies or vendors who agree on third-party screening methods that mirror the company’s hiring policy for permanent employees. It is wise to negotiate these terms at the start of a business relationship so that safety on all fronts is always foremost in everyone’s mind and any threats to the workplace environment are minimized. But even in negotiations like this, screenings slip through the cracks and are not conducted as thoroughly as they should be.

The ASG investigative team is prepared to conduct the kind of thorough background check that will ensure the acquisition of high-quality third-party employees at any stage in the hiring process. While not only assigning investigative specialists to your case who are privy to the most pertinent of records in a background investigation, ASG offers a level of legal protection to a company by offering such detailed information about a potential employee. There is also a benefit for future employees – because screening a third-party employee involves notifying the candidate of the investigation, outsourcing this task to a private entity like ASG maintains trust between a business and their new employee.

Why Investigating Employee Misconduct is Not Optional

lone employeeAs professional investigators who work regularly with corporate clients. including HR departments, corporate counsel, security leadership and outside counsel, with new clients, we sometimes encounter some reluctance to hiring a private investigative agency. This leads us to explain why investigating employee misconduct is not optional.

The reluctance always seems to stem from one concern: their will be a negative perception to hiring a PI to spy on one of our employees.

Lets begin with the idea that hiring a professional to investigate an employee is negative. Professional investigators do not spy. They do conduct the appropriate type of investigation to try and prove or disprove an allegation of wrong doing. The reason you are using a PI to do this is because they are the exact tool you need to do the job correctly. This is what they do. They were trained for it. They are court recognized experts at it, etc. etc. The problem lies not in the private investigators, but in the Hollywood portrayal of same. Almost nonstop since the 1960s, television shows have been airing about PIs doing all manner of unrealistic, crazy, unprofessional, unethical things, and are watched by millions. Today’s corporate investigators are far removed from that world, but the perception is that we are reckless and cross the line for our clients. If you are doing even the slightest due diligence on the investigative agency you are planning on working with, you can quickly discern the experts from the small time, spouse chasers who are truly not capable of working on most corporate matters, and even they are not capable of the trouble caused by TV PIs.

To further clarify why hiring a professional investigator is the proper move when facing an allegation of employee misconduct, think of the other options. You can conduct the investigation though your internal staff, but this creates a number of undesirable byproducts and raises some issues too. Whoever performs the investigation will certainly be known forever as the one who gets coworkers fired. No one in your organization will look at them the same. Another issue is the training and experience of the person you select internally and how they may not be qualified to conduct such an investigation. The results may suffer. Personal issues between employees, supervisors, ideas of secondary gain and the like can also cause conflicts with an internally conducted investigation, despite your best intentions. Even if you fall back on the “companies” outside legal counsel to conduct the investigation, it smacks of bias given that they are always on managements side of such matters. In short, getting a qualified outside investigator to conduct an impartial investigation is critical.

Lastly, one can site the need to protect everyone’s interests, from shareholders to managers, from coworkers to the accused, and even outside regulators with compliance needs by using a third party. All of these constituents have a stake in achieving an unbiased outcome to the investigation.

For more information on why investigating employee misconduct is not optional, or to talk with one of our professionals, please call us today at 888-677-69700