Seven Ways A P.I. Firm Can Locate Hidden Assets And Income

It is unfortunately common that a parent will lie about employment, income, and bank accounts just to avoid paying child support, a garnishment, or other obligation. A private investigations firm has several great tools that are court-admissible that can help restore responsibility to those shirking their obligations and debts. Jonathan Kraut gives us the different ways a private investigation firm aid in persecuting people guilty of hiding their assets and income to bypass the system. He provides examples of cases he has worked on before that require them to investigate people’s records, background, and other information to prove the crime.

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Seven Ways A P.I. Firm Can Locate Hidden Assets And Income

Learn How A P.I. Firm Can Find Hidden Assets And Verify Employment

Our discussion is how to locate concealed income for your case. First, let’s define concealed income. I want to mention that this applies to a lot of people who have issues, especially with collections, child support, alimony, spousal support, business garnishments and so forth. Concealed income is defined as a family member, a partner, like a business partner or a romantic partner or associate parent, spouse, a nonprofit volunteer who is either underreporting, embezzling or lying about the income that they are making. The income could be passed through a company. It could be passed through another person. It could be cash. It could be other kinds of earnings. It could be through a business or a personal activity.

It’s basically income that is concealed or not represented accurately. Criminal conduct often does apply to conceal income. The purpose for someone concealing income could be as varied as there are people, but generally, it’s for avoiding child support, alimony or spousal support, tax evasion which is essentially tax-free money, maintaining benefits through the government. For example, if someone makes too much, they will lose some benefits. They’re underreporting their benefit, maybe for government subsistence, for some kinds of funding. When someone is seeking outside support because of underreporting, for example, they want medical care, some government subsidies and they may be lying, it could be for revenge, spite or control to state that they are not making as much money or earning as much income.

Finally, and possibly in many cases, the purpose of concealing income could be for greed to bring in money to themselves. If it’s through a position of trust, it would be called embezzlement which is a crime of felony. In addition to grand theft, there are a lot of crimes associated with taking money or concealing money that is not theirs or should not be concealed.

Seven Ways To Locate Hidden Assets

What does the court need to see? The court does not just say, “You told us they’re concealing money. We’ll assume that what you’re saying is true.” That doesn’t happen. The court will want to see recent or current pay stubs, but with the person who’s earning income, the court could ask for pay stubs or an attorney could subpoena them. The court will get them.

Why is that important? If somebody was working a year ago and they say, “I’m no longer working there. I left the job. I’m unemployed,” a recent bank statement or a recent pay stub that would contradict that, for example, “Two weeks ago, and for every two weeks, for last year, here are your pay stubs. You’ve been paid.” “I forgot about that. I forgot that I was working. I didn’t know.” I’ve heard them. Some of the people in court say, “I forgot I was working. I didn’t know they still pay me.” Bank accounts, bank deposits are great evidence, also current and recent business interaction. For example, one time we had a gentleman who said he was unemployed. His wife was seeking child support for their son and he said, “I’m not working at all. I have no income. I’m destitute and therefore I can’t pay any child support.”

Locating Hidden Assets: Concealed income is defined as a family member or a partner who is either under-reporting or embezzling or lying about the income that they are making.

In fact, we found his business online. We asked him to come to a location to do an estimate on an account. He showed up wearing his logo for the company he supposedly does not work with, driving a car with the logos on the car for the company he no longer works with, offering us a contract with a company he no longer is working with. They gave me three references for recent jobs that he just completed business at which I called, and we subpoenaed them in court. Those individuals showed up and said, “Here’s my contract with him. He’s working on my project right now.” That was fantastic. That’s a recent and current business activity.

Recent usually is within a month or two. Some courts say, “That’s three months ago. Anything could have happened since then.” You want to have it very recent. Recent clients, partners, employees who will state, “Yes, he’s my boss. He just paid me. Here’s a copy of my check.” That would be great. Any recent and personal expenditures related to business or activity, for example, paying a commission or fee or subcontractor are all evidence the work was being done and photo evidence. Another gentleman said, “I’m not working anymore. I’m an inspector and I can’t do the work. I can’t walk and so forth. I can’t pay my fair share.” In fact, we saw him on a construction site with a hard hat and a vest with a hammer belt walking around, checking on other people and we filmed it.

He didn’t know that we were there. When he said, “I don’t work. I swear to that. I say under oath I’m not working.” We showed a video to the judge three days prior that he was on the job inspecting and working. The job that he got, he didn’t report. The judge got pissed. Everything was fair and came outright. The guy was caught and he was very good after that. Sometimes it takes getting caught for someone to be held responsible. Why the attorney is critical is because the right attorney can make or break your case. The wrong attorney can definitely break your case. The attorney that you hire or if you have one should approve what kind of investigation is performed and what the investigation firms should do.

For example, if we were told by an attorney to go and follow this guy and see where he works, film that, that may be one kind of criteria. Let’s say it’s a woman working in an office setting and all we need to do is call her up on the phone, call the business office, film our calling of her that she answers the phone. We can’t record what she says on the other side, but we can film what we say to her and verify that phone number and verify, “Are you so-and-so? I want to send you an email. What’s your email?” We repeat it back to her. “What’s your position?” We repeat it back to her. The filming is of us talking to her. That is admissible in court, but the attorneys would direct us as to how to be effective and what is in their strategy.

Why is the right attorney very important also? They do create a multifaceted strategy. They often don’t say, “Get this one thing,” and that’s it. We want to approach it from several angles so that there’s no way for the other side to squeak around it and to creep past it and pretend that they didn’t know. We want to trap them in every possible way. A good attorney will issue subpoenas. A PI firm like ours cannot issue a subpoena. It has to come from an attorney. That document, that subpoena or witness goes before the court and the court will decide if it’s admissible or not. The court will read the documents that are subpoenaed like bank statements or employment records or pay stubs. The court will also review or interview the veracity, which means the probability that that witness is of value and necessary for the hearing.

The right attorney will provide court-admissible evidence, will prepare for us a list of things to look for and should act with plenty of time in advance. One thing that we hate as a PI firm is to be called at 4:00 and say, “We’ve got three subpoenas. We’ve got an hour to serve them because the hearing is tomorrow.” Attorneys should know a couple of weeks in advance. I’d say 2 to 3 weeks is the right window. Anything under five days is getting tight. Good attorneys are thinking with time on their side to their advantage and they’re not in a hurry. Everything is done methodically. What if that person is not there? What if they moved? We have to have time for those contingencies.

Good attorneys also act with focus. They’re professional. They’re organized. They know what motions to file. They’re not caught by surprise. There should be nothing in court that’s a surprise to a good attorney. They should be ready for pretty much anything. If they’re not ready, it is our job as a PI firm to help them get ready. They also use the information gathered. One horrible story we have is we did catch a woman cheating on her husband with several men. We’ve got a great film. We’ve got testimony. We’ve got hotel bills. We’ve got them making out at the bar. We’ve got all this stuff. The attorney decided he’d rather settle to make some agreement and the client never had their rights represented fully because the attorney who wanted to get out of it was willing to cut a deal. Unfortunately, that happened and we’re very disappointed. We love to gather the information that’s valuable and especially that’s used.

Sometimes, it takes getting caught for someone to be held responsible. Share on X

Any good PI firm will want to have their information used in court. That’s why we’re there. Why is the right PI firm critical? We know why the attorney is critical. They’re the ones in court talking. Basically, the person or agency that executes the documents and subpoenas is a PI firm. Law firms can mail things out and sometimes that subpoena is not admissible. Usually, it must be served in person to somebody, usually to the individual named in the subpoena or to a bank or an employer for records or documents. Mailing it in does not always work and sometimes can be challenged. PI firms will issue the subpoena to a person to execute a real service.

PI firms locate and find witnesses. A lot of times the address is wrong. People are hiding. They won’t answer the door. The Sheriff’s Office knocks on the door and nobody answers. We’ll go above and beyond that and wait for them. We’ll do things to get them to come out. We always know what it would be but I don’t want to say. We also can take statements. We help issue affidavits for the person. Let’s say an individual is a witness in a case about money that’s stolen or business dealings that were concealed. We’ll get an affidavit from a person who will help write it up, give it to the law firm or the attorney to dress it up a little bit and go back and have the person sign it. That may prevent them from having to testify in court, yet the concealed income or money in question has been identified by a third party.

We may run databases looking for DBAs, which is Doing Business As, businesses under other names or other entities, nomenclatures that are somehow missing from a person’s report to the court as to where their income is coming from. We have the ability to run FICA or a broker search for bank accounts under certain circumstances. We can conduct court searches. Let’s say someone is concealing their income by having a business that they didn’t disclose. There are ways for us to find out in any state through the secretary of state and other means that they are in business and we can get certified documents from the secretary of state that is them, they’re in business, and this is the name that they’re going after.

We can get the attorney to issue a subpoena which we’ll serve. The whole thing is wide open and the truth comes out. We can also conduct covert activities, meaning they may not see us filming. They may not know that we’re gathering records and information. They may not know that we’re serving subpoenas until it’s already served. We can also pose as another person. This is exciting. The example that I gave about how I was pretending to be someone in need of services, calling someone to come out and give us an estimate or bid. We didn’t need the services, but we’re pretending that we are in need. That is a perfect example of how the right PI firm can help out.

Admissible Versus Inadmissable Evidence

What does the court consider admissible? Independently verifiable evidence gathered in public view or through proper means is admissible. What do we mean by independently verifiable? It’s a picture that does not rely on our testimony, video or recording. It’s something that the electronic device has captured in addition to us saying that it is true. That’s a good example. A subpoenaed document, for example, pay stubs or it could be their employment file. That’s not based on what we say that’s independently verifiable, that information came from either the bank, the company, brokerage firm or something like that.

Eyewitness testimony, as investigators, we can testify as to what we saw, what we heard, where we were, what time of day was it, where we parked or sitting or standing. That is not hearsay. We were present. We saw it and that is admissible. Witnesses that are eyewitnesses, they are admissible. Video and photographic evidence that I mentioned. A lot of times, a private person, friend or neighbor will go and follow or film. Sometimes that is not admissible. It should be by a licensed agency whose job is to gather information. Private data gathered in an illegal manner, for example, a bank account search or brokerage firm search gathered in a certain way is admissible. We can’t hack into their databases and pull it that way. Once we broke the law to get information, it’s not admissible and subpoenaed records. Those are things that are admissible in court.

Locating Hidden Assets: It’s important when talking about money and concealed income to make sure that all your information evidence is admissible.

The court will often ignore the following: fragments or old data, pieces of information that are incomplete, old records, which could be several months, maybe 3 or 4, photos and videos prepared by non-licensed persons, which could be tainted and maybe it was gathered illegally. Incidental evidence, for example, somebody booked an airline ticket, they printed it out, they left it out. It seems to be for a business deal but we don’t know. We can’t prove that that person flew there. We don’t know why they’re going there. We don’t know if it’s for business or for whatever reason. That’s incidental. We have to tie it all in together to make it something the court will take seriously. Affidavits from persons not in court, a lot of times a person must appear and verify that is their affidavit.

Cross-Examination And Sanctions

Sometimes the court will allow it to go through. Sometimes the other side, by law, should have an opportunity to have that person cross-examined by both parties. Information not provided in time, there are a few cases where information was acquired and was not submitted in the time required through a witness list and so many days where both sides have to name and the witness will appear. That time period was missed and those people can’t show up. It’s important, especially when you’re talking about money and concealed income to make sure that all your information evidence is admissible. What types of rulings might be possible? There could be arrearages with interest.

For example, someone has a child support hearing. It is found the other party has been concealing income for two years. It’s determined what that income is. It’s determined what the proper child support should have been paid. The judge could order that amount plus interest in arrears, meaning going backward, be paid from the time where it was determined that they were concealing income. There’s something called sanctions, which I love. Sanctions are ordered by the court for the other side, the losing party, essentially who concealed to pay penalties, maybe pay legal fees, maybe pay and often the investigation fees. If we were hired, for example, our bill is $2,000 to do what we have to do. If it’s found that the other person, through our work, was concealing, it’s very likely that the party hiring us will get reimbursed by the other party for the work that we had to do to prove that they lied. That’s pretty common.

The court could have penalties. Some penalties could be a multiplier, like 3, 5 or 7 times. I’ve even had ten where the court ordered it. Let’s say our fee was $2,000, the court ordered the other party to pay ten times that amount, $20,000 to the other party for causing them to hire us and pay us to prove that the other party was lying or was concealing income. Sometimes the judge will order or an agreement will be made that the clock starts at the time of the hearing. They don’t go back in time. They just started today. That’s not fair. Let’s say we proved that someone concealed their income for a year, but sometimes the judge says, “It just started from today.” That’s very unfair, but we’ve had that as a common ruling.

The judges don’t often like to go back in time. They just say, “From now on, this is what you have to do.” Sometimes even though we’ve proven our case, there are no sanctions, no arrearages and no interest. Sometimes the judge says, “The tax return is what I use. Even though you’ve proven this person has falsified their tax form, I’m going to go with their tax form.” We’ve had that on several occasions. What we do then is ask the other party to file the complaint with the IRS. The IRS does an audit. The tax forms are amended. The amended forms are given to the judge, and the judge has to go back and make it fair and have the person pay arrearages with interest.

Good attorneys have time on their side, do things methodically, act with focus, and are not caught by surprise. Share on X

Providing Additional Information After The Hearing Process

Our situation with locating concealed income doesn’t end with the hearing process. There are some investigations that work extremely valuable, very helpful after the hearing, and I’ll list them for you. Let’s say not enough evidence was provided in the hearing. We don’t just go home and stop. We want to keep going. We want to provide additional information to move the court towards what is a fair and proper ruling. Let’s say that the ruling was not consistent with the facts. We’ve had that on occasion where for whatever reason, the ruling did not equal the facts that we’re aware of. We have to go back, get more and maybe prepare it in a different way so the attorney can say, “There’s new information, new evidence. Look at it this way.” A lot of times, that gives the judge an out perhaps for forgetting or missing something, which is not common.

If it does happen, you want to let the judge come to realize that on his or her own without being embarrassed. We want to prove that rulings were ignored. A lot of times, there are rulings that are issued and the party ordered to perform or do certain things does not do it, we will prove that they did not do it. For example, they’re ordered to make payments and they don’t pay. They’re ordered to pay us and reimburse us for the cost of our work and reimburse us. They’re ordered to reveal more information about their accounts and they don’t do it. We’ll help with that. We also want to keep the opposition compliant. They know we’re watching. They know we’re checking that has a miracle all over it. A lot of times they suddenly get compliant, get better and the opposition does what they’re supposed to do. We want to keep them honest and keep it fair, but we want them to do what the court orders them to do.

We want to gather new information that may not have been previously known. More information may come out later and we want to stay on top of it. Generally, a PI firm will support a client all the way through the case, through the hearing and usually for another year or two, we’re on-call or available to help continue the process, especially regarding what I mentioned. I hope this was informative and helpful. If you have any questions at all, my firm and my staff are available as am I. Our website is where there’s more information. You can also give us a call. Remember that having the right attorney and the right PI firm can make a big difference in your case. Sometimes it’s not how much they charge, it’s how hardworking and how diligent they are. I want you all to remember that information is power. Good decisions start with great information and our firm and other PI firms like us are available to help at any time. Thank you so much.

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Possible Domestic Abuse Remedies

Not every relationship with domestic abuse has to end in tragedy or divorce or continue for years of torment. Understanding how to get yourself out of it the right way with the proper support may help lead to a better outcome. Host, Jonathan Kraut, helps with that by sharing the remedies to possible domestic abuse. He breaks down the seven different ways a private investigation firm could aid or support in handling or preventing domestic abuse situations. Find out more about possible ways to help resolve unwanted interpersonal conduct in this episode.

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Possible Domestic Abuse Remedies

Discover Several Possible Remedies That Can Help Resolve Unwanted Interpersonal Conduct

In this show, we’ll be discussing seven ways a PI firm supports domestic abuse victims. This is put on by myself, Jonathan Kraut and Net Check Investigations. Our California PI license number is 21529. First, let’s define domestic abuse. We use the term abuse, not violence because abuse can be manipulation, emotional control, removal of assets and property, keeping someone from contacting their friends and neighbors. There’s a lot more than just violence, which implies physical contact. Domestic abuse is defined as a family member, partner or potential partner who has negative or destructive or even immature conduct relating to their partner or family member. Both parties can be abusers and victims. In other words, we’re not assigning one person as a permanent role. Either party can fill those positions or sometimes the individuals do alternate or swap roles.

In many cases, this conduct or behavior would be constituting a criminal act or crime. It is ongoing, typically not once in twenty years, but something that happens over time again and again and intensifying with time. We also want to review that domestic abuse is generally learned behavior. Most of the behavior picked up is as a child or as being socialized or viewed by a person when they’re growing up. It can also be passed down from person to person like a disease. Some countries, for example, Japan has almost no abusive acts of rape, whereas countries like Brazil, rape of a woman to become her boyfriend or her husband are common. In Japan, it almost never exists. We know that behavior is learned and passed on from person to person. Otherwise, abusive conduct would be the same in every country, in every population.

Imprinting and showing conduct to another person is transferred that way is also common. Trauma or traumatic events can cause this imprinting and eventually post-traumatic stress at any age. It doesn’t have only to be a young person. I want to state that domestic violence is a narrow term. It should be called domestic abuse, which includes emotional control or emotional issues that are transferred from person to person. A typical abuser characteristic is generally the abusers blame the victim for everything. “It’s your fault. You made me do it. I had no choice. You didn’t clean the house well. If you’d only earn more money,” and so on. Abusers generally make judgments and set the rules.

For example, an abuser may say, “I told you what to do. You didn’t listen to me. This is when you can go out. This is who you call.” Those are typical abuser comments. Abusers tend to ignore the needs of others. They put their focus on their needs and their feelings. Abusers could often be described as being immature and their conduct may be childlike. Typical victim characteristics, victims often take the blame and responsibility for what the abuser does. One common comment is, “I try to make him or her better. I did my best.” Those are signs of someone accommodating or trying to take the blame for what the abuser does.

Many victims have tremendous noble characteristics, a lot of patience and willingness to help. In fact, these noble characteristics often lead towards being victimized. Victim traits are common among health care professionals, teachers, nurturers and those with a big heart. Unfortunately, those were the greatest traits of all. I’m often our victim of abuse because they’re trying to accommodate and make better the misconduct of another person. We want to get into some new stuff, things that we haven’t talked about before.

A typical abuser characteristic is victim blaming. Share on X

A refresher is there are five abuser traits or general characteristics, the cycle of violence type. If you haven’t heard that, these are common interactions that are negative over time. Typically, there’s some discomfort or some tension which erupts at some point in violence and then the abuser asks for forgiveness, “I’ll never do it again. I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened to me.” Not only does it happen again, but each time it tends to get more and more intense. There is the sadistic type, which tortures, maims, cuts, hurts, burns not only children and pets which are innocent, but also bystanders, neighbors. The purpose is to put the victim in fear. The controlling type who wants to control every aspect of contact and interaction of the victim include kidnapping, holding hostage and so forth.

The stalking type, which wants to take revenge. The co-dependent type, which can be split down two sides. One is emotional co-dependency, meaning a constant need for interaction and emotional contact and a chemical co-dependent, which may use drugs or alcohol as a reason or excuse to abuse. How will a PI firm react to this? First, a PI firm should identify what abuser traits are present. You can’t throw a blanket on every abuser and say they’re all the same. Some abusers are highly intelligent. They may be narcissistic, sociopathic or typical in every way other than their conduct towards their partner. They may be sweet, wonderful, caring and kind except in private. Going back to the previous five traits, a PI firm first has to identify which traits are appropriate and that would help determine a strategy.

In other words, you would not handle a sadistic type the same as a cycle of violence type. This is to reduce risk as well. Everyone in contact with an abuser at some point can be at risk. You’ve got to know what you’re dealing with first. You don’t walk into a fire without the right equipment and the right understanding of what’s going on. In the same way, a PI wants to walk into this situation to help resolve it and lower risk, not increase it. The types of evidence also will be different. A PI firm will not be looking for some evidence with one abuser type as with another. Also, the victims have to be willing to go forward. I’ve worked on dozens of cases where we’ve got great evidence.

The victim says, “Yes, I want to prosecute. I’m tired of this. I can’t handle it anymore. My children are suffering. My family is suffering. My job is suffering. My health is suffering.” They want to go back and say, “I’ll work with him or her one more time, maybe this time.” That is a waste. We know that once it gets to the point where a PI firm has to get involved, not only is it serious but it could be deadly. My recommendation is that victims have to be willing to go forward and have to stick with it. If you are a victim, don’t blame yourself for what happened. Please get some help and let us help you. Finally, you have to have a PI firm that understands the difference.

Help Clarify The Situation

Let’s talk about support number one, how a PI firm can support a domestic violence situation. The first is to help clarify the situation. Provide independent evaluation to the client as to what’s going on. Explain the risks and a safer process that can be followed. Get a commitment from the victim. Get support for the victim, from coworkers, family and friends. In some cases, getting that support, that level of safety around the victim is crucial because the victim is unwilling to go forward without support. We’ve seen that many times.

The PI firm also is a big pillar of support for victims, so clarify the situation. Also, get the dynamics of the case and validation from other agencies. Let’s say that we believe a victim is being haunted or tortured or abused by a co-dependent type, an emotional co-dependent. Maybe the PI firm and their staff are not quite trained to identify that. It would be good to share that information with the local domestic violence center to get their feedback or take on it. Is this what we think it is? We want to validate independently outside the agency what we think is going on.

Creating An Effective Plan

PI support number two, create an effective plan. As in number one, we want to clarify the situation. Once it is clarified, there must be a plan devised based on the objectives. Objectives can change person to person. One objective is, “I want custody of my children.” Another objective is, “I want a restraining order, a protective order. I don’t want to see him or her forever.” Another objective could be, “I want to divorce.” Another objective could be, “I want counseling and treatment for both of us because this could be salvaged.” We have seen some cases where the relationship can be salvaged.

The objectives set the plan. We also want a budget. One thing that I have to say is that sometimes it takes money to do a good job. Now domestic violence centers, as in our case, can hire us and there will be no charges to the victim. That isn’t common but can happen. There are budgetary amounts from different state and county agencies to help support the victim, but you want to provide a budget. If a person has means and they have money, sometimes you get what you pay for. You want a good job and it can be quickly done. Sometimes the paperwork from the county or state may take weeks, if not months. It’s not worth it. Someone could be dead in weeks or months. If you have the money, my best advice is to go forward right away and not apply for grants or for other support.

Domestic Abuse Support: Domestic abuse is defined as a family member, partner or potential partner, who has negative or destructive or even immature conduct relating to their partner or family member.

We also want a plan to coordinate with attorneys and domestic violence agencies. Attorneys are crucial because a lot of times they will tell us what they need as evidence according to what the objective is. If it’s going to be divorce or child custody or child support or a restraining order and there’s an attorney involved, the PI firm is providing information for the attorney at the attorney’s wishes. We can argue in private about what we should do and not do. In court, we all have to be unified as to what we’re trying to accomplish. Possibly to get a plan, we need the cooperation of coworkers, family members and friends. For example, let’s say we have a stalking type.

The stalking type drives by, honks the horn, sometimes yells obscenities, and sometimes make phone calls or text messages from burner phones that can’t be traced. It’s sometimes good to get your neighbors to allow us to put cameras in their windows so that the perpetrator or the abuser can be filmed and identified. It changes everything, a different view to get their license plate, to see them from the side. Sometimes they yell and scream where they’re out of sight or honking or driving by or knocking on the door. Their staging area is next door or across the street so having a camera over there would be great.

Sometimes they’re texting or phone call a neighbor or a family member, getting their cooperation and documenting those calls and texts would be great. Coworkers also can help a lot to verify. Let’s say that a violent person is approaching. You want to get security right away. Call 911 right away before that person gets inside. We may want to coordinate with law enforcement. A lot of agencies are very helpful and cooperative. All you’ve got to do is ask and say, “This person has vandalized my car a couple of times I believe. I don’t have it on film, but now I can put a camera. If I do get a camera, what is it that you need me to do to prosecute criminally?” Law enforcement will tell you, “This is what you need to do.”

Locating And Serving The Abuser

PI support number three, locate and serve the abuser. As a PI firm, we love to skip trace, evaluate the habits and investigate someone’s conduct so that we can serve them. We have to serve in order in person. Rarely can it be mailed or handed to a third party. We’ll try to locate their residence, their work activity, their hobbies, where might they go on Sunday afternoon and in a friendly and innocuous way say, “There’s a hearing coming up. These are papers to go. You don’t have to go, but if you want your viewpoint and your opinion heard, you should go.” Typically, they thank us. It doesn’t have to be a negative and difficult interaction. It can be friendly, safe and supportive.

Abusers have a right to be heard. A lot of times, there’s information they provide that helps for fairness to come out. We want to meet the need for fairness for everybody. Sometimes we’ll identify someone’s habits or location through social media and postings, “I’m going to be at this nightclub. I’m going to this restaurant. I’m coming back from a trip,” and that will alert us as to where to go, what to do and how to approach that person at that time. We can also attempt to serve and locate family members, witnesses, coworkers, and other people that are related to the case that can provide information to the court. Serving a subpoena in court does not mean that the person will show up, but with a proof of service affidavit, we can tell the court that we did make contact. We did serve them. At least the person’s rights have been preserved or whether they choose to appear or not is up to them.

Coordinating With The Attorneys

Number four, coordinate with the attorneys. The attorneys are telling us what they need to prevail in court. We want to talk about what evidence we have with the attorney of record if there is one. Since we can’t give legal advice, we can suggest what we think might happen. Believe it or not, 1,000 cases I’ve been part of and I would never represent myself in court. There are a whole lot of things that I don’t know, their motions, objections and procedures that I don’t understand. Even having heard some of them hundreds of times, I’m not legally trained and I would not know what to do. A layperson who believes that they can without being in court very often or at all navigates the legal system is probably not a good approach.

We tell people you need an attorney. We can provide confidential information that is not allowed to the clients, to the attorney. For example, let’s say a person says, “I want this person served.” It’s a part of a domestic violence case. We find that person. We serve that person. Sometimes we don’t tell our clients exactly what they were doing or where they live for everybody’s safety. Now the attorneys can know and sometimes the attorneys will bring it up in court or the address is made public. We let the attorneys decide that. We don’t try to breach confidentiality. Just because someone’s an abuser doesn’t mean their rights to privacy are waived.

Domestic abuse is generally learned behavior picked up from childhood growing up. Share on X

We gather evidence that’s admissible in court. A lot of information that we gather through private means is admissible but is not admissible through another person conducting themselves as a PI would. We often also review the cases and give ideas. Having been in contact with over 1,000 victims and abusers and involved in hundreds, if not thousands of cases, I would say we have some idea as to what to do in court on. Also, we know a lot of judges. We’ve been in court a lot, so we know them, they know us and we can suggest to the attorney what the judge would accept and what the judge would if they don’t know, which often they do know too.

Gathering Evidence

Number five, how a PI can support a domestic abuse case? We gather admissible evidence and it’s got to be in a certain way. We can’t set up a ladder and film at an angle through a window into a house. Evidence must be visible and perceived to be public from the street. We can’t go through any extraordinary means. We cannot tap phones. We cannot put recording devices in someone’s house or place of business. We’ve got to protect a person’s right to privacy, whether they’re accused of being an abuser or not. Many times, our video recordings, pictures and sound recordings have to follow certain criteria. For example, let’s say that a person is in a restaurant, in a public area where there are lots of tables and can be overheard by any table or by any server that we can record.

We can either make a video recording. We can take pictures or sound recording. Let’s say a person goes into the back room with the door partially open where there’s only one table in that room. We cannot record or film or video what’s going on into a space that’s perceived as private. Another example is one lady who thought her husband was cheating and he picked up some woman at a place that we can’t say where and took her to a hotel. They went inside the hotel room. We cannot go inside the hotel room to determine what occurred. All we can say is that this person picked up a lady at this time in place. We have a picture of her, which we probably won’t share with the victim in case there’s retribution, and went into this hotel, were in this hotel for hours and left. That’s what we can state as true.

We can’t invite privacy breaches in our work. That’s not admissible. Whatever went inside that private room, we can’t say and we don’t know. We can conduct surveillance. We can review the documents. We can retrieve documents. We can gather case information on other similar cases that might pertain. We interview witnesses. We can prepare investigators and agent notes. Sometimes we can help serve an affidavit to be signed by the witness so that they don’t have to appear in court. Sometimes we serve them with a subpoena and we help them get to court. Even if we have to pick them up and drive them, we’ll do that.

We’ll research and obtain records from any appropriate county in any state. Our network allows us to do that without much difficulty. That does help in court. We can serve, analyze and review financial records, financial statements. On my staff, we have a certified fraud examiner who has permission and the credentials to review confidential financial information, who’s paying so-and-so, what’s being spent on what. If we get a subpoena of bank statements or records, our Certified Fraud Examiner, known as a CFE, can do a great job on that. Finally, we can locate and prove employment and income. Sometimes it’s a little difficult if you’re self-employed, but sometimes we pose as a buyer or vendor or future client and we’ll get everything.

Testifying In Court

The final and last part of this is court testimony. Item number six is testifying in court. A PI could testify as an expert witness, a material witness or an eyewitness. An expert witness is the opinion of the person in court as to what they believe is true and why. Based on experience, the court has to admit that a person is an expert. A material witness is someone who provides film, video, camera, documentation and statements but does not testify other than, “Yes, I took pictures. Yes, I took video.” An eyewitness is someone that observed an interaction between other people, typically perhaps a violent exchange itself.

Ending The Abuse

IIP 13 | Domestic Abuse Support

We also allow evidence to be introduced by attorneys. One thing that’s funny is the attorney can’t say, “Here are pictures,” and slam them down. The courts say, “Great.” There needs to be what’s called a foundation. That is where a person who took the pictures is first asked to explain how these pictures were taken, when and where, with what device and whether the documents, the pictures, the recording, the video would be entered into evidence. The judge will enter it into evidence. That’s called creating a foundation. That’s what attorneys need to do. They don’t send pictures or videos to the court and that’s it. It’s got to be introduced in a certain way.

Also, the person providing the evidence in this foundationary process can be challenged and can be examined by both sides. One example is, “Where were you? What time was it? How far was it? What camera did you use? What was the lighting?” to help paint a picture as to whether this evidence could be used in court or could provide information of value. We also provide measurements, analysis and metrics. For example, someone says, “I heard them fighting and screaming through the window at night.” We ask, “Where were you?” “I was on the road.” We can say, “Were you standing here?” “Yes, I was.” We can say, “That’s 120 feet.” We would go out and test that if someone could hear a conversation in a closed house with the windows closed at 120 feet away as to whether that’s a reasonable declaration by the witness or not.

Sometimes you can’t hear anything at 120 feet with the window closed. We’ll do things like that. We can also offer evidence of concealed income or concealed employment, business cards, bids for work. Someone may come out and give you an estimate representing that they’re with a company. We love to do that. We can offer evidence of misconduct, abuse and bad character that may go above and beyond that one incident or one case that we’re working on. We can find witnesses that have similar stories and similar experiences with the abuser.

Support In Case Follow-Up

Number seven, follow- up. A PI can support you with case follow-up. This is after the ruling is made. We can maintain documents and evidence for future use. Typically, we keep documents for about ten years. We can conduct surveillance to determine if the abuser is violating or is following a court order. We can testify regarding those violations in court. “Yes, we saw he or she do this. Yes, we did record it. Yes, we did hear it.” We’re making coordination with the attorneys even after the case, just in case they need us for something. We can support client treatment and morale. A lot of times, we’ll refer our clients after our work is done to the right agencies for support and even to their friends or coworkers or talk to them on their behalf to help them out.

If you have any questions or you want to seek a better understanding, I did write a book called Ending The Abuse. You can find this online at Amazon and other providers. Also, we have a website called, where there’s domestic violence or domestic abuse survey, traits of an abuser, traits of a victim. The book talks about in more detail these abuser traits, these five types. It talks about how to disconnect from these individuals, different approaches and different resources that you might have. You can go online and buy it or call my office. A lot of counseling and social service agencies use this book as a guideline for working with the victims and abusers.

Many victims have tremendous noble characteristics but unfortunately, these characteristics often lend towards being victimized. Share on X

We consider that a good resource. I also suggest, if you’re curious, maybe to find other books on the topic. There are a lot of great books out there. I invite you to check out our other shows and go to for a directory of blogs, shows and other resources. Please contact my office or me if you have any questions. Although we operate in California, we have a lot of connections and referrals in other states that are very competent and very capable. If you need an attorney, locally, we work with some, depending on what you may need, and sometimes they’re perfect and sometimes will not have a recommendation, but we try to help out. Remember, information is power and good decisions start with great information. Thank you for reading. We’re hoping that whatever issue you have to resolve is processed quickly, safely and effectively. Thank you so much.

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How To Identify The Five Forms Of Domestic Abuse

Are you a domestic abuse victim or an abuser? In this episode, Jonathan Kraut and Bill Stierle take us to a deeper understanding of domestic abuse as they discuss the five distinctive abuser traits. They discuss the kind of mentality abusers have and what they do to project that to their victims. On the other hand, Jonathan and Bill also give light to the different typical victim categories and how they behave in an abusive relationship. Learn more about domestic abuse and gain clarity about how to report these situations and help someone out from this cycle of mental, emotional, and physical violence.

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Identify The Five Forms Of Domestic Abuse

Better Understanding Of Domestic Violence And Abuse And The Five Typical Types Of Abuser Conduct

The thing I like about this title is, Jonathan, you know a lot about this. A big part of understanding and identifying domestic abuse is a big part of your history. Tell us a little bit about your history and your experiences in dealing with domestic abuse.

For a period, I was a dean of a college department at a degree-granting institution and became the counselor for the student body. We may have only had 500 or 600 in our student population. I had office hours at a certain time and anyone with an issue could come to see me. Usually Friday between noon and 3:00, I’d have 30-minute appointments and it’s mostly women. Most of the women had the same story. “The guy is trying to control me. He started so nice. He was wonderful. I couldn’t believe what a great guy he was. He began treating me poorly. He began abusing me and hurting me and taking away my phone, not letting me call my parents, telling me what I can do and can’t do. I’m trying so hard to make him happy. What can I do?”

I had so many of these similar stories that I decided to ask the college for support in running some studies. What we found out was after interviewing maybe 500 or 1,000 people that there were five distinctive abuser traits. That’s what we’re going to discuss. We focus on the different characteristics of an abuser. I’ve written books on it and our friends are invited to get a copy. There is a free survey on our website. Are you a victim or you may be an abuser? We then could fill out on behalf of another. It’s anonymous and instant, meaning they answer the questions. They click and they get the answer within ten seconds. This is significant. I think people should pay attention to it.

That’s a great resource that people can have access to. Even counselors could use those and others can use it to assess this because you’ve done some research and you’ve provided some validation from it. You wrote a book about it. This is a big piece. Let’s walk through this a little bit. As a California private investigation person, you are focused in on this to provide people protection and support or maybe even resources to how people go to court over this stuff.

Given that I have a lot of experience, as does my staff, we specialize in not only background checks and supporting criminal and family law work, but we do a lot of domestic abuse work as well.

Defining domestic abuse is important and one of the elements is a family member, partner, and a potential partner. Here are some of these different elements. Jonathan, if you’d be willing to talk about these different values or attributes that would fall in the category of abuse, that might help us.

One thing that we want to point out is that domestic violence is outdated terminology. It’s no longer used when we define this conduct. The conduct is between people that know each other well, like a family member, a partner or a potential partner. Those are called domestic relationships. It does not apply to a neighbor down the street or your best friend. It’s someone that there is an inferred relationship, either family or some other intimate relationship. We call it domestic abuse and rightfully so. The courts have understood and in our societies now understanding that abuse can also be emotional and controlling and other kinds of behavior that don’t necessarily require violence. It’s an expanded understanding of the dynamics between those individuals.

They’ve got to have a relationship that’s in place. One of your bullets says it may constitute criminal conduct.

Abuse can be anything that’s negative, destructive or immature where the abuser’s view or perspective is more important and may suffocate or may strangle the victim’s view or their needs. What’s also funny is that the definition does not define you. She was abusive and prompted her partner to abuse her. She wanted to be harmed and mistreated.

Forms Of Domestic Abuse: Abuse can be anything that’s negative or destructive or immature, where the abuser’s view or perspective is more important and may suffocate the victim’s view or their needs.

There’s a relationship between those two things. I know why, but that’s a whole other story that you and I are going to get into as a part of the interchange between the abuser and the victim and the exchange of how those two people play two different roles as my contribution to this. Your research around this is outstanding. It also covers how one person that wants to validate that their self-worth is low. There’s nothing better than getting somebody to abuse them to feel like this fits my image. My self-worth is low. This is something my dad or my mom used to do it to me. I feel crappy and I might as well be in a relationship that reminds me of being in this crappy relationship.

That’s the only thing that I’m familiar with. I’ve had a client say, “I realized my girlfriend was like my mom and she was as abusive as my mom was.” I was like, “How did you like that?” He goes, “I didn’t like that.” I go, “Was it the familiarity, though?” He said, “Yes.” “Could it be you’re going for familiarity?” “I want to be with a kind person.” I go, “Part of you doesn’t, but part of you doesn’t know how to be with a kind person, doesn’t know how to be with a loving person, and doesn’t know how to get somebody to love and care for you.” It leads to criminal conduct because it starts escalating.

What’s tragic is if you’re on the street corner and you yelled and screamed and struck a stranger, tried to strangle them, throw dishes at them, you’d be in prison for five years. If you did that to your spouse, you get 52 weeks of anger management and they say, “It’s between you. We’re not involved.” What is typically a felony in some cases is not treated seriously, unfortunately. I think it should be treated with more punishment and more vigorous activity to cure that issue than a stranger.

Meeting the need for protection between the victim and the person that we’re putting in the abusing category is important to get the safety to be restored. Any protective strategy would be a part of that. In defining it, it’s got to be ongoing. It can’t be a one time. Do I have that correct?

Abuse usually is not one incident over 30 years. It’s a pattern of conduct that continues now then may go out of style for a year and come back or there might be more tension for whatever reason, but it typically is not isolated. People with abusive personality types or needs for that contact will leave someone who won’t play along and go find someone else. That’s unfortunate, but that behavior may travel with that person from partner to partner.

It seems like it’s also common in North America. I was looking at some of those numbers that you’ve got. Every nine seconds?

Every nine seconds, a person, typically a woman but not only, is abused in the United States physically or emotionally in some significant way, which means it’s always going on. One in three teens, 1 in 3 women experience abuse at some point in their lives. Over half of all the 911 calls to emergency services is domestic-related. It’s common in North America is the bottom line.

Over half of 911 calls. That was something that was shocking to me. The other one is common. The government has created a structure. What is the structure that they created? Is there a system about it?

There are different pieces. There is a law enforcement piece. Where I live, they have a deputy and an investigator assigned to domestic violence whom I know well and they’re very competent. They know what’s going on. There is the court structure where you have restraining orders, temporary orders, permanent orders, and orders of protection. There’s a whole set of courtrooms and judges for that. There are the domestic violence centers, treatment programs, rehab for abusers, anger management system. The government has put a lot of money into this. It’s worthy of more, believe it or not. We’re just scratching the surface.

Abuse usually is not one incident over 30 years. It's a pattern of conduct that continues, stops, and comes back. Share on X

It doesn’t have anything to do with income, race, sexual preference, gender? That makes a lot of sense. It’s a little bit everywhere, isn’t it?

It’s not linked to income, race, sexual preference, gender. It is something that’s transmitted from person to person. It’s like a contagion, a disease. That’s the factor that’s most important. It isn’t your ethnic heritage or your faith or anything like that.

Let’s take a look at a typical abuser, their characteristics.

The number one trait is that an abuser will blame the victim for everything. “You make me feel bad. It’s your fault. If you didn’t do this, I wouldn’t feel this way.” There’s a reluctance to take responsibility for something and that’s the hook. That’s where a sincere person says, “I want them to be happy. How can I make them happy?” While the abuser is going to blame the victim for everything no matter what. That’s the first issue.

Second one, does it seem like it makes a judgment, sets rules, those kinds of structures? Can you see how the judgments of the rules would take place in this?

The abuser likes to set the scope of ethics, “This is what’s permitted. This is not permitted. This is right. This is wrong. You do this. You go here,” and the victim doesn’t get a say in it. Typically, the victim has to follow those rules and the abuser will ignore the needs of others. Unless it’s a way to manipulate the behavior of someone, then they’ll use that. Otherwise, they don’t care about the other person. There’s sometimes a big lack of empathy and understanding or other people. They’ll focus on their needs and they have no empathy. It’s about them and what they want and how they feel. The other person’s job is to accommodate that.

I can see how they’re focusing on meeting their own needs and having no empathy. Tell me this thing about immature, sociopath, narcissistic. What are some of the thoughts that you have about those? I know it’s on this typical characteristic.

Abusers tend to be immature, meaning they’re thinking about themselves and they’re often sociopathic and narcissistic. A sociopath wants the rules for others are followed, but for themselves, they do not apply. If I’m an abuser, what’s right for you, you have to do it because the law says you have to do it. I don’t have to. You do. I’ll come after you and nitpick if you don’t do everything exactly the way the law says, but I’m above that. I’m beyond the law. Narcissism is a love of themselves and a reaffirmation of their place or their ego or their beauty possibly or their contribution to the world.

There’s an expansion that goes with this when the label immature shows up. Usually what I focus on is that there is a person that is reverting to an age when they were 12 or 7 or 4 or 15 and they’re acting out of that same belief structure or they’re trying to get those needs met that they weren’t met. An adult tantrum is there’s a six-year-old in the body of a 50-something-year-old person and the label is immature, but they’re trying to get their need for being heard and their need for choice met the same way a six-year-old would do it. This is not a good strategy, but it’s going to show up in the category called abuse because they can’t see that it’s at the expense of the other person.

Forms Of Domestic Abuse: The controlling type wants to keep their partner as property who cannot leave, who is afraid to or unable to or doesn’t have the resources to move on.

Typically, those with the abuser characteristics are referring or recalling an earlier time. They’re going back to that time. That’s common where their parents ignored them or some need were not met, whatever need it was. They’re going back to that time. That’s exactly right.

The sociopath, and the way you were describing it was pretty good. The rules apply to you, but they don’t apply to me. That has to do with the person saying my identity and my self-worth can’t follow the rules. I’m too big for this. To you, you’re the little person over there. My self-worth is bigger. Yours is not. You’ve got to follow this and you have to work around me. You have to do these different strategies and things like that. Narcissistic is a little bit more unsettling because that’s a person that meets their need for recognition, acknowledgment, respect and self-worth as their identity. It’s like, “Can’t you see how great I am? Look at all the great things I’ve done. Nobody’s been able to do anything the way I’ve been able to do it.”

That grandiose respect, recognition part, what happens is that it’s tough. We’ve got to change our language and communication in the face of these folks that sit in the category called abusers in order to get past it. The main thing for you to get ahold of is to go and take the survey, find out how to get support around this. How can you deal with these people differently? Get the people around you that can make a difference for you. With these different typical victim categories, now that you’ve got the abuse categories, could you read through some of these?

As we said, the roles are not finite. This is a generality. They feel responsible for his or her partner and how they feel. There is an attempt to try to make them feel better, to accommodate for them, to make excuses for them, to do everything in their power to make them happy. The abuser is not going to be happy. Their job is not to be happy to complain. Be upset, that’s their job. Everybody’s happy in this relationship because one will do anything to make them happy and the other one will never be happy. They’re wrapped in this web of feeding each other’s needs. Not necessarily consciously, by the way.

I’d say the victims that I’ve worked with over the years have wonderful and noble characteristics. A lot of them are in the healthcare field. They’re teachers, nurturers, healers. They work in a daycare and work with the elderly. Their job is to support those. Sometimes that bleeds over to the relationship where if there’s an abusive personality, they take advantage of that goodness. The other thing is that some of these victims have unending forgiveness and unending patience. They believe that it’ll get better. One day they’ll change and they won’t leave because they’re trying hard to make it work. Whatever reason, guilt or connection.

The connection need is very high. The care for the other person’s need is high, but also the validation need that, “This is my role. This is my gift and I got to help them out.”

“My job is to take care of him. I’m the husband. Whatever she needs, I’ll do it.” I hear that all the time.

There’s also trying to compensate for what the partner’s misconduct would be, which would be propping up bad behavior. Having an awareness that accountability has to exist on their side. If I keep giving them a pass on accountability and saying, “They’re a nice guy,” it’s like, “No, that’s not helpful.”

Another example is, “She had one glass of wine and it set her off. If she didn’t drink that glass, she’d be polite.”

Abuse can also be emotional and controlling, and other kinds of behavior that don't necessarily require violence. Share on X

The Cycle Of Violence Type

Let’s go through some of these. Abuser trait number one. I think we’ve got this cycle of violence type that you’ve outlined here. Give us a quick read-through of all the bullets and then let’s go back over them one by one.

The cycle of violence type is one of the most common forms of abuser traits. The purpose of this cycle of violence type is to get forgiveness and redemption at the end. I don’t know of too many cases that happened at 8:00 in the morning, but there are some. This person will say, “It’ll never happen again. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” Remember, they want forgiveness. “Please forgive. It’ll never happen again. Here are the excuses why I had this explosion. My mother-in-law told me something terrible. I lost my job. I was drinking. I had a lot of trouble at work. There’s a lot of traffic coming over here,” whatever reason they can give as to why they exploded. “It will never happen again. I promise you that’s it. I learned my lesson.” Typically, the destruction is property destruction, yelling and screaming, lots of noise, slamming doors, threatening suicide, “I’ll hurt myself if you don’t come back to me.” They break things.

These can be dangerous, but they’re not as dangerous as some other traits. The cycle of violence type tends to build up tension and the frequency of events becomes more rapid. Maybe the first three months there’s one event and then the next three months there are two events. The next three months, three events, and these go on for years. Finally, there are 1 or 2 events now because there has to be a constant need for forgiveness. The concept is, “The more bad things I do, the more I’ll be forgiven. They have to be more and more horrendous. I have to step it up each time. I can’t go back and repeat the same thing. I’ve got to do more.” There’s a pattern where unfortunately both parties are emotionally connected to this behavior and they’re almost anticipating. Is it going to be now or in 0.5 hours?

The setup is sitting right there. The cycle of things and the psychological world, they’ll call this the shame cycle. There’s a good troll, a rebellion, a release and there is an apology or a submit. Control, rebellion, submit. It’s interesting but the main thing is that it is a dynamic that both people are playing the abuser and the victim. What I’d like our readers to take away from this is that there is a way out. There is a way to go like, “I could stare into this with my adult mind and I can speak to and meet my own need for protection, meet my own need for progress to take place.” The takeaway is there is a shame cycle. Two parties are participating in this, both the victim and the abuser.

To get a clear focus on how we respond to this because the adult response to this is both two things, “I got to provide protection for each person and I’ve got to get it emotionally safe so that they can get closure on the relationship if it’s not working because of the dynamic that they’re in and/or get in the process of getting into the healing of the relationship,” which also some people do too. Getting some guidance, coaching, counseling and healing work to take place. The takeaway is if you’re reading this and you know somebody, forward this to them so they can start the process of getting the support they need through Jonathan or other wonderful care practitioners that are out there to the cycle of violence and get in front of this. Let’s take a look at the second abuser. What are some other things that you’ve categorized and been able to study?

The Sadistic Type

Abuser trait number two, this one’s scary. The first one was bad, but this one’s even worse. We call it the sadistic type. This trait is causing fear in others. The more afraid they are for their lives, the more paralyzed they are to act, the better. The purpose is to create fear. One way is to use physical torture, even killing animals or killing people to create fear. The more innocent the animal, the more innocent the child, the more effective creating fear is. They demonstrate power by breaking things, smashing doors or crashing the car. “I could break you just like this ironing board.” This is common and I’m not sure why.

You might know. They may be burning their victim’s feet or between their toes with cigarettes, but they don’t smoke, just as a tool to create pain. They often want to strike the face, deform the face, make scars, give someone a black eye and let them lie about how they got it. They punch pregnant women, kick them in the stomach, going right after what the woman most fears is harm to the child. These folks are a little bit more serious and this could be deadly. The real trade here is that the escalation of torture and pain has to increase to keep fear going. It doesn’t level out. It gets worse. This is dangerous.

Getting physical safety and emotional safety from the experience of being in a relationship with somebody that has these traits is important. That’s a big reason why you do the work you do. You’ve written the book and studied this out to see if we can get some protection. The inside part of this story, you’re talking a lot about the fear part of it. The weird part about this story is what is happening inside the person. What’s happening inside the person is that this sadistic person is trying to tragically, and at the expense of others, tries to get the other person to feel helpless, hopeless, isolated from others that they can’t get support.

It’s a tragic form of empathy. “I’m going to get you this other person to feel helpless and hopeless so I don’t have to experience helpless and hopeless inside me the way I did when I was a child, the way I did with the boss I had, the way I did with the priest that did what he did, the way I did with my mother-in-law, the way what she’d said or did, or my stepmother, the way she said or did.” The transfer of pain is a big part of the sadistic experience because if they felt helpless, who wants to feel helpless? I might as well get somebody else to feel helpless.

Forms Of Domestic Abuse: Where some domestic violence centers and other treatment programs fall a little short on is looking at the victim’s needs but not the cause of it.

The tragic part is the transference of pain. The abuser, the sadistic-type is saying that what’s happening in their body is, “I feel pain, helpless and hopeless, but I don’t want to feel those things. I’d rather make this other person feel helpless and hopeless or this other animal or somebody else feels helpless and hopeless so I don’t have to. I’d rather see helpless and hopelessness on your face than me experiencing helpless, hopeless and take accountability for it.”

It’s about transferring accountability and getting empathy by making someone else suffer. The reason why hits and deforms the face is, “I see you feeling helpless and hopeless in my direction. I don’t want to see that, so I’m going to try to wipe that emotion off of your face.” That is a tragic way that somebody is doing this to function. They don’t know that you know why or what they’re doing it. They’re not connected to the trauma point in their consciousness or the languages that they’re saying to themselves.

A good point is a lot of abusers are not aware that this is abuse. I’ve spoken with many, “Am I doing that? Is that how she sees it, how he perceives me?” It’s like they’re very surprised there’s not a connection to their behavior and no accountability. Sometimes you tell them and they go, “I was bad.” I had one guy who was bad. He would hurt his wife often. When we talked about it, I could tell you he’s completely changed. He took responsibility. He understood what he did. He understood where it came from and it maybe took a week or two and I’m proud of him. He came out of it and it’s been five years. He’s been good. He moved on and got remarried. He’s fine. Hopefully, he’ll stay that way. He had to deal with his issue from the past and it was very tough for him to make that breakthrough, but he did it. It could be done.

The Controlling Type

Let’s take a look at abuser trait three. We’ve got some controlling type energy showing up with this. Let’s take a look at these elements.

The controlling type is different from sadistic. Their intention is to own a person like property. They’re not trying to create fear. They’re trying to create a submission. They’re dominant and their partner is subordinate. They take away items of communication, like a cell phone. “You can’t call your family. You can’t have money. You can’t have credit cards. I’m going to decide who you talk to, what you say. I’m afraid you’re going to leave me, so you’re not going to have any friends. You’re not going to meet anybody, so you can’t leave me. I’m going to drop you off and pick you up from work. I’m going to make all the decisions and I’m going to complain and degrade you to make you feel bad, to lower your self-esteem so that you won’t leave me.” The controlling type wants to keep their partner as property who cannot leave, who is afraid to or unable to or doesn’t have the resources to move on. That’s the whole idea here.

The Stalker-Revenger Type

You can see the helpless, hopeless thing comes back into this place as well as an emphasis on getting the person to submit and lose their choice. A lot of times, the opposite of the word ‘control’ is the word ‘choice’. “I’m going to take choices away because choices were taken away from me.” They’re putting this entire pressure on and usually they have a lot of noes, judgments, should and shouldn’t in their consciousness. “Because I own this, I own you. I’m going to be the controlling parent. I’m going to hover. I’m going to take all these things away.” The main thing is getting support around this. Let’s take a look at the fourth one. What’s this stalker-revenger type? What’s this one about?

Stalking and the revenge type, there are different forms, but the purpose of this abuser trait is to punish others, to find and create a way to get the victim upset, to be rejected. Once the abuser feels that rejection, they feel permission to punish the person to go after them. It’s a complete setup. A lot of stalkers will sit outside someone’s work or follow them from home or meet them by accident in the store and acting out revenge.

They’re not upset with the person. It’s this acting out piece. Is that correct?

Yes. What’s even scarier is some stalkers that I’ve followed and worked with, clients that had many stalkers, one pretty young woman, had eight. They rotate. There was one guy, we followed him for a week and he had three different victims. He was going after one lady on Monday, another lady on Tuesday, another one on Friday, and then go back to the first one on Saturday. He was rotating his victims. He was trying to get any of them angry but be far enough away where there was a mystery and there must be something going on. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know any of them. He was trying to be irritable at a distance and feel like he has power over them. “They can’t stop me from watching them. They don’t know I’m here. They did see me. They might forget me, but I’ll be here tomorrow. They’ll see me again. They’re going to begin to fear for their lives. When they reject me and they tell me not to, I can go after him and punish them.” It would be dangerous as well, but it’s a sad way of getting attention, I would guess.

Abusers focus on their needs, what they want, and how they feel. The other person's job is to accommodate that. Share on X

Attention, I would probably replace that with the connection. I think it’s a tragic way to get a connection with the person. It’s not a real relationship, but it is somewhat of a relationship. It’s not a real partnership, but it is somewhat of a partnership. It also plays against emotional safety. They don’t have the courage to have a real relationship with a real human being and deal with the real rejection of, “I know that we met, but listen, you’re not my type. I’m odd in my own world. I’m doing my own thing here. I have this, I’m over here. It’s not a fit for between you and me.”

There are two parts to this behavior, two traits, but it comes out in two ways. There’s a stalking type and the revenge type, which is essentially the same in a relationship and they’re building up in waiting to take revenge. They’re going to drive their partner away and then punish them for leaving. It’s got the same purpose of punishment. I put them together. Our research shows that these abuses with this trait can switch back and forth from stocking to revenge in a relationship and not in a relationship back and forth. The motivation is the same, but the manifestation is a little bit different.

This embarrassment, it’s almost like they’re trying to get their self-worth or their respect met at the expense of another person because, “You lost it. I didn’t lose it. You’re the one who had gotten angry. All I was doing is doing this small little thing over here.” How could that be?

They have their family or their friends or their coworkers see action by the victim and turn it into an embarrassing moment for them. It makes for some reason happy.

The Codependent Type

It validates that self-worth thing again. Let me take a look at four. It’s different than number five, the codependent type because there is a different dynamic altogether.

The codependent type has two variations, two manifestations. One is an emotional codependent and the other is a chemical codependent. Sometimes they’re both present and sometimes one or the other. The purpose of this abuser trait is to link all their problems to the outside conditions that exist. “If I only had one more beer, if I had only one more pill, if I had only one more relationship, everything would be fine.” It’s never internal. That’s the issue. The external is the issue. Constant emotional contact or they always have to be talking and touching and saying things. Being quiet is a difficult thing for them. They change partners quickly and instantly. You’ve seen probably a homeless couple that pop out of an alley of two people of similar age with a similar demeanor, talking fast or talking slow.

They probably met twenty minutes ago or two years ago, but you can’t tell because they’re instantly in a relationship until they find someone better. They also only want a partner that enables that dependency. They don’t take a partner who won’t play along. If they find a partner who plays along, who provides the drugs or provides the emotional connection and they’re constant emergencies. In some cases, there’s the ambulance and the fire department, the police department and the Department of Child and Family Service. There are all these things going on. “We’re going to lose the house. We’re out of money. We don’t have food.” This happens five times a day. It isn’t like once a year. They need a partner that will enable that narrative and will sustain that narrative.

The controller person also could have the submitting person right next to it and that’s that codependent piece, the cycle of things that you’re talking about here. There’s no stability in the relationship and there’s no stability with emotions. That’s the thing. They’re medicating their emotions with a chemical or they’re medicating their emotions with a relationship. It’s a similar type of medication that I’m getting the same fill. It’s a spiritual connection piece that this person is putting the emphasis on the dependency of emotional management. It’s difficult. When you take a look at these and there’s an overreaction, there’s a drama. That’s a roller coaster ride. It’s like, “You didn’t do it. You didn’t say this. You didn’t do this, you didn’t say this.” It’s very challenging there too. The combinations of 2 or 3 traits are very common. Let’s talk about these common traits a little bit.

IIP 10 | Forms Of Domestic Abuse

Ending The Abuse

A victim maybe has a personality type or a certain receptiveness that make victimization easier. Generally, an abuser will have 1 or 2 or 3 of these traits. I’ve seen 5 once out of maybe 1,000. We’ve measured hundreds, maybe a thousand of these conditions. They rarely have all five. Mostly 2 or 3. Usually, there is a couple of these together. The traits are important because you have to identify the trait to know the remedy. Where I find some domestic violence centers and other treatment programs a little short is they’re looking at the victim’s needs, but they’re not looking at the cause of the victims’ needs. These traits, they’re abuser-based. They’re not based in the victim. The abuser brought them to the relationship. The victim did not. They may have certain characteristics that make it easier to be victimized, but you can’t blame the victim for what someone else does.

Having an awareness that it might be that one-directional piece is important. They like to run the narrative. It says it may affect religion, money, transportation. What does that mean to you? What’s your thought?

Domestic abuse has a lot of manifestations. It can affect when someone can go to church or chapel or synagogue. They won’t let you go. We had one gentleman who was Catholic and his wife tell the priest that his wife was bad because she wouldn’t sleep with them because he was sleeping with other women. I heard this from the priest. He got the priest to tell the woman, “Be a good wife. Your job is to be a good wife and sleep with him. God will take care of him with how he’s cheating on you, but you need to be a good wife.” This abuser was able to get a priest to buy-in.

It’s unsettling is what it is. Jonathan, when I hear you say that the priest was asking the wife to be a good wife still, let God take care of this other guy with this guy’s affairs and sleep with him no matter what he is saying or doing, this is when the systems and the different people inside the systems are not helping or allowing the abuse to continue instead of being a sobering, scary honesty line and go on. “If the person’s doing something and it’s not working for you, then there’s got to be a different conversation taking place.” Otherwise, it could escalate or it could even start in the place of, “I’m going to put my power over.” Any form of power over that takes away the choice of another human being, has some problems to it and leads us down to this victim abuse through-line, which is tough and rampant in our society.

Having 2 or 3 traits in itself makes it much more complicated and much more dangerous because it could be moving back and forth between character types, between characteristics. Taking hostages, for example, “I get the children, you can’t have them. I have your car. You can’t drive. I have your phone. I have your ID.” Those are hostages. It may prevent someone from working. It may prevent someone from having a connection with their children. There’s a profound effect on other people who even witnessed this behavior because this is spread by the observation that experienced disease. We want to try to do all we can to stop this or to help out.

To provide support and protection, it imprints in the children. There’s good documentation of early childhood imprint. Where the child grows up as anxious, nervous, worried and scared, he grows up as angry, furious, aggravated, and irritated. Why do they have those emotions solidly in their conscious/subconscious minds is because of the imprinting that’s taking place.

Medical research has indicated that when a child hears screaming and yelling and banging in the other room, they pick up on this as early as one, maybe even earlier. That imprints them with a tendency towards violence and towards abusive behavior or abusive and acceptance. They don’t have to see it. They can feel and hear it. Imagine an eight-year-old or a six-year-old how they’re impacted by observing, even if it’s someone across the street observing on an abusive relationship.

This is the book that you wrote, Ending The Abuse. There are other books on the marketplace too. The reason why I like this picture is it’s all about no talking, no choice, no expression. If you’re shutting down and not able to talk about things because they could get violent, that’s when you know that you need to get support from a private investigator, a police officer, the court system, counselors. You got to be able to keep the expression moving so that the abuse can get a light shining on it. There’s nothing like a big spotlight to be shown onto either the word abuse or those abusive experiences, as well as to disinfect shame. As soon as you talk through it, it starts to disappear. What a great contribution here and I bet it was something to write this and put this information together. Tell us a little bit about that experience in writing this book. What were some of the wonderful a-ha’s and things that you went through?

There are lots of a-has. One is that most victims have the same story to tell, almost identical. There are millions of abusers, maybe 10 or 20 million adult abusers. There are millions of stalkers. The FBI and I looked at the research estimate. There are about 3 million people being stalked at any given time in the United States. The way that this shows up is a little bit different country to country. The number one thing that would tell us if there’s an abusive relationship is if the partner is afraid of what their partner will think or do if they say something about it. If you’re unsure and you think they’re going to get mad, if you seek help or ask somebody, likely you’re in an abusive relationship.

To be certain, we do have the two free surveys, the characteristics of a victim, and the characteristics of an abuser. There are links on the website at or at the book website They’re confidential. They’re instant. There are 25 questions, English and Spanish. That will tell you a lot more. The book also talks about remedies. The remedies are geared towards a person deciding it’s enough and moving on. If someone has not decided to move on, telling them to move on will not help. I think a person has to come to that conclusion themselves rather than moving on.

There’s the fear. Sometimes it’s the pile of crap metaphor. Have you ever heard of the pilot crap metaphor, Jonathan? They’re in a pile of crap is what they’re in and they’re complaining about the crap. Their crap is up to their neck. It smells. This crap smells. I got it. You won’t believe the crap that I’m in. What this person is doing to me is crap. You say, “Come out now. Come out. Come on out of here.” They look back at you and gently feel sad and helpless and go, “At least it’s warm.” It’s like, “No, that’s not where you want to default. To be in a warm pile of crap and tolerate the smell.” It’s like, “Come on out. Deal with the potential that it might be a little chilly once in a while, but also realize the smell will go away the further you get away from the pile of crap that you’re in.”

The person has to want to get out. They’ve got to decide it’s enough internally. I don’t deserve it. It’s hard to do that when you’re being beaten down every day, when they’re told how badly they are. How badly they clean, they aren’t worth anything. No one will want them. Your family won’t take you back. I’ve heard all those stories. A person’s self-esteem is eroded. It’s hard for them to come out of it. We’re here to help. There are agencies. There’s a domestic violence hotline. It’s a toll-free number. My office is standing by if anyone needs any assistance or guidance. Also, there are a lot of free services available. If someone is abusive, it’s not restricted to victims. Abusers don’t want to be in this way either and there are ways for them to come out too. We’re not blaming anyone here. We’re not labeling them for experiencing something as a child and now they’re acting out. We don’t blame them for what they experienced as a child.

It was a rough go back then. We might as well get some healing and some support for them too. Instead of making one person wrong and one person a saint for being a victim, it’s like, “No, that’s not what we’re doing here. What we’re doing is figuring out how to get support for the dynamics.” Jonathan, this has been interesting. What a great contribution to getting people in a discussion in order to keep shedding light on something that’s painful for our nation, for human beings and their existence, and see if we can provide some support around that. It’s been a lot of fun.

Thank you.

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Advantages Of Having An Investigator Verified Seal

Not all background checks in organizations are thorough enough to warrant the best profile of an individual. By having a seal, a client is more secure about the quality of work that one provides. In this episode, Jonathan Kraut and Bill Stierle discuss Jonathan’s organization’s trademarked “Investigator Verified Seal” and how it allowed private investigators in his firm to show a higher level of credibility to their clients. What is more, they discuss about its other benefits in the aspects of marketing and business growth. Listen to this episode as Jonathan and Bill talk more about credibility and safety in the organization.

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Advantages Of Having An Investigator Verified Seal

Using The Investigator Verified Seal For Marketing, For Business Growth, And Increasing Your Company Revenue

Jonathan, it’s good to see you again. As always, I’m excited to get into the information that you have provided for us. The transfer of information this way has been valuable to you, your clients, the attorneys that you serve and all the different people that come into your world that makes a big difference. It’s going to be good to start talking about how do you take advantage of the Investigator Verified Seal because a lot of people think they can wing investigations by going online and doing some searches. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about that. How as a California private investigator have you been able to make a big difference with the seal? Tell us a little bit about the seal and what this is about.

A few years ago, our organization trademarked this seal because we wanted to allow our clients to differentiate between those who make invalid claims, for example, on cable, on TV and on the radio. They say our people are background checked and that should be sufficient. In fact, when they say they’re background checked, the reality is they ask them for their driver’s license or they do an instant search, which picks up 20% of the criminal cases, no civil cases and child abuse. They think they’re background checked. Trying to differentiate between a real background check by a real agency and someone who says that we are or we do, they don’t.

I’ve never thought of it this way, but it’s about how do you get trust to take place. How do you get certainty to take place as well as respect that the work you’re doing and the work you’re paying for is going to cover you in a legal setting or in a criminal setting. What a big difference and what a great idea to have an Investigator Verified Seal to create a brand and a trust that can make a difference.

Not that we’re angry at other people for saying that they’re background checked and they’re not, but we’re not trying to encourage that statement without backup.

It’s about truth. It tells the client you care. Tell us about some of the recommendations you give when you are allowing people or having people use the seal.

To use the seal with our organization and perhaps with others is that a comprehensive search must be conducted by a licensed agency and the different levels of comprehensive searches depending on the need. A client of ours can post that certificate on their wall and can tell their clients, “We have a licensed agency doing a comprehensive search.”

Regarding different marketing opportunities, you can use it in different ways.

There are organizations to put our seal on their business cards, on their letterhead. The purpose is to draw attention and to get a question like, “What is that and what does it mean?” which is wonderful because then you can say, “We have a thorough background check on our people.” We don’t sit up and say that they are. We have a third-party agency that you can call and verify that they are.

It’s like the next level of this has been certified. You see many higher quality products do this, that this is certified. This is coming from a very specific measuring agency that can make a difference.

We ask our clients if they’re willing to post them on their promotional material, on their web page. We want their clients or their potential clients to ask, “What is that? What does it mean?” It’s a great differentiation between another organization that doesn’t have anything to support their claim that people are background checked.

Trust and certainty, but reliability that’s going to start showing up. This inviting of questions, this curiosity about what the range of coverage you provide, how does this lead to increasing business? What does this next level allow your clients to do?

An Investigator Verified Seal is a very good mechanism to create trust and separate oneself from everyone else. Share on X

I’ll give you a couple of examples. One is an elder care company. They’re caregivers and they have a chain of offices. They put it on their letterhead and they promote it. They put it in their brochure. They say that all their caregivers are checked by an outside agency thoroughly, which is us in this case. That allows them to, let’s say, outshine the competition. The competition may say, “We check people thoroughly.” “Do you have anything to show that you do?” “Yes, we do.” “Who does that for you?” “That’s secret. We can’t tell you.” That leads to more business because it leads to more trust with an organization that’s willing to disclose what they do and how they do it.

That leads to authority and credentialing. You want their customers to draft off of the respect and the certainty that you provide. It gives us an extra sense that there’s something more going on with this company.

When you walk into a doctor’s office, you’re looking for their certificate, their PhD or their MD, their diplomas, their awards. It’s reassuring the potential client that this is a real organization or real person that’s worthy.

It’s that stamp. What does the seal mean? What are the elements that go into getting certified like this?

When a client of ours wants to use a seal, they’ve got certain conditions. Every member of their team has to be evaluated. We go to two levels, either criminal or a comprehensive misconduct search, which includes criminal harassment, elder abuse, child abuse, the whole thing. In some cases, criminal is sufficient. The point is that an outside licensed agency conducted the search and that we can independently verify that the search was done. We also look for stalking FBI reports. We go into anything that might give more confidence than we’ve checked. The client feels better about our check.

It’s turning over the various different rocks that the information is held underneath. It’s jumping through those extra hoops, which is one of the things that you and your trained professionals that work with you provide.

We know where to look and we know how to get information. We know what rocks there are and we know how to get information from under them.

You also recommend having these things periodically checked too to give that added enforcing trust.

Insurance carriers have told us that every two years, in most cases, is sufficient. A lot of individuals who have been with an organization for a couple of years, maybe somewhere between maybe 3% to 12% will have arrests or convictions after they were hired, especially if they’re relating towards money or taking care of other people or treating coworkers fairly. You want to recheck in some cases like hospitals, maybe elder and childcare. You want to check every year. What if we bring someone in a few years later and something horrendous occurs? It’s in the public record. We don’t know and we assume that that person’s fine. We don’t check what if they do something terrible like they had done before. Maybe not in a business setting, but in a private setting. We should know about that. We shouldn’t assume that anyone working for us is always going to be perfect all the time.

That’s consistency. What else does this seal represent? What are some other things that it does?

It says that a legally-licensed agency performed a search and only licensed investigators can assess character. Therefore, it has to be a PI agency. There is a report on the letterhead signed by somebody in the personnel file of the individual and also, the agency has a copy of that file in case anyone wants to verify.

Investigator Verified Seal: With an Investigator Verified Seal, the odds of being with inappropriate people are very much reduced. People feel safer and more likely to stay at a company that has people like them.

The tracking is there.

That’s important. Let’s say one of our clients says, “My potential business partner wants to know how do we do this and how is it done?” They can call us and ask us directly. They don’t have to guess or make up something. Rather than go to the authority, get the information and everyone should be satisfied.

Relevant counties, states, are you looking all over the place to see where the information is?

We’re looking everywhere. We’re not doing a quick $15 search online, “Are they in the directory or not?” We’re digging for new records, for warrants, for things that might be relevant to the employer or to whoever it is we’re looking for.

How do this seal and your process lead to better recruiting of the staff confidence? What does it take?

What we found out was that a lot of people who want respect to be treated correctly on the job are worried about their coworkers. When they go through a rigorous background check and they pass, which most people do, they are aware that everyone else went through the same thing. The odds of being with inappropriate people are very much reduced. They feel safer and more likely to stay at a company that has people like them.

It’s also reassuring that every year or two years, it’s to promote self-reporting. It becomes safer to talk about bad things that take place, I’m guessing.

When everyone knows that in a year or two they’re going to run another one, it’s likely that someone that had an issue will go to their management or their team and say, “I had an issue,” and deal with it upfront knowing we’re going to find out anyway. Knowing how embarrassing it would be if we disclose it, some people rather come forward. It’s not always necessary to terminate somebody with a record, but if they’re undergoing a legal process, the employer should know and maybe that person needs support. We can’t always judge them as being inappropriate. We don’t know the answer until the case is over.

Is there a standard of accountability then?

That’s right. We’re encouraging a self-reporting in this process and a recheck makes that more likely.

When there is this self-reporting, is this why certain organizations say, “We can regulate it ourselves, but meanwhile they can’t regulate it themselves. In other words, “There’s not enough, I don’t know about. There’s not enough, maybe you can answer this question.” This is an integrity question. Is the industry on a scale of 1 to 10, from high integrity to low integrity? Your organization is going to be closer to high integrity. From 0 to 10, give yourself a ten, maybe a nine, but most likely a ten. What’s the industry, if you do a little navel-gazing with the industry and look at your belly button as the industry? Where is everybody? Are they like a five? How well they track things?

Information is power. With good information and great information, you make good decisions. Share on X

If you’re talking about online services where you click right now on your phone or go online and find somebody who’s been background checked, I will put them at a 0 or a 1. From our experience, they don’t do anything. They don’t check anything or they might charge a lot of money. There’s one organization that charges $250, $300 for you to do one on yourself, which is way too much. They’re missing a lot of vital items like civil harassment, stalking. They’re missing all that. They’re not getting warrants. They’re not getting new cases. There’s no validation from the agency doing the work. In other words, they do it themselves. They’re in a different line of work and who knows what they come up with.

As far as online organizations go, it’s low and deceptive. Middle of the road, for example, security companies are reviewed. Their offices are reviewed by the state. About 1 in 3 security officers who are approved by the state that have a license and carry a badge are convicted criminals. I’d give the states in that industry maybe a three. It’s a little better to have an organization like a state do it. It’s only in that state and they give a lot of things. In the investigations field, I know a few organizations that do a misconduct search. They do a lot of criminal searches, but they’re not looking for everything. I’d say maybe it’s 6 or 7 overall in our industry where they’re not looking everywhere and they do not want to. It’s a little harder and why do it if people don’t want it?

I can appreciate it. Who can use the seals? Tell us a little bit more about this.

There are individuals who post online their availability for work like contractors, nannies, daycare, and elder care. It could be removing the trash. It could be being a gardener. It could be a plumber. It would be nice to have that seal next to their picture. If they click on the seal, there’s a link to us and we can verify that person was cleared. That’s a good mechanism to create trust and separate oneself from everyone else.

That the business is operating in the United States?

Any organization in the US can use our services.

Jonathan, I’m seeing that who can use this seal are self-employed people, hosting services on the internet at whatever internet directory that the business is operating at. You’re looking for these individuals to take advantage of this next level of certainty that they can translate to their clients, “I’m a plumber. I’ve been background checked. I’m clean on this.”

A lot of people say, “I’ve been background checked.” The question is, “What does that mean?” Mostly it doesn’t mean anything these days. We’re trying to separate the real background checks with a seal, something that can be independently verified with the statement, “I’ve been background checked,” which we find to be not only misleading but a little surreptitious. Again, a lot of these organizations that make that statement don’t have anything behind it to say that they did it other than their work.

How do you get started using this?

With our organization, we have our clients fill out a form or they can ask another organization, “Do you have a seal?” Our clients read and accept the agreement terms, which is you’re allowed to use it for free as long as you check everybody and periodically by a licensed agency. They sign it and we get them started. Usually, if they signed the agreement and they have to go back and recheck their staff, we will need about a month to go through everybody. Live scan or state searchers only check the state you’re in and federal records. We can’t assume that another agency did it correctly and comprehensively unless there’s a signed letterhead. Maybe, in that case, we might accept it as being valid.

It’s a huge difference. It sounds like the JPEG will be emailed and the person could start putting it on different places inside their environment to validate it. What we’re building is respect. We’re building trust. We’re giving some certainty about things.

Investigator Verified Seal: It’s not always necessary to terminate somebody with a record, but if they’re undergoing a legal process, the employer should know and that maybe, the person needs support.

We’re trying to get our clients more business, an advantage in the marketplace. It’s not always the cost. It’s also the services that one provides.

For more information about ways that Jonathan and his team can support you to get greater protection, why don’t we send them to your website and give you a call? I’ve experienced that many times that your staff and you are very open and ready to offer information. That’s huge.

Our email is or go to our website, We have to remind everybody that information is power with good information and great information, you make good decisions. Without information, it’s a hit and miss and so we want everyone to make good decisions.

Jonathan, this has been great. I’m looking forward to the next time we’re together. Until then, more to come.

It’s great. Thank you, Bill.

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Ensuring Safety With Comprehensive Misconduct Research

Ensuring safety should never be taken for granted. No matter where you are, it pays to know who to trust, especially in this day and age where people are becoming smarter. In this episode, Jonathan Kraut and Bill Stierle discuss what comprehensive misconduct research is, and why we need it to make a safer workplace, home, or organization. Not all misconduct is recorded in our criminal databases or is considered criminal by our law. Doing background checks on people can be needed to avoid risks and fear within the group or community we are in. Listen to Jonathan and Bill talk more about comprehensive misconduct research, what it is, and how it can improve safety.

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Ensuring Safety With Comprehensive Misconduct Research

Understanding The Value Of A Comprehensive Background Check And How It Can Help Reduce Risk And From Making Fatal Choices Regarding Who To Trust

This is episode six about protecting yourself with a comprehensive misconduct report. Jonathan, you are a big man regarding distinctions and clarifications about different ways that investigations go. California PI license 21529, and we’re looking forward to learning a little bit more about a comprehensive misconduct report. Tell us a little bit about it.

There are different kinds of background checks. The simplest background check is called an instant search. When you go online and you look for a criminal record, which may or may not be there, it may not check every jurisdiction, but it might get something. The next kind of typical search is a skip trace. We are trying to identify someone’s name, Social, date of birth and addresses and maybe locate other names, Social, date of birth and addresses. That’s usually what in the industry you would consider a background check.

That gives us this introduction to a typical background check. Tell us the difference how this criminal record search using identifiers? How does that thing work?

An identifier is a name. Date of birth, a Social Security number in some states. Usually, it’s a date of birth. If somebody lies about their date of birth and you run their criminal record using a database, you will not find it. For example, it’s common for people with issues, we’ll put it that way, to lie about their date of birth by one day or one year. Unless you skip trace them and verify, you won’t catch that. You’ll be running the wrong date of birth and therefore there’s no record. Date of birth is the main identifier. Some states use Social Security numbers, not many but some do. Sometimes you can verify the date of birth with a Social, like the last four too because there could be somebody with the same name and the same date of birth. There could be 2 or 3 people. It could be somebody the same as you in a different place with the same identifier.

You’ve got to be able to search the appropriateness and have a little more thoroughness. It sounds like some investigative organizations don’t do that level of detail.

The licensed agencies usually do. Go online yourself and run an instant search. You’re going to take for granted that the person who gave you information is accurate and you’re going to take for granted that the database contains relevant information. Remember, 80% of the current and relevant criminal information case records are not in instant databases. Unless you’re in every court in the United States, you cannot possibly know instantly if there’s a case.

Why misconduct search? What does that give us that can help us out a little bit?

Even if somebody searches a comprehensive criminal search, meaning every criminal record in every appropriate county and state and FBI and federal databases, for example, sex offenders and all those things., you’re going to miss a lot of information that you think would be criminal. Misconduct search includes behavior that is not classified as criminal and my audience will be surprised to find out what that is.

How about domestic issues and domestic violence, how do those play into it? 

Often, domestic issues and domestic violence and domestic abuse, even though you would think it would be criminal is sometimes classified and filed as civil or family. I don’t know why that is. The belief is if you harm a loved one, it’s not a crime. Especially in our work in California, we’ll find a lot of it is the order of protection and violations of harassment orders and so forth in the civil record, not the criminal record.

That also goes to follow through with elder abuse and child abuse and certain restraining orders and protection. Those are all in this misconduct search piece.

Elder abuse and child abuse, if you were only relying on criminal records, we’ll be missing a lot of the cases are complaints filed. For example, if there’s a restraining order against somebody or an order of protection against somebody, it’s not going to show up in the criminal case record. Commonly, it will be showing up in a civil case or a domestic case. There are different classifications that the courts use, criminal and civil, family law, probate and sometimes other cases are separated from each other. The point is misconduct, which you would consider criminal typically will be found in a criminal record search. Some regarding family members, the elderly and children are not.

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The system needs a little bit of work to pull the database and get some clean lines of distinction from state-to-state, from county-to-county. There are still some struggles there.

Not only struggles, California for example, but the counties also do not share information. You cannot go to one place in California and find out all the criminal records, civil records, harassment and family cases in California in one place. Not only that, you can’t find them in one county. You’ve got to look in different directories in that same county. To do a thorough search, you’ve got to check each of those relevant types of records in every county and in every state and at the federal level. There are other sex offenders by state, sex offenders nationally, Bureau of Prison records. It gets pretty hairy.

Jonathan, it sounds like we talk a lot about infrastructure. This is very much a part of the infrastructure update that needs to take place in the criminal justice system. Am I guessing that right? 

You are but it won’t happen in our lifetime. They’ve been working on this for many years. I’ve assisted some counties like Los Angeles, Mira Copa and others in trying to organize these things. It’s horrendous. Getting through budgetary considerations, people don’t understand it’s a tough process. We’re not going to see it.

The political piece and the financial piece are going to keep PIs an essential item to find the data that’s necessary.

It’s difficult to navigate this if you’re unskilled and have no background in it. I can’t imagine. We work with hundreds of counties every day. We know these counties and even then, we have trouble and we have to double-check. The court, you checked every data. It’s a lot of work.

It’s a lot of hands-on stuff. It sounds like incidents of civil harassment and stalking also can fall through the cracks as well as drug rehab and diversion or probation stuff slipped through. 

With stalking, most agencies tend not to want to prosecute anyone for stalking. They tend to blame the victim, “You’re too pretty. You’re too smart, it’s your fault. Why don’t you tell them to go away?” Without understanding that a stalker is interested in rejection, they’re not interested in affection. They’re trying to get revenge on somebody by being rejected and they’re working for revenge. The individual has to file a suit against them or that record may not be in a criminal system. It may be in a civil system. You’ve got to check that system for any misconduct relating to stalking or annoying or making phone calls, stuff like that.

That’s a tough go. I’m thinking from a mental health perspective. That’s a part of my thing that it is important to get this misconduct piece and capture people or to identify people that are struggling in a mental health way. See if we can guide them and keep them away from people in that vulnerable place.

A lot of these records, because they’re divided by type in local courts, if you do a criminal search, you’re missing significant information that probably could change the outcome of hiring someone or not hiring them. Being related or having some relationship with them or even having a neighbor with issues and you don’t find anything criminal and you think, “It must be me. They don’t have an issue.” They may have it, but it may not reside in the criminal system an issue or a record that you could identify.

That’s a big difference. What if a person, an employee or somebody, fails to undertake a comprehensive misconduct search? What are some of the elements here? We have a few of them here that we can carry over.

Let’s say that you are a landowner and you own an apartment building, and in that apartment building you have children. I would recommend doing a misconduct search, not only to find out if the person is a sex offender and abuses children. They don’t want them to move in next door to the kids. If they were ordered by the court to stay away, if they have civil harassment issues, if they’ve harassed people, if they’ve been ordered to attend some classes, that may not show up in the criminal system. You don’t want as an employer to have an unsafe workplace. Let’s say that there are civil harassment charges by a company or by an individual against someone for the misconduct at the workplace. That’s not going to show up in the criminal system. The person who brings someone into a setting, like if you’re dating someone and you bring them into your family, if you’re renting an apartment, if you’re hiring someone to work with others, you need to look at all the things relevant to their character and their conduct.

Comprehensive Misconduct Research: 80% of the current and relevant criminal information case records are not in the instant databases.

There’s a lot of protection that’s necessary. A lot of times we scare people and people get scared about this thing. It’s the value regarding safety and if we do some gentle safety pieces would have to be as scared. We’re verifying what is happening with the different individuals in our world.

Let’s say for example, you leave a loaded gun in daycare on a table. That’s the same to me as hiring a caregiver or a babysitter or a daycare person that has been convicted of and being sued for child endangerment and sexual abuse. It’s the same thing. It’s not hard to call up someone like us and say, “Can you do a comprehensive misconduct search?” It costs a little bit more. What it does is removes the liability from the person who brought that other person into their setting, removes their liability by doing a thorough search. How would you like to do an unthorough search and something goes wrong? Something that the court and the public and a common sense person would say should be done and you don’t do it. There’s no reason to be scared more be satisfied. You pay a little more and get something that gives you certainty and gives the workplace or your family or building safety.

I could see that the liability piece is important. If you ignore the signs of unwanted character traits, if you’re going to increase the likelihood of lawsuits that are coming in your direction, the increased likelihood of internal theft embezzlement by doing a comprehensive misconduct search can make a big difference because there’s a protection element.

There’s also a preventive element. I don’t know how many DAs have told me they only embezzled $50,000. Take it to a civil court. It’s an internal matter. We’ve supported clients with gathering information for the police because $50,000 or $100,000 isn’t enough to go after them. However, if you steal a bicycle on the front porch, they’ll go after you but if you embezzle and write checks to yourself or use credit cards or collect cash in a non-authorized way, law enforcement tends not to care. You want to prevent that from even happening. Most losses by employers are not from shoplifting, but are from internal and employee theft.

This is that whole idea. If you steal a candy bar, it’s possibly a third strike. Whereas if you are an internal employee and you lift $10,000, it’s a white-collar crime and who really cares?

The law enforcement says it’s not a crime. It’s a civil matter. You hired them, you brought them into your environment, go after them. It’s not our problem. You don’t get any cooperation from them lately. Maybe in some places you do here and there. We were even told by the FBI that if it wasn’t $1 million, we’re not looking at it. It’s not enough to worry about, not to encourage people. If you get a PI agency, they can dig this out. They can put the case together for the feds to take it because often they’ll want you to do the work and then they’ll take it. The best way to go about it is to keep these people away from hurting you and the people around you.

It’s a big difference. What should be included in a comprehensive misconduct search? There’s a couple of different things.

The first step is to do a broad skip trace, which isn’t simply verifying their name, date of birth and Social. It’s all the names, dates of birth, Socials they’ve used anywhere that they’ve lived that you can track. That gives you a broader scope. When we do a search, we look for every date of birth that we can find. If they lie about one name, one date or one day or one year, we can find it.

The second one sounds like a live search by an agent, not a computer printout.

A computer is not going to be able to discern whether someone changed their names or their date of birth slightly. A computer’s not going to be able to verify with the court that a case belongs to them. It’s only going to do a printout and you cannot bring the computer to court. You can’t have them testify on your behalf. While it’s a good starting point, it’s by no means thorough and doesn’t put together the little pieces that are missing.

It seems like there’s a level of thoroughness that’s needed that you almost have to search every local court, county, state a state of relevance.

You’ve got to check everywhere that you know they’ve been and if you don’t look everywhere they’ve been, how would you know what’s there? Sometimes people move county-to-county or state-to-state because they know that people usually order a search of the current state that they’re in. If they’re from out of state, most agencies that do the hiring or rent to new tenants or have caregivers only checked the county or state that they’re in.

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It’s like you need to look under. There are these different rocks you need to look under. If you look under each one of them, you’ll see if there’s anything underneath there. If there’s nothing underneath there, you’re good, but it’s almost like you know where the rocks are that you need to turn.

Let’s say there are twenty rocks. If you do an instant data search, you’ve turned over one. What about the other nineteen? Since we do that all day, we have a staff that does thorough criminal background checks and thorough comprehensive misconduct searches all day. We know where to look. We know what codes are, what penal sections are, what civil sections are. We know what that means. We’re looking for criminal records, warrants, new cases that may not show up in a database. Most new cases aren’t in databases and civil records, lawsuits, pending lawsuits, things on the horizon that may be a normal person wouldn’t know what to look for or where to look for it. We’re looking in family and domestic records, not criminal. We have criminal records, civil records, family records, domestic records and all those searches are part of a comprehensive misconduct search.

It’s the money that’s well spent as what rocks to look under and how do you know you’re done looking at that rock.

You can look at a database as well. We use lots of databases. Sometimes we find things that make it easier. If we have a case number, a date file, we can pull the case more quickly. In an instant database search itself is an issue because it gives the illusion that something was done. If it’s not thorough then it has no value. It’s like saying, “Please X-ray my hands so I know my body as well.” You need to X-ray the whole body to know the whole body as well.

What is it an average cost here for a comprehensive misconduct search? What does it usually take?

We usually estimate between $125 and $175. This is the current price and it’s subject to change. It’s probably not going to go down. It will probably go up. That’s a normal range that you’d expect to pay.

That makes a lot of sense. I noticed it says per person. Does that mean that you and your agents are spending a good amount of time looking under these rocks and that simple fee gets you there?

We have to pay databases and access fees and review. We have all our agents reviewed by another agent what we call the lead agent to make sure it was done correctly. We spot-check, we check the records, we check the documents to make sure they did everything and to some of our friends out there, avoid paying for this search by name. Let’s say someone has three married names and their maiden name and then you’ve got four names and that can be $500, $600. It should be one price to look at everything for a flat rate for a person. How many names there are, that’s where to go.

How long does it usually take?

It usually takes three days. The reason is let’s say we get the request in the afternoon on Monday. It’s got to be searched by computer first and skip trace. My tip is half-hour to get to it and then another twenty minutes to go through it. It’s going to go out to different counties. Some counties can only be accessed in person. We send it to our network of agents around the country. Those agents will go to that court and look under those directories and databases or sometimes give the list to the clerk and then come back the next day and get the list back from the clerk and then report to us then we write a report. Three days is the right time to do a thorough search.

I’m noticing here that it also says some insurance carriers will lower premiums. That means it’s almost like money found. You’re going to lower the premium, you’ll definitely get your $1 at a $25, $75 back.

Carriers have an actuarial table that denotes risk and if you prevent to the best of your ability improper people from having contact with assets or with others, it goes down. If any of you out there are friends who are interested in doing a comprehensive search and your insurance company does not give you a discount, call me and I will make sure they do something for you. I will prove to them that the risk for loss and injury is much lower because you’re weeding out people that normally would not be weeded out.

Comprehensive Misconduct Research: The risk for loss and injury is much lower when you do a comprehensive search because you’re weeding out people that normally would not be weeded out.

The insurance company reading that would make a big difference from somebody that has the experience that you do.

The insurance companies are happy to offer a discount when risk is lower because to them it’s about risk. If we can lower the risk of injury or theft or some misconduct, it’s better for them as well.

There’s a big benefit to this. These are different ways you can even promote yourself as somebody that is in this safe environment.

For example, we have an investigator verified logo, which is trademark and our clients are allowed to use that on their information, on their publicity, on their letterhead and other places and saying, “We have an outside PI agency license doing a thorough investigation.” That gives you confidence that an independent licensed organization has checked these out, especially for caregivers, for childcare, for organizations handling money and credit cards. It’s huge to have that. You can get more clients and get more business if you can demonstrate that you’re doing everything right.

Client confidence goes up. Our ability to make it a safer environment for employees goes up. That’s a big piece to it. It is cost-effective in the long-term. It’s more of a long-term play for sure. 

One example is you can do an instant search for some criminal records. Maybe 20% of the records that exist are in this database for $15. Some rideshare companies do this for $5. They’re not looking. There are some people who are international terrorists who are on the no-fly list who are sexual predators because they didn’t search county by county, state by state or the federal system in every district, then they’re liable being sued because they’re unwilling to spend the money. It’d be sure that the person doesn’t have anything that would prevent them from being at work. My message to these rideshare companies is to call me.

There’s the ownership that can have some comfort in knowing that they’re covered because they’ve been screened. 

How would you like that to run an elder care business with 40 people on your staff? All you’ve done is the state live scan, which checks criminal records in that one state. They’ve been convicted of elder abuse in other States, if they’ve been sued by individuals because of misconduct or mishandling or mistreating the elderly or the impaired, children. You don’t want them under your employment.

For somebody reading this blog that says they want to engage a private investigation firm before screening. What are some of the questions?

First, does the firm perform a comprehensive misconduct search? If they don’t know what that is, move on. If they say, “We do a full criminal record and we check every criminal record.” That’s half of it. What about the other half? If they don’t know what that is, go on to the next person or next agency. The next question would be how many years back do you go for search? Though most states believe that seven years is adequate, you’ve got to go back 10 or 12 to find out if anything’s in that seven-year scope because the scope begins the seven years at the end of the sentence. They were convicted of a crime, they were in prison for five years. That 5-year-period might end up within the seven. Also, if they don’t go back far enough, something relevant, maybe they’re not even looking. Let’s say we have an eldercare or childcare or credit card access, we want to go back fifteen years at least to go back and be sure there’s nothing that might be relevant.

The turnaround time also could be helpful too. If it’s over three days, then they’re not maybe present to what needs to be done.

There are contractors for the federal government. I used to work in that area where their background checks take three months. I don’t know why, unless they wait three months to start. Maybe three days shy of three months. We’d done three days. Sometimes it takes longer because you’ve got to order the file. It’s in the basement of some accounting clerk. Some clerk’s office they’ve got to go pick it up, bring it out, an agent has to go get it and make a copy or read it through. It might take a little longer, but usually three days is enough. They should be licensed. The PI firm has to have a state license to operate and to assess character. If they can’t assess character, there’s no reason to ask them to assess character.

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By asking this question, you could also add in there maybe, is the report free to the person that is doing it? It might be a good question to screen the organization.

If they don’t make a free report available to the person who’s the subject of the search, you’re not following what we call the Fair Credit Reporting Act. They’re not complying with that Federal and State Act that subordinate to that. A copy has to be made available. A copy of the report is not a database report. It reports on a letterhead by an agency licensed to do this and it should be signed or identifiable back to an individual that prepared the report.

How about the letterhead stuff? Is the report signed or on the letterhead? They’re putting their name behind it sounds like?

There’s an agency that can be addressed. We have insurance to cover us if we do something dumb, but luckily we haven’t had that. After many years, I’m happy to say we’re looking forward to a much better. We’re going to do a thorough job. We may not be perfect. We have many ways to recheck ourselves. We’re eliminating the chance of error to some infinitesimal number instead of maybe an 80% error if you do an instant search. It’s worth the money and it should be on letterhead. It should be signed by somebody.

You’ve stressed many times on these shows about having a licensed PI agency. Why are these different that they have a clear view of what you know is in your CMS? Tell us a little bit about why this is valuable.

A CMS is what we call a Comprehensive Misconduct Search, and before anyone that employs an agency, you want to be clear to them what it is you’re looking for. If you say, “I want to no criminal record information only and I want it in one county only and I don’t want to go back before seven years.” It will be cheaper and protect that company or that person making requests. You want to be clear that if you want to look for misconduct wherever you can find it, then that’s what you want. PI firms aren’t always licensed. Sometimes they call themselves detective agencies or data search agencies or whatever. That’s not going to hold up in court.

The key fact is there needs to be a waiver signed by the subject, the person that they’re searching is on, they have to know that it’s being done. Unless an attorney asks you or it’s for a criminal case or civil case where there’s an issue, a case number going, somebody has to sign that document that says, “Go ahead and check on me.” You need to give them a free copy of the report if they want it. Usually people who don’t have anything don’t want it. There’s nothing. How do you pay? Sometimes they say, “Sign up and do 45 searches in a month for $10. Who’s going to go to court for you?” Is it on the letterhead? It’s not. You want to pay either on a volume scale or by an individual scale, but don’t do subscriptions and monthly payments.

That usually means that they’re interested in the subscription fee, not in paying for what they do or may not really matter. You want to make sure that you allocate three days. If you can’t wait to hire someone in three days, you’ve got to hire them now or rent to them now, start three days early and then you’d be fine. You’ve got to give that time for the proper search to be conducted and then have a point of contact at your organization and their organization. The same two people are talking to each other and are up to date on what’s going on. PI firms should have one person that deals with that one client and makes life much easier. Anyone picking up the file will not know the history of what’s going on. Only the person that has experience and knowledge and some compassion for that client will be able to handle it well.

Those are all important values. The point of contact and it’s significant. Tell us more about how people can get connected to you and your company so they could access your services.

Our firm is Net Check Investigations and our website is There’s a list of other shows and blogs on there for your review. Anyone that has a good question like, “What do I do?” That’s a good question. Please give me a call, myself or my lead agent or my office manager can direct you or help you. If you need an attorney or not sure what to do next, we’re happy to offer our ideas. We’re not saying that the case always goes the way you want it to go. The evidence will help it go the way it should go. Being preventative in mindset before you go out the front door, check the weather, before you get in your car make sure your tires are there. Little simple things that you would normally do. What we’re saying is prescreen thoroughly and comprehensively. We recommend a comprehensive misconduct search so that you’re sure that the right person or at least the person that you bring in to an environment has nothing that would hurt others or nothing that you could use to detect their misconduct in the past.

Jonathan, this has been informative and the information here has been valuable. I feel a great sense of certainty that you and your team make a bang-up job on this thing and for people to at least call and have an exploratory discussion with you would make a big difference. That they can get their minds used to what the things they’re looking for and how you could provide the service can make a big difference. 

We know that information is power and good decisions start with great information. Our role is to provide that information and support and we want everyone to be successful and safe and happy.

Comprehensive Misconduct Research: Do a comprehensive misconduct search so that you’re sure that the person that you bring in to an environment has nothing that would hurt others.

Thank you, Jonathan. We’ll see you at the next episode. 

Thanks, Bill.

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