People seem to think that profiling is a bad word. Well, it isn’t. Were it not for profilers, snitches, and undercover agents, the world would have more criminals than good guys and girls.
As you read this chapter, think about your own life. Ask yourself: If a person knew certain information about me, how could he use it to learn more about me? How could he use it against me? Nowadays, the answer should come to you quickly. In fact, this is the reason that my company, Pitorri and Associates, LLC, will not search for or do background checks on minors or celebrities. Likewise, we work only for law firms or business. We need to assure ourselves — for legal and ethical reasons — that the information we provide will be properly used.
What Is It?
Profiling is the characterization of a person’s habits, accomplishments and failures, her personal, financial, professional, and educational history. A Subject Profile is the synthesis of a person’s life.
Here is why profiling is useful in skip tracing or searching for assets. Personality is fixed in a human by the age of five. That personality remains constant over the person’s lifetime. Usually, what some perceive as a change in personality is really a change in behavior. It is rare to find personality altered. (This can happen as a result of drug addiction, or extreme emotional stress, continued over a long period.)
There are as many definitions of personality as there are schools of personality psychology. Here are a couple of definitions: …..the relatively enduring pattern of recurrent interpersonal situations which characterize human life (Sullivan)
Personality is that which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation…Personality is … concerned with all the behavior of the individual, both overt and under the skin. (Cattell)
And finally, …the sum total of individual characteristics and ways of behaving which in their organization or patterning describe an individual’s unique adjustment to his environment. (Hilgard)
Key words used by those professionals that should attract your attention are enduring pattern, prediction, ways of behaving, unique adjustment. (Yes, I was trained and educated in clinical psychology.)
So what does this have to do with finding (or at least searching for) your purloined assets? The person who scammed you scammed others before you, and will continue his larcenous behavior after his relationship with you. His personality is an enduring feature. Now remember that we are not talking about the person who has fallen on hard times (place this in context with our political and economic environments of 2008-2009); rather, we are examining the shenanigans of the person who profiles as a habitual liar, cheat, and thief.
Your Benefit Cost Analysis
You would order a profile to enable the investigators and researchers to get inside the head of the person who embezzled your money; to understand how he is behaving while he’s in hiding with your money. When we conduct a skip trace or a background check, we use a process on the results called Adjudication; same general idea.
Here are a couple of brief examples. A man who has been a dedicated father for fifteen years may leave his wife, but he’s probably going to stay in touch with his kids. He’s probably going to be close enough to see them occasionally, either overtly or covertly. He will also remain close to his assets.
A guy who likes steak and lobster and ten-dollar cigars and thousand-dollar suits won’t skip from a suburban five-bedroom to Key West to live in a Hemingway shack. But he will stay close to his cash — your former assets.
These are reasonable assumptions, given the facts known about the subjects. Profiling will narrow the search to where the subject probably is, and what he has probably done with his assets — formerly yours.
Okay, let’s do a reality check. If you have been done out of a thousand dollars, this process will not work for you. If your skip is hardcore, he knows how to hide. It could cost you about five hundred to do a skip trace plus some special searches plus an asset search or two. There is no one size fits all, no panacea for the evil that some people perpetrate.
On the other hand, let’s say (real-life story) you’re the attorney (the stiffee) who got stiffed for $134,000. A skip trace found the stiffer in a little apartment, living with a room mate, about nine miles from the attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia. He (the stiffer, or properly said, the Subject) was sharing the rent and utilities, so there was no paper trail. (We located him by spending several hours on the computer, and then intimidating a resident manager.)
The Subject was observed driving a two-year-old mid-size car, going to work every day — at a 7-11. (Okay, so stiffing a lawyer for 134k and working at a 7-11 don’t match; but this wasn’t TV.) We did some TRASHINT, or trash intelligence (the details are messy) and actually came up with information that told us 1. He was about to leave the country 2. He was waiting for his passport 3. He had a checking account at an identified bank. 4. He owned a single family dwelling in Maryland.
We had already done an asset search and come up with nothing. So we tried different sources. These sources revealed multiple bank accounts in different banks in Maryland, rather than Virginia, where he lived. The balances in those accounts added up to almost half a million dollars. Moreover, he — at that moment — held clear title to the property in Maryland, but it was under contract! You can guess the rest.
Without citing all the details, the profile told us that he knew how to manipulate the legal system, he was skilled at manipulating people (including that lawyer, who, by the way, attached every asset the guy had); he had a history of dishonest financial dealings (7-11 does not equal $500,000 and sole title to a big house!); he was winding up his career in the U.S.A.; and he was preparing to transfer cash out of the country. I don’t remember what country he was headed for, but we were glad that he had been waiting for the real estate to close before sending the cash to some island.
Me and IRS
After our client the lawyer completed his recovery action, I called the Intelligence Division of the Internal Revenue Service….