Saturday, June 27, 2015

Brian Blackwell Investigations

I have worked as a private investigator providing skip tracing, surveillance, insurance and legal investigations from 1993 to the present, having had agencies in Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada besides Seattle, Washington. I started my business to offer confidential services at reasonable prices that you can rely on. Many of our clients come to us via word of mouth and referrals. Let us find the truth and the evidence that you need.
Brian Blackwell Investigations
Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Infidelity, Cheating Spouse Investigation

Cheating Spouse Private Investigator | Seattle, WA

Is Your Husband or Wife Cheating?

Even thinking that your spouse may be cheating is a difficult and painful thought, and unfortunately, if you have suspicions that your spouse is unfaithful, you may be right.

According to statistics, wives who suspect their husbands of cheating are correct 80% of the time, while husbands who suspect their wives of cheating are correct 60% of the time. Research suggests that approximately 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women will cheat at least once in their marriage. Despite the prevalence of cheating, 70 percent of married women and 54 percent of married men do not know about their spouse's infidelity.

These statistics do not even include nontraditional forms of infidelity, although these forms exist. It is estimated that 40 million Americans have virtual encounters of a sexual nature on the internet seeking out so-called "emotional affairs."

Most common signs of cheating:

  1. Changes in intimacy: A distinct increase or decrease in intimacy and affection levels or sexual preferences may hint indicate infidelity.
  2. Suspicious phone habits: A spouse that hides his or her phone or is secretive about their call logs and text messages may be cheating.
  3. Changes in appearance: A marked change in style of dress, intimate wear, and/or personal hygiene can be a clue.
  4. Suspicious internet use: Much like phone habits, a cheating spouse may be overly secretive when it comes to their browser history and general internet and computer habits.
  5. Changes in work routine: It may seem like a cliche but a husband or wife that suddenly needs to “work late” or “go to a conference” frequently is a sign of infidelity.
  6. Changes in bathing habits: A spouse that showers right when they get home, switches cologne or perfume or changes their grooming habits can be a sign of cheating.

What Does An Infidelity Investigation Involve?

Investigations will vary based upon your needs and the private investigator conducting the investigation. However, many times an investigation to catch a catching spouse may include:
  • Surveillance  A private investigator can watch your spouse through advanced surveillance methods to make sure that you have the evidence you need. Rather than relying on hearsay or your own suspicions, an investigator can help you know.
  • Evidence gathering  Seeing a cheating spouse caught on film is not pleasant, but if an investigator uncovers proof of infidelity, such evidence may help you land a better divorce settlement or can give you the tool you need to confront your mate. If a private investigator finds solid proof that your spouse is faithful, the peace of mind can help ensure that your relationship survives any suspicion.
  • Professional techniques  When you hire a professional investigator, the investigator will use professional investigative techniques to find out whether your spouse is unfaithful or not. They will have access to technology and equipment that the average person does not.

What Should I Expect from an Infidelity Investigation?

Investigations into cheating spouses can range from hours to several days. Regardless of length of time, when you talk to us about a cheating spouse, you will be treated with discretion and respect. The investigator will listen to your suspicions, take them seriously, and will ask you how you want the investigation to be shaped. You will remain in control of how the investigation proceeds and your professional investigator will investigate your spouse, on your terms, until you are completely satisfied. You will receive regular updates about the status of the investigation and only you will get to decide what to do with the information that is gathered.

Some people seek help as soon as they feel some suspicion that their spouse is cheating. Knowing for certain is important to them before they confront their partner. Others know their spouse is unfaithful and want solid evidence. If worries about your spouse are affecting your relationship or causing you stress, speaking with a private investigator can help.

For private investigation to work, you need to be willing to commit to an investigation. This means that you must be willing to speak openly with the investigator about your situation and you must be willing to find out the truth. As long as you are willing to do these things, you can take control of your situation.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thank You Western Washington

Brian Blackwell Investigations has experienced new phenomenal success and growth since moving from Denver to Seattle in 2012, and I personally wanted to take a moment to thank the many great people of Puget Sound and Western Washington for their support.

D. Brian Blackwell, Principal / Owner

Brian Blackwell Investigations

Brian Blackwell Investigations
Seattle and Tacoma, WA

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Electronic Bug Sweeps Seattle Washington

Brian Blackwell Investigations' Electronic Countermeasure Sweeps, also referred to as Debugging, Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) and Bug Sweeps — we handle all types of electronic debugging operations. We handle both cell phone and hard line tap detection, radio frequency (RF) bug detection, room testing for RF (also known as Radio Signals broadcasting), hidden microphones, and tape recorders. We inspect telephone instruments, telephone systems, all hard wiring, (including cable lines), phone lines, electrical lines and Cat5 or Cat6 wiring. In addition, we can locate and detect GPS trackers and GPS logger tracking devices on vehicles. We perform physical sweeps and audits of your home, office, and car.

We find both audio and video electronic bugs. If a electronic bug is found, it could result in a felony against the person who installed it. We will preserve all evidence collected so that the police can properly follow-up with their own investigation of the matter. Brian Blackwell Investigations offers a 3 month money back guarantee. If an electronic bug is detected within three months after we have debugged your location, we will refund your fee for service. All requests for refunds must be accompanied by a police incident report indicating that an electronic eavesdropping device was found, either audio or video, in the location where services were performed. The report must document the exact location of the device when it was found.

Eavesdropping – Privacy Laws

To listen and record conversations, where on telephone, device or in person, without the knowledge of those being recorded, certainly brings into issue state and federal privacy laws. Telecommunications and eavesdropping laws come into play as well. Title III of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act already outlaws wiretapping and other forms of electronic eavesdropping, possession of wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping equipment and use or disclosure of information obtained through illegal wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping. 18 U.S.C. § 2510et seq. In essence, this act prohibits any person from intentionally intercepting, or endeavoring to intercept wire, oral or electronic communications by using an electronic, mechanical device unless the conduct is specifically authorized or expressly not covered.
  • In Washington State, all parties to either an in-person conversation or elec­tronic communication generally must consent to its recording — a requirement that is satisfied by one party’s reasonably effective announcement, which also must be recorded, to all other parties that the conversation is about to be recorded. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.73.030 (West 2012. For electronic communications, both parties must consent. It is unlaw­ful to record a "private communication transmitted by telephone, telegraph, radio, or other device between two or more indi­viduals" without first obtaining the consent of all participants in the communication. And because the statute does not differenti­ate between oral and written private com­munications transmitted electronically, the consent of all parties likewise is required to disclose the contents of text messages sent between wireless devices. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.73.030.

State of Washington Statute

All parties generally must consent to the interception or recording of any private communication, whether conducted by telephone, telegraph, radio or face-to-face, to comply with state law. Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030. The all-party consent requirement can be satisfied if "one party has announced to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted." In addition, if the conversation is to be recorded, the requisite announcement must be recorded as well. Wash. Rev. Code § 9.73.030.

A party is determined to have consented to recording if he is aware that the recording is taking place. Washington v. Modica, 149 P.3d 446 (Wash. Ct. App. 2006.) Consent to recording of real-time conversation using online discussion software is implicit because participants know the conversations will be recorded on the other party’s computer. Washington v. Townsend, 20 P.3d 1027 (Wash. Ct. App. 2001.) Moreover, an employee of a news organization engaged in newsgathering is deemed to have the requisite consent to record and divulge the contents of conversations "if the consent is expressly given or if the recording or transmitting device is readily apparent or obvious to the speakers." Wash. Rev. Code § 0.73.030(4). Anyone speaking to an employee of a news organization who has been deemed to have given consent cannot withdraw that consent after the communication has been made. Wash. Rev. Code § 0.73.030(4).

Statutory liability exists only for nonconsensual recording or intercepting, not divulging, of private conversations. Kearney v. Kearney. 974 P.2d 872 (Wash. Ct. App. 1999.) The statutory terms "Record" and "intercept" do not encompass the meaning of divulge.Whether a communication is considered "private" under the statute depends on the factual circumstances. Washington v. Townsend, 57 P.2d 255 (Wash. 2002.) The state Supreme Court has identified three factors bearing on the reasonable expectations and intent of the parties: (1) duration and subject matter of the conversation, (2) location of conversation and presence or potential presence of a third party, and (3) role of the non-consenting party and his or her relationship to the consenting party. Lewis v. State Dept. of Licensing, 139 P.3d 1078 (Wash. 2006.)

If you suspect you are under unwarranted electronic surveillance, we can help

Despite the laws designed to protect us from these types of invasions of privacy, electronic bugs and wiretaps are regularly used to spy on people involved in litigation, divorce, sensitive business, and well-to-do individuals. Imagine if all of your conversations with friends, family, business associates, your lawyer, doctor or accountant were being monitored by someone.

Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bug Sweeps, TSCM Debugging | Seattle WA

Despite the laws designed to protect us from these types of invasions of privacy, electronic bugs and wiretaps are regularly used to spy on people involved in litigation, divorce, sensitive business, and well-to-do individuals. Imagine if all of your conversations with friends, family, business associates, your lawyer, doctor or accountant were being monitored by someone.

In the age of technology we live in, it has become increasingly easy and economical for even the most conservative budgets to be able to afford to purchase and install electronic surveillance devices. These devices can be video or audio in nature and can be and usually are extremely covert in nature. Due to their relative size and intent of being undetected, they are extremely hard for the lay person to recognize, locate and remove.

Even if you are not involved in business, litigation, or divorce, ordinary people have been victimized by criminals and others who "bugged" their home, automobile and workplace, and gained access to telephone data lines using electronic bugs. The police receive too many calls from "unbalanced" people who claim that someone or the government is bugging their home to pay attention to legitimate concerns like yours, and most law enforcement agencies are not properly equipped and trained to conduct an effective sweep. Your phone service provider is also not able to help you. We suggest that you do not call your phone service provider for assistance. This set of circumstances leaves you on your own. That’s were we come in.

To ensure you haven't fallen prey to technical surveillance, Brian Blackwell Investigations conducts professional electronic counter measures to detect covert surveillance eavesdropping devices ("bugs") and hidden cameras that may have been placed in your home, your automobile, or your offices. The removal of which is known as Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM.)

Technical Surveillance Countermeasures are steps taken to detect and prevent unwanted surveillance. Technical surveillance often takes the form of eavesdropping by bugging a vehicle, home, tapping a phone line, or installing hidden cameras, with the intention of committing corporate espionage, privacy invasion, extortion, identity theft, information theft, or stalking. Being the victim of technical surveillance can endanger your personal safety, and leave you vulnerable to potential financial damages.

Did You Know?

  • A simple modification to your telephone handset can leave the microphone connected all the time allowing anyone to listen in to all conversations in the room
  • A telephone transmitter or recorder which transmits or records all of your telephone conversations may be installed in the phone, the socket or junction box, anywhere on the line, as far back or even inside the exchange
  • A bug may be installed without entering your premises
  • A socket or light switch may be replaced with an identical unit that contains a built in transmitter or SD card recorder, powered by the mains
  • Software is available for phones using the Android and iPhone operating systems that can record all room and telephone conversations, the recordings are then sent by the phones internet connection to a server where the person who has installed it can listen to the recordings on their PC. Copies of text messages, emails and conversations people are having nearby can also sent to the server.

Some Indications That You May Be A Victim Of Bugging

  • Confidential information seems to be getting out to competitor
  • Competitors seem to be just one step ahead all the time
  • Your home or premises have been broken into and very little or nothing was taken
  • Sockets or switches show signs of being moved slightly, i.e.: the wallpaper may be disturbed
  • Various vehicles parked near to your premises, that appear to be empty
  • You hear unusual sounds (crackling, clicks, volume changes) while talking on your phone
  • Repairers or unknown companies turn up to carry out work when they have not been called
  • Furniture or items appear to have been disturbed
  • Interference on your radio or television

Electronic Bug Location and "Debugging"

We use modern, advanced debugging equipment combined with investigative know-how to find bugs that may have been placed by an unsavory competitor, an insecure spouse, greedy family member, criminals.

We will do the job discreetly. No one else needs to know your concerns. All of our cases are handled in a completely confidential manner.

Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA

Friday, June 5, 2015

Skip Tracing & Methods to Finding Missing Persons

Whether skip tracing or serving legal documents, private investigators cannot rely on just the Internet to locate their target

Nowadays, a people search often begins on a computer. But even though private investigators have access to professional databases the general public does not, we have to hit the streets from time to time to locate missing persons, interview witnesses, serve subpoenas, and find information that exists in the streets, not online.

I have built a reputation for locating hard to find individuals to the point where the majority of my business is now mostly skip tracing and process serving work. My success comes from dogged determination. I set goals and decide I am not going to give up until I find the person. To me, there is nothing like the excitement that comes from accomplishing something difficult. There are no words that explain the exhilaration one feels after you see someone you have just spent several days searching for.

Skip Tracing Requires Determination and Confidence — No Room For Cowards

After gathering data on the "target" online, I check their most recent address in person. If they are not there, sometimes there is someone else there I can talk to. I find that talking to people provides me with the best information. An ex-girlfriend / boyfriend or roommate; family; and neighbors can be great resources.

Never overlook a landlord. Searching for a murder suspect, I once spent an entire day
checking on different addresses, talking with his family and friends, but it was talking to a landlord at the first address that paid off. The first address had been at an apartment complex. I stopped in at the leasing office and talked with one of the property managers. She had no information on him, but asked for my phone number in case she saw him. The next day, she called me. She found out the suspect had a brother who worked at a nearby warehouse, and that the suspect drove a black pickup truck and would pick up his brother after work every evening. A lot of landlords won't give up information on a tenant for privacy reasons, but many will, especially if they don’t like their tenant very much.

If the first home does not provide any results, I go on to the next, and the next if necessary. What I have found out about checking addresses is that a family member is living at one of the addresses. Another thing is that people often give out a false address that is near their real address. Usually it is the same street, but with a different house number. If no one at the house knows your target, then knock on the neighbors’ doors. If you have a street number of 116, then check out 161.

Another technique I sometimes use is calling the target, telling him or her what was going on, and explain that it wasn’t going away. I then ask if we could meet on their schedule. Many times, people are happy they have some control over the situation, and they set a day and time to meet.

In Conclusion

While it is often true that most people feel more inclined to talk with a police officer than a private investigator, there are a few things a private investigator can do to set themselves up for a successful conversation such as never being confrontational, being polite and respectful, and dressing professionally.

And as a final thought: You can also use some elicitation interview techniques. I will sometimes talk as if I know the target, and say something like, “Did he ever get that job at the ABC Company?” The person you are talking to might respond with, "No, he is still working at Mike's Auto Shop." You never know until you try.

Brian Blackwell Investigations | Seattle, WA

Monday, June 1, 2015

16 Important Things to Know About Court Records

When it comes to how court records are organized, which search methods work best, and how these records can supplement an investigation, there is a lot of information out there. Nearly every private investigators conference has a track on court records, and we hear time and time again that the most reliable and helpful information always come from a trained and experienced private investigator.

16 Important Things You Should Know About Court Records

Below are 16 crucial things investigators should know about court records, how to search them, and how the information can impact your investigation.

1. Court records are one of the most important and underutilized resources in an investigation

Court records don't require any special permission. The beauty of court records is that they are available to anybody. Anybody that knows how to get them can get them.

2. They don't require any special permission

While investigators who work with corporate entities may have access to emails or human resources files, and police officers will have access to certain information and the FBI even further details, court records are available to anybody who knows how to get access to them.

3. They are based on factual information

Court records provide documentation of allegations, proceedings, sworn statements, and affidavits taken under oath.

4. They paint a different picture of a person than interviews with associates will

The documents that you have in court records will provide insight as to whether they have been involved in litigation or are a convicted criminal. This can add a different layer of insight about a person or individual.

5. Court records provide millions of data points for you to access

There are 150 million cases filed each year in U.S. courts. While many of these are traffic violations, small claims disputes, and other minor cases that wouldn't be critical for most investigations.

6. In simplest terms, there are two separate areas of courts: federal courts and state courts

Federal courts handle cases like immigration law, bankruptcy law, social security law, patent law, and other federal laws that are being broken. Federal courts include the below courts (in order of superiority.)
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Special Courts
  • U.S. District Court
State courts handle civil matters like contract disputes, family matters, divorces, and other state-level matters.
n order of superiority, state courts include:
  • State Supreme Court
  • Superior Court
  • Special Courts
  • Local Courts
Special courts include tax courts, bankruptcy courts, social security courts, etc.

7. There are 94 district courts in the United States

Most states only have one court, but some have more. California, for example, has four different federal courts.

8. There are over 3,000 county or county-equivalent (borough, parish) courts

In Texas alone there are 250 counties. With Texas' 250 counties, there are 454 district courts, 254 county courts, 18 probate courts, 917 municipal courts, and 822 justice courts.

In New York, there are 62 counties, and within those counties there are 62 county courts, 62 family courts, 62 surrogates courts, 79 city courts, and 1,487 town and village courts.

There are thousands and thousands of courts out there that potentially house records that might be critical to your investigation. Investigators need to have a general sense as to the number of courts that are out there, what you can do to access them, where would the information be that would be relevant to your investigation.

9. Having all known names and aliases is better than having just the birth name

When it comes to researching databases, the information was entered in by a human being, which means there can be a mistake. With nicknames, maiden names, and birth names, a civil suit may initially be filed under a different name. Having the accurate name before getting started can save time. Criminal records present the same issues, even though the police provide aliases and will log the name listed on the person's identification, misspellings and mistakes happen.

10. Civil court records typically do not have identifying information on the person involved in the suit

While you will have the name, within the lawsuit the date of birth, social security number, or address will likely not be included. This is problematic, especially for common names. Criminal records typically include identifying information (i.e. date of birth.)

11. Many courts have their own websites, but you need to understand what you're searching

No matter what database you are searching, you need to understand what is covered by that search, including what types of cases and what dates.

12. Using resources that search the same sources will make finding mistakes and omissions easier

With databases sourced by entries entered by humans, there is a margin of error. This can also help when databases are picky about how names or information needs to be entered in for a search. If you search in multiple databases, it can clue you into mistakes, omissions, and incorrect information.

13. You can find court records on state or federal repositories, court websites, third party databases, and at the physical courts

These are some of the main resources for finding court records. It's highly recommended to search through other databases to make sure there are no omissions, and to pull the record at the court to verify validity.

14. There are 24 states in the U.S. where you can obtain a statewide criminal record check

15. Going directly to the court is the most effective place to obtain records, and you can obtain the documents right there

Databases offer great information on whether a court case exists, but to pull the actual court filings you have to go directly to the court.

16. Valuable information in the docket, complaint or indictment, affidavits, final disposition, deposition and transcripts

  • Docket: basic information, chronological order of all details of the case
  • Complaint or Indictment: initial information and allegations
  • Affidavits: information on the case
  • Depositions and Transcripts: sworn testimony, legal arguments
  • Final Disposition: how the case ended, charges, pleas