July 2018
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"Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it."

-  Samuel Johnson (found at searchquotes.com)

We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide you this valuable information. We take special care to ensure the information we provide you in "Tracings" is the latest and most current information available. In this edition, we address using surveillance to investigative a suspicious insurance claim, with a case study and an article on best practices and protocols for investigators.
The goal of this e-newsletter is to provide you with critical information that will help you prevail in your business affairs wherever fact finding is an essential component. We will share what we have learned in our 30+ years as professional investigators and intelligence analysts.

We want to write about topics that will assist you in succeeding in your business endeavors. Please e-mail us your topics of interest to
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The Trace Team

The Mechanic: An Insurance Defense Investigation
Burke Pangburn (all names have been changed) had been drawing temporary disability checks for several months when Trace Investigations received a call from the claims manager of the transportation company where he had been a heavy equipment mechanic for several years. The company was self-insured and the claims manager, Jeanne Delano, had received a tip that Pangburn was operating an engine repair business out of a shop space in one of his garage bays. He had injured his back at work, prompting the disability claim, so any activity we could document would vitiate or mitigate the extent of his alleged injury. Jeanne authorized three days of surveillance to start the investigation.

The claimant's residence was in a busy neighborhood with several small businesses in the area, with a lot of daily traffic and plenty of on-street parking. We initiated a surveillance early one morning and at nine o'clock sharp Pangburn exited a side door of his home and proceeded to a large garage near the house. As he opened one of the doors our investigator captured the activity on video, including the inside of the garage showing his shop set-up. About five minutes after nine, a pickup truck pulled into the garage's driveway, pulling a trailer carrying a... Read More

art2Best Practices of a Surveillance Investigation
The investigation of suspicious insurance claims has been well established as a legitimate and necessary practice in the defense of fraudulent claims. Over the years, case law has developed that supports surveillance investigations when conducted in a legal manner. Whenever investigative activity, including surveillance, is challenged by a claimant or plaintiff counsel, it will most likely involve, for example, a charge of invasion of privacy, trespass, unfair claims practice or bad faith, or emotional distress. An excellent article on best practices when conducting insurance defense investigations was recently authored by a colleague of Trace Investigations, Jay Groob of American Investigative Services in Brookline, Massachusetts. Jay's article first appeared in PI Magazine and more recently in the Winter 2018 edition of the quarterly newsletter of the International Intelligence Network. A sidebar in the Intellenet newsletter details the protocols we at Trace Investigations also apply to our surveillance investigations; and we quote:
  • All surveillance, shadowing, trailing, or following must be conducted in a reasonable manner and unobtrusively.
  • Never engage in any activity that is, or could be perceived as, harassment of the subject.
... Read More