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Hot Topics in Investigation: $1 Million Painting Recovered, Ethics vs. Law, Marijuana

The Good Investigator: Ethics and the Law

Kevin Macnish, PhD, recently authored an article concerning the ethics and law of private investigations. Many investigators preach that following the law and making ethical decisions are paramount, but according to Macnish, it's a little more complicated than that.

Macnish provides that foloowing the law does not always translate to being ethical, citing the apartheid laws in South Africa, anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany as extreme cases, and debates over Obamacare and Bedroom Tax in the UK as examples. "Both concern what many feel the law should be, based on ethical considerations," he said in the article.

Excerpt:
“Merely following the law isn’t always enough to be ethical. In some cases (back to apartheid South Africa), following the law could even be unethical. In many more cases, though, it’s likely that there is simply no legislation against unethical behavior, because no one has thought or tried to legislate in that area. However, if that behavior were discovered, it would lead to an outcry. ”

To determine whether an action or practice is ethical, Macnish encourages investigators to use the "Times Test," a practice of considering how you would feel if your behavior was showcased on the front page of a national newspaper. Read the full article to see his 4 questions you can ask yourself when examining your ethics.

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Private Investigator Finds Stolen Norman Rockwell Painting

After selling at auction for over $1 million dollars last May, Norman Rockwell's "Sport" was stolen form a Queens storage facility in September, leading to a comprehensive investigation. The painting was featured on the April 1939 cover of The Saturday Evening Post and is of a fisherman in a yellow jacket. The recovery began with investigator Dean Golemis driving west on Interstate 80. His only goal was to get the painting back undamaged.

Excerpt:
“'When I got into my car, all I knew was I was heading west on Interstate 80,' Golemis said Thursday. 'As I was driving, they called me back, kept calling me and calling,' he said of his tipsters. 'I ended up in Ohio.'

After driving for hours on his 500-mile trip, Golemis said he eventually met up with the voice on the telephone who gave him Rockwell's painting — still in its storage wrapping.”

According to the article, the investigator could not disclose any of the details of the investigation or about his client. The former police officer and sheriff's detective shared that this is the most high-profile case he has worked on to date.

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How to Spot a Fraud: Tips from a PI

Brian Willingham of Diligentia Group recently posted a great article on how to spot a fraud. In it, he noted that the portion of the population that is both wealthier and better educated is more likely to fall for a fraud. The article outlines a recent report as well as the investigator's tips for spotting a fraud, and where to turn when you've detected one.

Excerpt:
“According to a recent FINRA Investor Education Foundation report, 80 percent of Americans have been solicited for a potentially fraudulent offer. But the majority of people have difficulty identifying a scam. And 11% of the Finra poll participants reported that they had lost significant amounts of money in what turned out to be a fraudulent investment scheme.”

Something for nothing, cold call pitches, investor commissions, and educational seminars were all listed as red flags in the article. Individuals are encouraged to ask questions, check the company's online presence, corporate filings, and regulatory agency records, and to look into professional licensing and past litigation.

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