Jack Palladino, the private investigator hired by former President Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign to help discredit women claiming extramarital affairs with him, last week suffered a serious head injury after being robbed outside of his San Francisco home.
Palladino, whose celebrity clients have also included Harvey Weinstein, Don Johnson, Kevin Costner, Robin Williams, Huey Newton and Snoop Dogg, fell onto the pavement outside his home when the robber grabbed his new camera from around his neck, the San Francisco Police Department said.
On Sunday, two men were arrested in connection with the robbery. They are Lawrence Thomas, 24, of Pittsburg, and Tyjone Flournoy, 23, of San Francisco, police said.
Palladino and his wife Sandra Sutherland became a private detective team after they met in the mid-1970s while investigating alleged prisoner abuses at a New York prison at the request of the Long Island district attorney.
He had previously been hired by the Hearst family to assist after their daughter Patty was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and interviewed survivors of the Peoples Temple religious cult’s 1978 mass suicide. He also helped protect the credibility of a Big Tobacco whistleblower in the 1990s when the industry tried to smear him.
By Simon Crittle
Only two Colorado private investigator faced discipline for professional misconduct in 2020.
The intriguing result follows a move by Governor Jared Polis to end licensing for Colorado PIs.
The licensing regime will wind up as soon as May after the governor last year vetoed a bill, which would have extending the requirement for another five years.
At the time, some state lawmakers and industry stakeholders were furious at the governor, saying PIs without licenses would be out of control and consumers would suffer.
However, the lack of discipline meted out last year seems to contradict the dire predictions made by the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) and others.
According to the Colorado Department of Regulator Agencies (DORA), which regulates the industry, just two PIs faced discipline last year. Many hundreds of PIs are currently licensed in Colorado.
This blog is withholding information on the two cases until the DORA provides more details.
When issuing his veto last July, Governor Polis said "licensing rarely serves to protect the public from harm, and instead usually served incumbent license-holders as a barrier for entry for new competition including many retired officers of the peace.”
However, then PPIAC president Andrea Orozco issued a press release with the headline, “Consumer BEWARE! Colorado now one of only 5 states that DO NOT require a PI to be licensed!”
“Background checks, surety bonds and demonstrating a knowledge of the laws are no longer in place to protect the public, consumers and subjects of investigations,” said Orozco in the release.
Rep. Jovan Melton, an Aurora Democrat and main sponsor of House Bill 1207 – Sunset Regulation of Private Investigators – at the time said he thought the governor’s veto would hurt the private investigator industry.
“I don’t think the governor made a good decision on this,” Melton told the Colorado Sun. “I think he chose to protect his staff over the people of Colorado.”
Melton was referring to staff working at DORA, which strongly opposed the bill.
In 2019, DORA issued a scathing report which said licensing in Colorado was unnecessary as complaints against PIs were “virtually non-existent.”
“That to me shows the program is working the way it should be,” Melton said after the veto.
The governor’s veto effectively killed off Colorado’s then 9-year-old PI licensing regime as his signature was needed to extend existing regulations for another five years.
In vetoing the bill, Governor Polis, who in 2019 vetoed three other unrelated licensing bills, said “licensing is often not superior to other forms of consumer protection.”
Casey Anthony, famously found not guilty of murdering her two-year-old daughter, Caylee, has started a new private investigation company in Florida.
However, Anthony, 34, is not legally permitted to conduct investigations because she hasn’t even applied for a P.I. license.
To do investigative work in Florida for her West Palm Beach company, Case Research & Consulting Services, Anthony has to obtain a Class C, a process that requires two years of training, a background check and a state exam.
The address listed on the LLC registration document is the home of Florida private investigator, Patrick McKenna, who was lead investigator for Anthony's defense team in the 2011 trial.
Following her sentencing, McKenna told the Palm Beach Post was a flawed person but not a murderer.
“Yeah, she's a liar. Yeah, she's disturbed. She may be a very disturbed young woman, but she ain't no murderer,” McKenna said. “She loved that baby. I think the jury saw that this kid didn’t commit first-degree murder.”
Anthony was found guilty in 2011 of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement.
Anthony didn’t tell authorities she hadn’t seen Caylee for weeks until after the child’s grandmother called police and said Anthony’s car smelled of a dead body.
Six months after she disappeared in 2008, Caylee's skeletal remains were found with a blanket inside a laundry bag in a wooded area near the Anthony family’s house.
PI Beaten Up in Chicago While Conducting Surveillance
A man and his father are facing felony charges after allegedly beating up a private investigator Wednesday, January 20, in suburban Chicago.
Russell Wright, 23, and Steven Wright, 62, allegedly attacked the investigator while he was conducting surveillance for a case.
The Wrights are each charged with felony counts of robbery, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property, the sheriff’s office said.
They allegedly approached the investigator, who was sitting in his car with a camera, and used a vehicle to block his car from escaping, the Lake County sheriff’s office said.
The two men then allegedly forced the car door open, slapped the camera from the investigator’s hands and beat him, the sheriff’s office said.
The PI dialed 911 but one of the men grabbed his phone and smashed it on the ground, the sheriff’s office said.
The call still went through and deputies were dispatched to the area, the sheriff’s office said. Both Wright men were arrested at the scene.
The investigator was not surveilling the pair when the attack happened and had let the sheriff’s office know he would be in the area. There is no known connection between the two parties, the sheriff’s office said.
Steven and Russell Wright were being held at the Lake County Jail on $40,000 bail.
PI Helps Cops Solve 52-Year-Old Murder Mystery
It took more than five decades but authorities have solved a 1969 cold case murder with the help of a private investigator.
In March, 1969 Leroy Ortiz, a promising boxer, left his Ogden, Utah, home and was never seen again. His mother watched her son leave with two unidentified “young” adults.
His body was found about three weeks later in a diversion dam.
Ortiz’s family said Leroy was known as a championship boxer, not a street fighter.
“He was a boxer and never was looking for any fights outside the ring,” said his brother Arnold Ortiz.
He was preparing for the national championships when he disappeared.
The missing persons case turned into a murder investigation after his body was found.
The family’s private investigator recently met with authorities and witnesses.
“He was shot in the back with a single round and he died instantly,” said PI Jason Jensen. “He was shot as he was trying to escape because he was bound to a chair.”
At the time, police had possible suspects but there was never anyone arrested and the case was scaled back, upsetting the Ortiz family.
For 52-years, the family of Leroy Ortiz lived with the thought that his killer was still out there and they couldn’t get justice.
But now authorities are convinced they now know who murdered Ortiz.
It was a man by the name of Raymond Norman who died in 1995. Norman was an acquaintance of Rios in 1969 and reportedly admitted to the murder before he died.
PI Accused Of Taking $3 Million From Elderly Woman
A private investigator from Miami is accused of swindling nearly $3 million from an elderly woman in Boca Raton, in an elaborate scheme involving the creation of a fictitious federal agent through the use of voice altering technology.
According to federal court records, the elderly victim hired the suspect, Jeffrey Spivack, in 2014 to look into whether her ex-husband had her under surveillance.
Federal investigators say Spivack instead weaved a tale to take advantage of the woman's money and her "diminished mental acuity." The woman had brain cancer and suffered from a stroke in 2017.
Court records show Spivack made the woman believe she’d receive $200 million from the government as a whistleblower in a fraud investigation involving her ex-husband.
The woman paid Spivack $500,000 to cover his expenses in locating assets of her ex-husband in one unnamed foreign country. Investigators say Spivack used the money to travel.
Investigators say Spivack then created a fictitious undercover agent named “Donna” and used voice altering technology to make his voice sound like a woman. Spivack then introduced Donna to the elderly woman.
Investigators said Donna, according to the criminal affidavit, asked the elderly woman to withdraw money from her investment accounts and deposit the money into Spivack’s accounts.
Are you ready to take the plunge into the world of private investigations, but aren't quite sure how to start?
Then you might want to take part in a training institute being held by the Professional Private Investigator Association of Colorado (PPIAC) on February 26 and 27.
Called the Colorado Investigative Development Institute, the training event will be free for PPIAC members and $200 for guest.
If you join the PPIAC by February 1, you can take part for free.
“Invest some time in your career to hear from seasoned private investigators that have learned the best ways to operate in this industry,” says the institute flier.
“Classes are all online and include Q&A time to ask questions.”
Some of the topics covered include:
· PI Business Basics/Marketing
· The Law & The P.I.
· Background Investigations
· Ethics and Qualities of an Investigator
· Public Records
· Case Management & Data Security
· Financial Investigations
· Subcontracting: Client or Colleague
· Properly Vetting a Case
· Report Writing and Invoicing
Attendees will have access to resources including the CIDI Magazine, access to investigative experts, and will receive a certificate of completion.
Go to this link to register: https://ppiac.org/event-4098740
A private investigator hired to look into supposed voter fraud has been arrested in Texas for running an air conditioner repairman off the road.
Mark Aguirre, a former Houston police captain, believed the repairman, David Lopez-Zuniga, was transporting 750,000 fake ballots. In fact, all he had in his truck was air conditioner parts and tools.
The 63-year-old PI was hired to investigate supposed voter fraud by a conservative nonprofit group.
The incident took place on October 19 just after Lopez-Zuniga left home for his early morning commute, when he noticed an SUV driven by Aguirre behind him.
Moments later, the SUV swerved alongside the passenger’s side, striking the truck and forcing Lopez-Zuniga to the side of a highway.
There, he said, Aguirre feigned an injury before ordering Lopez-Zuniga to the ground at gunpoint.
“I was very scared,” Lopez-Zuniga told The Washington Post. “I didn’t know who this person was.”
A subsequent investigation led to Aguirre’s arrest on December 15. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and plead not guilty. His lawyer says the case is politically motivated.
Despite repeated allegations of widespread voter fraud by President Trump in the 2020 presidential election, campaign lawyers have failed to overturn the election result.
Texas lawmakers have been relentless in their bid to stop Joe Biden becoming president.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to consider a Texas case claiming election irregularities, saying Texas did not have legal standing to sue battleground states Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, over their handling of the election.
In the annals of true crime, the case of missing Salida mother, Suzanne Morphew, has recently captured the national imagination. America’s whodunnit sub-culture, a diverse collection of amateur sleuths and crime story geeks, is snooping around the intriguing case and is determined to figure out what really happened.
Not since JonBenet Ramsey’s 1996 death, in an upmarket Boulder home, has the internet rumor mill been so focused on a Colorado mystery. How, the true crimers agonize, could an everyday, suburban mom just up and vanish. And of course, they ask, who, if anyone, might know where Suzanne is?
The 49-year-old mother of two was last seen on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020, when it is speculated she disappeared while taking an innocent bike ride. Later that evening, a neighbor alerted authorities when didn’t return home.
A search turned up Suzanne’s bicycle along with an additional “personal item.” Investigators have not described the personal item or released information about the condition of the bike.
Authorities also scoured a nearby body of water while investigators searched for clues and removed bags of evidence at the Morphew family home, where she lived with her husband and two teenage daughters.
True crime junkie, Jill Miller, better known by her YouTube moniker, Jill the Private Investigator, told this blog the case caught her attention because it seemed very odd that a mother would go missing on Mother’s Day.
“It just seemed so sinister,” says Miller who has made several videos about Suzanne’s disappearance. “A lot of information has been coming out. That’s what kind of drew me to it. I wanted to find out the when, where and why to this case.”
Miller, who is based in Kentucky and is currently studying to get her PI license, said her fascination with the case had driven her to contact several of Suzanne’s friends.
“From what I understand, Suzanne was just the sweetest, most passive, soft-spoken human being.”
But as the search continues, scuttlebutt about the case has gripped Salida’s bars and art galleries, and, at the same time, generated endless chatter across the country on true crime websites and podcasts such as True Crime Daily, True Crime All The Time, Stitcher and Murder Murder News.
The case has also drawn national coverage in tabloid outlets including People magazine, the New York Post and the Daily Mail.
Former Colorado Springs police lieutenant, Joe Kenda, star of Investigation Discovery show, Homicide Hunter, says true crime resonates for a number of reasons.
“For thousands of years, people have gathered around the fire and said, ‘Tell me a story,’” he says. “If you tell it well, they’ll ask you tell another one. If you can tell a story about real people involved in real things, that draws their interest more.”
As in the infamous Laci Peterson case, the pregnant woman whose remains washed up on the shore of San Francisco Bay in 2002, much of the gossip about Suzanne’s disappearance has focused on the husband: in this case, Barry Morphew.
In the days after Suzanne went missing, Barry, who says he has been interviewed for more than 30 hours by law enforcement, posted an emotion video on Facebook where he pleaded for his wife’s safe return.
“Oh, Suzanne. If anyone is out there that can hear this, that has you, please, we'll do whatever it takes to bring you back. We love you. We miss you. Your girls need you. No questions asked, however much they want. I will do whatever it takes to get you back.”
While this blog does not suggest Barry is responsible for Suzanne’s disappearance – authorities say they have no suspects – many others have, joining the dots with speculation and colorful tidbits.
They think Barry’s alibi is curious – he was far away in Broomfield on a Mother’s Day Sunday to carry out a minor landscaping job. The hotel room he stayed in on the trip smelled of chlorine. And construction noise was heard in the middle of the night, the day before Suzanne went missing, at a property connected to Barry.
Says Jill the Private Investigator, “Every time he came out on the news it was to defend himself against people like myself. He says the media is making him out to be a bad guy. But I’m sorry, it’s his words and actions causing it.”
For their part, the Chaffee County Sheriff, the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, have released little information about their joint six-month-old investigation. The white noise has prompted criticism about their commitment to bringing Suzanne home.
“While the public may not see all of the effort being put forth in this case,” said a defensive local sheriff, John Spezze, in a recent press release. “I can assure the community that this investigation continues to move forward.”
The sheriff continued by listing data points to make his case – 1,123 tips received, 180 interviews conducted in Colorado and other states, 130-plus searches conducted and 4,000 hours spent by investigators on the case.
But, so many lament, still no sign of Suzanne.
A law that will allow Coloradans to have documents notarized remotely is a step closer to becoming permanent now that Secretary of State Jena Griswold has adopted amendments to Colorado Notary Program Rules, including remote notarization rules to implement Senate Bill 20-096.
The rules will become temporarily effective on December 31, 2020, and then permanently effective 20 days after publication in the Colorado Register.
In the interim, the emergency remote notarization rules adopted on October 15, 2020, will continue to enable Coloradans to have access to notary services without in-person contact up to December 31, 2020.
For the Notice of Permanent and Temporary Adoption for the Colorado Notary Program Rules (8 CCR 1505-11), please click here. The notice includes the adopted rules, a statement of basis, and statement of justification. For an unofficial copy of the notary rules as adopted December 1, 2020 and effective December 31,2020, please click here.
For the Provider Protocols (December 1, 2020 version), standards that are incorporated by reference in the proposed rules, please click here.
The provider application will be available here. On December 15, 2020, the remote notary application, training and exam information, and updated FAQs will also be available on the Notary Program webpage. To access the remote notary application, notaries may login to their notary accounts.
To have questions answered on rulemaking, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general notary public inquiries and questions concerning implementation of the new rules, contact the notary program at 303-894-2200 and email@example.com.
This blog first reported on the new remote notary law in June, reversing the long-standing practice of requiring people to be in a notary’s physical presence.
“This legislation provides certainty to Colorado’s people and businesses that remote notary services will continue to be available in the future,” says Jena Griswold, Colorado Secretary of State, said at the time.
The US Department of Labor Statistics says private investigators earn on average just over $50,000 a year or about $25 an hour. Of course, some earn a lot more. As good as this might sound, you should know that not everyone who wants to be a PI actually ends up becoming one. Some say that only one in 10 who try to enter the industry actually ends up as a PI.
So before you imagine yourself as the next Magnum PI or Remington Steele, you should first figure out whether or not you are cut out for the job. One thing you should realize is that real-life PIs don't actually live the kind of exciting life that TV private investigators do. In fact, investigators often spend them time tediously digging through documents and records in order to get something they can use.
People who really want to be a PI also have to undergo extensive training in order to hone their investigative skills. While some firms will consider applicants without college degrees, those who have a degree in criminal justice, for example, are often preferred. You should have of knowledge regarding the law to succeed in the field, which is probably why retired law enforcement personnel often find themselves becoming PIs after their career as cops.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, and in order for you to survive the life of a PI, you also need to have a skill-set that most people in this industry already have. Knowledge of the law and knowing how to find evidence are just two of the things you need to have in your arsenal. Some PIs need to know how to operate surveillance equipment, be a quick thinker when you find yourself in sticky situations, and, in rare cases, know how to defend yourself.
You also need to have infinite patience since a lot of surveillance work involves hours of sitting in one place for hours, waiting for your target to appear or do something. Being adept at asking questions is a plus to have since this will help you get pertinent information and answers from witnesses. Having good organizational skills are also a must in this industry since you will need to take detailed notes when you are investigating something.
Being able to analyze things effectively, having problem solving skills, and a natural curiosity are also crucial to the success of a PI. And that’s not all. To succeed in this field, you need to be open to constantly learning. New ideas, new technologies, new laws, and new investigative methods will pop up every now and then, and you need to be receptive to learning all of these.
If you are still interested in becoming a private eye after reading this, you may have what it takes after all. Just remember you're not a peace officer and don't have anywhere near the privileges of a cop. Also keep in mind that no matter how skilled or how effective you are at your work, the job has its limitations too.
Good luck out there!
A desperate Colorado Springs family plans to hire a private investigator to locate Christine Pierce, a well-known local musician, who has been missing since October 16.
Pierce’s niece Sabrina Cooke described her aunt as a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and much-loved drummer in the Colorado Springs band, Riverbottom.
“No one has been able to find her despite numerous searches and an extensive community dedicated to bringing her home,” said Cooke.
“We as a family have decided that our next step is to hire a private investigator to help us further the search.”
Pierce was last seen by friends near her downtown apartment.
When she didn’t respond to a bandmate, several days later, who routinely picked her up for rehearsal, her friends became concerned and reached out to her family, who contacted police.
Bandmate Brian Krewson said: “She has not missed a day of rehearsal without calling me or calling somebody in four years.”
A spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Police Department said they were working the case every day.
“We do have active and new leads we are working at this time,” the spokesperson said.
Regarding concerns Pierce might have met with of foul play, police would not respond other than to say they are looking at every possibility, as they do in all missing persons cases.
But members of a growing Facebook page, are becoming describing Pierce as a “creature of habit” who they couldn’t imagine “running away.”
The Facebook page members have taken to posting pictures of porches illuminated with pink light, Pierce’s favorite color, and have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for the private investigator.
Today’s world is complicated: companies are becoming more powerful than nations, the lines between public and corporate institutions grow murkier, and the internet is shredding our privacy. To combat these onslaughts, people everywhere — rich and not so rich, in business and in their personal lives — are turning away from traditional police, lawyers, and government regulators toward a new champion: the private investigator.
So says renowned PI, Tyler Maroney, in a new book “The Modern Detective: How Corporate Intelligence is Shaping the World.” Maroney, cofounder of the private investigation firm Quest Research & Investigations, who has worked at Kroll Associates and Mintz Group, says in his book PIs are more than ever being called upon to catch corrupt politicians, track down international embezzlers, and mine reams of data to reveal which CEOs are lying.
“The tools (I) and other private investigators use are a mix of the traditional and the cutting edge, from old phone records to computer forensics to solid street-level investigative work,” says Moroney whose investigations have been featured in documentaries on HBO and Amazon Prime Video and have been profiled in Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Fast Company. “The most useful assets private investigators have . . . are their resourcefulness and their creativity.”
Each of the investigations Maroney explores in the book highlights an individual case and the people involved, and in each episode he explains how the transgressors were caught and what lessons can be learned. Whether the clients is a Middle Eastern billionaire whose employees stole millions from him or the director of a private equity firm wanting a background check on a potential hire who happens to be felon, in each case PIs were hired PIs to solve problems the authorities wouldn't touch..
In a complete change of pace, another new PI book worth a read is a novel by one-time investigator Elizabeth Breck called “Anonymous: A Madison Kelly Mystery.” The book was inspired by Breck’s personal experience of following the story of the Golden State Killer, which she tweeted regularly about, wondering aloud who the perpetrator might be. Then one night, lying in bed, the thought flashed through her head that the killer might not appreciate her musings.
“I jumped out of bed and deleted all my tweets,” said Breck. Her mind still racing, she wondered what would happen if a killer tracked down an investigator who was closing in. Fortunately for Breck, the real-life killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, was caught in 2018 and plead guilty to 13 murders. In the meantime, she had the inspiration for her first book.
The novel, centering on fictional PI Madison Kelly, was released this month. In the first few pages, Kelly comes home to find an unsigned note that reads, “Stop investigating me or I will hunt you down and kill you.” Problem is, Kelly is not investigating anyone. “In order to find out who sent the note, she has to do what the note tells her not to do,” Breck said.
The book gets its authenticity from Breck’s experience as a PI. “I put in the book actual things that have happened in the line of my work. Every time I had Madison do something, it’s what I would have done. She gets information by pretending to be someone else, which I do all the time. I’ve read about 10,000 mysteries, and it always frustrates me when the PI does something they would never actually do.” She also wanted the book to reflect her experiences as a female PI. “I’ve been told my whole career, ‘You don’t look like a PI,’ and I always reply, ‘Isn’t that the point?’
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