The Shitty Background Investigation

Black death? Influenza? There’s a new, much more dangerous plague affecting a small group of Americans. A fast-spreading disease has affected the private investigation industry called SBI, short for Shitty Background Investigation.

To the best of my knowledge this has not affected our firm, but I know it exists because I have seen it with my own eyes.

And it’s frightening.

On February 10, 2018, at zero eight hundred hours, I came across four reports that suffered from SBI. These were provided by a law firm that had been recently retained by a prominent Florida businessman. The Florida businessman, working with another law firm, had retained an investigative firm to conduct a comprehensive, exhaustive public record and open record background investigation on some opponents in a high-stakes legal battle. These people were unaware that they were the subject of an inquiry against them, and overt investigation — such as surveillance and interviews — was out of the question at this point.

The Florida businessman was not expecting to find a serial killer among the ranks of the opponent, but he wanted to know everything he could about them before figuring out how he wanted to proceed. Money was not really an object; there were hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

Weeks later, the Florida businessman received copies of the background check reports. The reports, ranging from 47 to 96 pages in length, contained dozens of pages of what they would describe as “useless information,” such as the “target’s” phone numbers, neighbors, and addresses.

The Florida businessman immediately knew that something was wrong, but he could not pinpoint the issue. Although he had paid a few thousand dollars for the reports, he wanted more. For example, the reports pointed out dozens of lawsuits, some of which appeared to include some pretty serious issues, but they did not contain an iota of detail.

The reports also pointed out that one of the “targets” had thousands of tweets and Instagram pictures, but not a single word about the content of those tweets or photos. Was he doing bong hits? Or posting explicit photos? Or was he talking about his kids?

Neither the Florida man nor his attorney knew it, but they had hired a firm that had contracted SBI. What they received was a report that lacked depth and not a single piece of analysis. Not a single source document was included. In addition to pages of useless information, there was duplicative and factually incorrect information, and the report also suffered from a case of DTRS (Difficult-to-Read Syndrome).

“Education and awareness are going to be the keys to stopping this dreaded disease from spreading.”

Until the Florida man’s new attorney had contacted us, they did not know what they were looking at, but I was immediately able to diagnose the problem — there was no doubt that the firm had suffered from SBI.

How did these firms contract SBI? Scientists, doctors, and other investigative firms have been baffled by this. But just the fact that people are now openly talking about it is a step in the right direction.

“Education and awareness are going to be the keys to stopping this dreaded disease from spreading,” said one sufferer of SBI, who wanted to remain anonymous.

If you or someone you know is suffering from SBI, or you have received a report from someone who is suffering from SBI, please give us a call.

We can help.

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14 replies
  1. EJM Investigations
    EJM Investigations says:

    I recently did some basic asset searches. After delivering the report I was shown the report provided by an alternative investigator. It actually included a “negative Land registry search” supposedly proving the subject owned no property. Strange as you cant search the Land registry by name in England. I’m not the cheapest, but I am competitive with prices, and I told the clients that what they received was the results of going for the cheapest. Shockingly I was then told the other agent had charged treble what I did.

  2. Jeff Penrod
    Jeff Penrod says:

    Good post Brian, I always like your info. As I’m sure you know, all the PI firm probably did was run a comprehensive background report on some database we use and it pulled up all that garbage that is a facade to real investigative work. One of the problems is that there’s really no such thing as a “national” background check-criminal or civil records. If you really want in depth, you have to try to locate where the subject has lived, then check records at the state, county parish, city, etc… On top of that, some information still has to be received by sending the office a check and eating for it to be mailed back to you. Even in this day and age not everything is instantly available. I know I’m preaching to the choir. Even NCIC, which we don’t have access to, is pretty incomplete. Then if they really want a deep background, you have to gain human intelligence and talk to a lot of people. That will give you a better indication of somebody’s character than any amount of documentable evidence will do. Of course doing all this work is very labor intensive and many people want those champagne results on a bed budget..lol

  3. Tom
    Tom says:

    Good stuff as always Brian. I’m still amazed that people don’t think to even at least offer some analysis on their background reports.

  4. Scott Ross
    Scott Ross says:

    There’s a missing factor Brian….
    I just came from a trial in Norristown, Pennsylvania. What happens when the attorney(s) opt to use the SBI instead of your work. Who looks like they didn’t do their job?

  5. Brandon Bazinet
    Brandon Bazinet says:

    Are you or someone you know suffering from SBI? Don’t suffer any longer. Try the new EFFORT. It will eliminate your SBI and keep your clients happy. Side effects may include: hard work, physical or mental exertion, sweat, elbow grease, and the feeling of accomplishment. If you don’t want to take the chance of having these side effects, call a professional immediately.

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