In the five years that TruView BSI has been operating as an independent background screening and investigations firm, our Investigations Division has had its fair share of complex cases, contracts, and assignments. Many of these required special planning sessions, intricate operational details, and no shortage of exceptional effort and ingenuity from our intelligence analysts and field investigators. Here is a look back at just a few of our “greatest hits.”
One of our most unique cases in the last five years was that of the “Slanderous Woodchuck.” Our Client, a sitting board member for a large municipality, also sat on the board for a community college. When photos of a trapped and deceased woodchuck appeared online, accusing the Client of supporting the trapping, the assignment became clear: find out who was behind the postings. Through a diligent tracing of the digital footprints left behind by the poster, TruView discovered an environmental activist group as the source of the image, which was then repurposed by members of the college lobbying for the removal of the board member to slander their reputation. TruView went one step further, reverse engineering the image to learn that the woodchuck in question was trapped as part of a wilderness survival school exercise that had taken place several years earlier, clearing our Client of the rodent’s untimely demise.
In a case that showed the extent of just how far TruView would go to get results for our Clients, literally to the ends of the Earth, we remember the case of the “Filipino Basket.” Tasked by a U.S. municipality and TruView Client to find either their pensioner or the designated beneficiary, TruView embarked on a 10-month international investigation that ended in Tagbilaran City, Philippines. Ruling out friend and family connections, TruView employed systematic searches of senior living centers, police precincts, retirement communities, and funeral homes for information. At a certain point, we learned the subject had an affinity for cats. Our team started visiting pet stores. In the end, a possible alternate married name for one of the subject’s sisters led us to the Philippines. We learned that the subject had resided there but had passed away, and we were able to obtain a copy of the death certificate. Returning the proof to our Client municipality, the employee retirement system updated the information in their database and reinstituted payments to the proper beneficiary.
What proved to be one of our most ambitious and successful projects started in 2017. That year, TruView was contracted by the NYS Gaming Commission to perform the Underage Sales Benchmarking Study, a large-scale, 11-month undercover investigative operation across New York State jurisdictions to document the frequency of illegal sales to minors. The study paired very carefully selected teams of 16- to 17-year-old “youth monitors” with former and current “law enforcement investigators”—recruited, hired, and managed by TruView—in the execution of undercover investigations of 1,300 retail stores in 44 counties across New York State. TruView submitted a 300-page report of its findings, which was reviewed at the highest levels of State government. The information allowed the State to allocate the necessary resources and remediation plans, where applicable, to ensure regulatory compliance and conformity with the Gaming Commission’s established protocols for wagering instrument sales.
In the case of “the Crazy Ivan” TruView nearly met its match when an elusive subject pulled out all the tricks in an attempt to thwart our surveillance. The case title comes from a reference to the 1990 film, “The Hunt for Red October,” in which a rogue Russian submarine Captain orders a sudden 360-degree turn to see if anyone is following them, known in the movie as a “Crazy Ivan.” Our subject employed a similar maneuver. During the course of mobile surveillance, without any indication that the subject was aware of our presence, he suddenly made a right onto a side street and then quickly turned into the first driveway that was empty. Our trailing investigators had no choice but to continue to drive by the now parked vehicle, lest their surveillance be confirmed. By the time the team circled back the subject was nowhere to be found.
In the end, however, it was tried and true intelligence gathering and tradecraft that accomplished the case objectives. Throughout our observations, the investigator’s surveillance notes consistently logged bicyclists going up and down the road past the subject’s home. Making an approximation based on the times when the subject typically left the house, TruView placed an undercover investigator posing as a bicyclist in front of the home. Pretending to fix a flat tire, the investigator was positioned perfectly for when the subject came down the driveway. The investigator’s covert camera caught the information needed, and the case objectives were confirmed.
These are some examples of successful casework among the annals of TruView’s investigative successes—just the tip of the iceberg. They show the type of intelligence, creativity, adaptability, dedication, and professionalism that our Investigative Team takes to all investigations, and “finds the needle” for our Clients.
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TruView’s intelligence-based background screening and investigative services span nationwide and internationally.
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