The following are some of the ways that PFC has been able to assist clients.
Preventing Investment Fraud
- PFC conducted a public records background search on a company in which the corporate client was considering investing. The letterhead indicated that the subject company had offices in Orange, California; Boca Raton, Florida; and Zurich, Switzerland. PFC research exposed that there were no incorporation papers filed, that the principals had criminal records, and that the “World Headquarters” was located in a run-down apartment in Orange, California.
- An attorney client hired PFC to search public records for information concerning people running an investment club targeting the elderly and promising unrealistic returns. PFC discovered that the principals of the investment club were con artists with long histories of lawsuits, judgments, and tax liens.
Location of Documents
- A major media client hired PFC to work on the story surrounding the O.J. Simpson murder trial. We located hard to find documents, as well as the contact information for several witnesses.
- A law firm was investigating claims that a government official had inappropriately endorsed a particular company in a bidding situation taking place in a small California water district. Allegedly, this official had sent the endorsement to the water district by fax. We requested copies of documents pertaining to the bidding and we were turned down. We sent a California Public Records Act request (similar to FOIA) to the district’s counsel. We were granted access to the files, but had to send our own person and a portable copier to make the copies. In the midst of hundreds of pounds of paper copies we found the smoking gun—a faxed memo from the government official endorsing this particular company.
Prevention of Serious Hiring Mistakes
- A medical facility hired PFC to conduct a pre-employment background check on a physician. PFC found that the “doctor” was not licensed and had never attended a medical school.
- A family requested a background check on a nanny they were planning to hire to care for their infant daughter. PFC found that the nanny had been charged with murder, had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and had spent five years in prison. She also had a long record of assaults and drunk driving convictions.
- An attorney asked PFC to locate a key witness. The subject had an extremely common name, and the only information provided to us was the name of the company she had worked for many years ago, the state that she probably lived in, and her approximate age. With internet research, online databases, and old newspapers, we were able to track her down.
Location of Competitor Secrets
- A PFC client wanted information about a secret drilling process developed by a competitor. We combed public records and found a case involving theft of company secrets by a former employee. The case file contained detailed drawings and diagrams of the process in which our client was interested.
Discovery of Hidden Assets
- PFC conducted an asset search for an attorney whose client was filing for divorce. The attorney’s client believed that her husband did not accurately report all of his assets. PFC discovered that the husband had formed a corporation in the Netherlands Antilles, and that the company was registered as an alien corporation in Texas. It turned out that the corporation had enormous real estate holdings throughout the United States.
- PFC developed juror profiles for the prosecution in the Scott Peterson murder trial.
- Our clients hired us to conduct research in a case in which they were suing Big Tobacco concerning the perceived safety of “light cigarettes.” We had a prospective juror who was a young man who appeared to be a “hipster” from his Facebook profile. There were some messages that gave us the impression that his mother had very recently died. We pulled her obituary. No cause of death was listed, but in lieu of flowers the family requested that donations be made to the American Lung Association.