These days, pretty much anyone can be an amateur sleuth. Through the internet, people around the world can access news publications, mugshot galleries, consumer review sites, social media profiles, criminal history checks for small fees and other information sources from the privacy of their own homes. While the internet is undoubtedly a useful tool for professional and amateur investigators alike, online sources have their limitations.

On Thursday, June 7, Jennifer Mackovjak, Senior Vice President of Investigations at Hillard Heintze, will discuss these limitations in a webinar titled, “Beyond the Search Button: Why an Online Investigation Isn’t Enough.” Specifically, she will highlight why professional investigators use a mix of offline and online resources to gather intelligence about their subjects, the types of information one can find outside of a typical Google search and the expertise professional investigators can offer to a wide variety of clients.

Our team at Hillard Heintze regularly digs up critical pieces of information for cases that we never would have found using typical online search tools. The following include just a few examples.

  • By reviewing archives obtained at courthouses, I pieced together a successful businessperson’s extensive criminal history from decades prior and the subject’s eventual name change.
  • Through public information requests, I received more than 100 pages of police reports documenting a threat case subject’s history of alcoholism, disputes with family members and neighbors, and a self-mutilation incident that nearly killed the subject.
  • Through surveillance efforts, Hillard Heintze established that a group of employees was meeting with representatives of a competitor in violation of the employees’ agreements and obligations.
  • By obtaining the records associated with a divorce case, I discovered multiple, serious domestic violence allegations levied against a business executive.
  • Through a combination of phone calls and fax requests, my colleague acquired corporate documents that revealed the complex corporate structure of a company one of our clients wanted to sue.
  • By interviewing a subject’s former business partners, a colleague and I obtained additional details of the subject’s questionable business practices that coincided with allegations we found in public records.
  • By conducting forensic examination and analysis of an individual’s electronic device, a colleague helped prove the whereabouts and social activities of the individual on a certain date.

If you are interested in learning more about investigative strategies online and off, please register for Hillard Heintze’s webinar here. We look forward to hearing from you.