This week privatedetective.co.uk is shaking its collective head over some of the stories in the international media about private detectives in the news. First, David Lannon of Drogheda, Ireland, is accusing a government department of handing over his personal information to a private investigator. So who is Mr Lannon, a diplomat, a businessman, a celebrity or a politician? Well, actually, he’s an unemployed construction worker. So why would a private detective working for the Allied Irish Bank have gone to the Department of Social Protection to obtain his private files? That’s not clear. In his claim, Mr Lannon say that he is in dispute with the bank and that this dispute has led to a breach of his constitutional rights. He also says that he’s found out that an employee of the Department has been suspended following his complaint. Now, we can’t comment on the ins and outs of this, although it’s a fascinating case. The matter of due diligence and admissibility, however, is something in which we’re expert and we ensure that when we’re acting for a client in a legal matter all the evidence we gather to support that client is properly admissible in a court of law, otherwise it’s a meaningless exercise. Cutting corners and failing to act in the best interests of a client is something a private detective should never do.
BBC duped by con-man
A fascinating story has recently broken, revealing that one of the UK’s most damaging fraudsters, Mark Hill-Wood (aka Mark Castle and many other names) was once interviewed on the BBC and a survey he commissioned from MORI appeared in newspapers such as the Telegraph and Guardian. Hill-Wood’s survey revealed that one in three job seekers lies about their qualifications or experience and that’s factually accurate – our experience of due diligence and fact-checking the resumes of many candidates proves it.
But Hill-Wood had an agenda, which included ripping off a company that provided him with materials, branding and a website to the sum of £50,000. The wider purpose was to dupe people into funding his fraudulent organisation CV Validation which charged a fee to companies wanting to check out applicants’ CVs. Needless to say, those companies saw nothing in return for their money.
What makes the process so fascinating is that Hill-Wood used the very techniques that could have exposed him to cause others to invest in his scheme – a thorough background check, exploring aliases and previous directorships at Companies House, would have revealed to the many publications that believed him that he was a common crook. In 2004, under the name of Mark Castley, he was convicted of fraud and jailed for four and a half years, and then again in 2008 he received a four year sentence for scams in Hertfordshire and in 2011 for a sponsorship fraud involving Team GB. It’s quite incredible that people fell for so many scams based on the simple fact that no effective research had been done into the credibility of the person they were doing business with. Corporate investigations cost a little, but they can save a business a huge amount, not just money but also reputation.