Where to Find Assets in Public Records?

Finding assets is not as easy as simply looking up a person’s bank details. There are so many different types of assets and not all are fluid money sitting in one’s bank account. What you typically need is an individual’s financial records, but then, a look would require a court order or authorization and may not even provide complete details as some people hide their assets for various reasons. Fortunately, some assets can be found by looking at public records. Below are the best types of public records to look at if you want to find assets.

Divorce Proceedings

Although not all places make divorce proceedings publicly available, there is a wealth of information to be had from those that allow it. You can look up priceless collections aside from bank details, retirement funds, and the like.

Small Business Retirement Funds

Small business owners have a habit of stashing some of their assets in the company’s retirement plan. You can access the data because these companies usually file an annual form with government agencies.

Real Property Records

Records of real property will usually let you know where a person lives as well as other properties the person may have, even if its on the middle of nowhere!

Probate Filings

Assets in the form of inheritance from relatives can be found in local probate filings.

Motor Vehicle Registrations

Motor vehicle registrations can uncover a collection of expensive vehicles as well as let you know what vehicle the person may use on a day to day basis.

Nonprofit Entities

Believe it or not, some crafty individuals use nonprofit organizations to divert funds or to get money via false expense payments and blown up salaries. If someone is employed by a nonprofit, that will be a good starting point to look for assets.

Watercraft Registrations and Aircraft Registrations

Both are required to be registered by law. You can look up the information you need by searching for the company’s name or individual’s name under registrations.

Corporate Filings

Owning a limited liability or limited partnership company as well as involvement in a corporation are ways that some individuals use to hide assets. They use the company name instead of their name when registering property.

Patents and Trademarks

Patents and trademarks can be worth millions. Some people do not register a business or company under their name so looking at patents and trademarks used for that person’s business can point you to the right direction.

Civil Litigation

Records of civil litigation can let you know about business settlements, stock holdings through details in a class-action lawsuit, and many more!

SEC Filings

Do you know that publicly traded companies are required by the law to make certain disclosures that private companies can get away from? You can find out about compensation agreements, stock holdings, stock options, and independent contractor agreements from SEC filings.

Do you need help finding assets for a court proceeding? Let us do the research for you! Our private investigation services will deliver what you need! Contact us today!

 

5 Things That Private Investigators Can Learn from Children

Children are often very curious and ready to ‘investigate’ almost anything. Their minds seldom work with bias and limitations which humans learn later in life. The way they think is certainly an asset for private investigators! At Haywood Hunt, we’ve been a private investigator firm for a very long time; yet, we acknowledge that there are still plenty more to learn so that we can improve the execution of our private investigation services. A quick chat with the team brought up the following list of what private investigators can learn from children.

Indulge Curiosity

As private investigators, we must keep seeking answers and details as part of our jobs. It can become too routine to the point that we know which of our leads may be worth further digging or not. However, there are still instances when a key detail is uncovered without actively looking for it by simply leaving no stone unturned. This is why a curious mind is always a plus in this line of work!

Keep an Open Mind

It is easy to fall into routines and just listen to what usually makes sense. The thing is, not all the truth in the world will make sense. Sometimes there are things that do not seem like they are connected only to reveal how they are linked later. By keeping an open mind, all possibilities are considered. This is especially important when investigating cases.

Follow Logic

When keeping an open mind and trying to maintain curiosity, it can be a problem when private investigators follow a lead only to find out later that it makes no real impact to the overall investigation. By following logic like what children inherently do, it is easier to stick to facts and discard details that offer no value in the long run.

Welcome Creativity

Children are great problem solves because they aren’t stuck to a set of rules. A good private investigator must learn to think this way and be open to solutions that do not fit norms. Sometimes, answers are best uncovered when looking at things from another perspective.

Be Daring

Private investigators need to follow a lot of rules to make sure that information obtained are accessed through legal channels so that they remain admissible in court. As a result, most private eyes tend to settle into a comfort zone and that zone becomes their specialty. Specialization of services is mostly good, but it should be acknowledged that in some instances, taking on challenges can be great for professional growth too.

Overall, being a private investigator is a rewarding career that offers plenty of exciting opportunities for learning and growth. With this said, even private eyes with decades of experience can surely benefit from learning new tricks. At Haywood Hunt, we make sure that our private investigators are kept updated about the latest changes in technology and techniques so that we can do our job better and keep delivering exceptional results. Our wide array of private investigation services and happy clients are testament to this. If you want to know how we can help you, contact us today!

Two Oakville Men Accused of Take-Over Fraud

Two men from Oakville are currently facing charges of fraud and forging documents related to taking over ownership of an Etobicoke bakery. The two men allegedly did not pay but ended up getting ownership of the bakery through fraud.

What the Police Says

According to Toronto police, the two men approached the owners of the 36,000 square-foot bakery in Etobicoke and agreed to buy the building for a certain amount. The men, operators of Easton Pharmaceuticals, are alleged by the police to have no intention to pay and was found out to have altered attorney letters to make it look like they are truly buying the building. The men failed to transfer the payment after the ownership was transferred.

51-year-old Vincent DeMasi of Toronto and 49-year-old Evangelos Karayannopoulos of Oakville were arrested and charged in late October 2019 for fraud and forging documents. According to the police, Evangelos Karayannopoulos also goes by the name Evan Kerras.

Easton Pharmaceuticals is based in Toronto and describes itself as a specialty pharmaceutical company on its website. The company claims it developed and owned FDA-approved drugs for wound healing previously. Current stocks are traded on OTC Pink exchange. The company’s trading rights have been suspended by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on November 20, 2019.

Caught Off-Guard

Both DeMasi and Karayannopoulos claim to have been caught off-guard by the charges against them, according to an email addressed to the Star. Karayannopoulos claims that their legal counsel has no knowledge of any request for information by the Toronto Police and was equally appalled and shocked about the charges and allegations against DeMasi and Karayannopoulos. He further said that the true victims will be revealed after investigation and that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions.

How Events Unfolded

Easton Pharmaceuticals announced in April 2019 that they’ve acquired the bakery, Supreme Sweets Inc. and called it a strategic acquisition for Easton so that the company can enter the Cannabis Edibles market to create premium Cannabis Edibles for various needs. The property is located in Brockhouse Rd. in Etobicoke.

In a suspension order issued in November 19, 2019, The SEC found that there are questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of the information about the company’s recent public announcements about the acquisition as well as about the company’s operations, specifically the press release dated April 24, 2019 which stated that Easton Pharmaceuticals completed its acquisition of Supreme Sweets Inc. In summary, there are a lot of data and claims that do not match up, including claims of operating fully functional video slot games for release to American Casinos in the near future.

High-Value Fraud

Police are worried that there might be more victims. Toronto Police’s Financial Crime Unit found out about the high-value fraud, with DeMasi and Karayannopoulos taking possession of a 36,000 square foot building along with about $9 million worth of industrial machinery without having a single cent exchanged on the closing date. Toronto Const. Victor Wong urges anyone with information to call the police at 416-808-7373.

Were you or anyone you know a victim of business fraud? Let our private investigation services help you! Contact us at Haywood Hunt and schedule an obligation-free consultation to find out what we can do for you.

 

 

 

How Private Investigators Can Find People for You

As private investigators, we often get asked the question “can a private investigator find someone?”. In fact, it is one of the most common questions we get on a daily basis! So, what is the deal? Can a private investigator find someone, indeed?

The short answer is a resounding YES. We can find almost anyone with our private investigation services although success rate as well as how soon a person can be found depend on various factors. There are many things to consider from a legal point of view as well as the available information on hand. Below are factors to consider before hiring a private investigator to find someone.

Reason for Finding the Person

Private investigators are bound by the federal and provincial laws to uphold certain standards. Ethics is also a reason why private investigators can’t just dole out powerful information for no reason at all. If you’ve been looking for someone, like a friend or family member that you’ve lost contact with, private investigators are more likely to take your case. If the person you are looking for is an old flame or an ex that you want to keep tabs on, then a private investigator might decline if your reasons don’t seem to be harmless.

In some cases, private investigators will also contact the persons you are looking for to inform them that you are looking for them and ask them if they are fine with sharing their information to you.

What Details You Can Share

It takes information to find someone else. If you can provide a name, estimated age, and location of the last contact, the private investigator is more likely to succeed in finding someone for you versus if you only want to find someone who was wearing a blue shirt at a bar a few years ago.

The less information you have, the longer the search will take because the private investigator may have to pursue multiple dead ends and wrong leads before finding the person you are looking for. It takes a lot of skills, legal workarounds, and tens if not hundreds of man-hours to find someone.

Is It Necessary to Physically Find the Person?

It is one thing to find someone online but a whole other level to find out where someone lives. If you need to find someone to serve papers or for some legal matter like for a court order, this will take time and cost more because you might also need surveillance services.

How Much Can You Spend on Finding Someone

As mentioned earlier, finding someone can take tens to hundreds of hours. That is going to cost you some serious cash more so if you can only provide very vague details. You can choose to DIY a bit by using consumer-based online databases but the main thing we want to emphasize here is to be reasonable with your expectations.

Remember, when you hire a private investigator, you are not only paying for his or her time but also for the years of experience that it took him or her to have the needed private investigator skills.

Are You Patient Enough?

The less information you can provide, the harder and longer the search will be. Imagine if you can only provide a common name like John Smith. There are thousands of John Smith in the world! Finding the right person will literally be like looking for a needle in a haystack, even for a seasoned private investigator!

Are you ready to find someone? Contact us at Haywood Hunt for a consultation on which of our private investigation services may be able to help you the most to find a missing person or locate a person of interest.

 

Canadians Lost $22.5M in Romance Fraud for 2019

The number one scam in Canada in 2019 was romance scam, with Canadians losing more than $22 million to it. The numbers for 2019 have not fully been tallied, so the number is likely larger than this.

Even Women Are Victims

When talking about online romance fraud, the common misconception is that it only happens between an older male victim from a richer country and a younger attractive girl from some other part of the world. The truth is that many women fall for romance scam fraudsters too. Michelle Boyer of Ottawa sent more than $3,000 in money transfers over the course of 10 months to a man she met online who used to send her romantic poems. The poems turned out to be from a poetry website.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or CAFC, romance scams currently surpass all other forms of fraud in Canada in terms of money lost. The numbers may look like a lot, but authorities believe that less than 5% of victims talk about getting scammed.

What Are Romance Scams?

Romance scams are when some bad people with false romantic intentions attempt to make someone else trust and confide to them in order to get access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, or credit cards. The fraudsters usually find their victims on online dating sites or social media.

A Huge Emotional Blow

Part of the reason why victims do not file complaints is that they are busy trying to deal with the emotional impact of finding that that someone they have feelings for was a complete fraud. The emotional loss is far more significant than the financial loss in most cases. Some feel ashamed that they’ve fallen for such a scheme and some may simply not know who they can talk to without being judged. They also know that since most of the scammers are based overseas, reporting their loses will not mean that they will be able to get it back.

Quebec and Ontario Beware

More than 66% of romance scam victims are from Quebec and Ontario, with one victim reportedly shelling out more than $72,000. To this day, there are no public data about romance scams or online dating scams so finding out where most of the money gets sent and where the fraudsters are based is not going to be easy.

Prevention is the Key

The only way to fight online dating fraud and romance scams is through prevention via proper education. Warning signs to watch out for include:

  • The scammer claiming to be from somewhere nearby but working overseas
  • The scammer claiming to be in need of financial help despite having a lucrative business or job
  • The scammer wanting to develop a long-distance relationship despite not meeting or only communicating online for a few days or weeks
  • The scammer wanting intimate photos or very personal details (which can be used for extorting money later or for identity theft)

Authorities say that there is no harm in using dating sites and talking to strangers online as long as someone is aware of the risks and watches out for red flags. Some romance scammers use the promise of love to turn another person into a money mule for money laundering.  Fraud experts say to simply stay away from things that seem too good to be true or quick professions of love from someone online. If you suspect that someone might be scamming you, contact us and let our private investigation services uncover the truth. More than love, you deserve peace of mind. Leave the internet dating investigations to us.

 

Holiday Scams to Watch Out for in 2019 and into 2020

The full swing of the holidays is just a few days away, but the scam artists are just getting started. It is time to be extra vigilant to avoid getting scammed especially when holiday shopping. Below are some of the most common holiday scams to watch out for in 2019.

Loan Scams

Holidays usually means spending a lot of money. Loan scams prey on people who need extra cash during the holidays. These fraudsters offer loans to people who need cash and then they used the personal information provided to demand payments. This is why authorities are urging people to only seek loans from established providers.

Online Shopping Scams

Online deals are usually offered by brands and stores around this time of the year but scammers have found a way to take advantage of the holiday online shopping rush as well. They usually offer once-in-a-lifetime deals that later turn out to be for counterfeits or for an item that does not exist. No matter what the rush is, it is still better to buy from trusted stores that use credit card protection and payment protection. More so, stay away from deals that sound too good to be true.

Sim Swapping

Incidences of identity theft are becoming more sophisticated with fraudsters now sending phishing emails that look like they are from valid network providers which tell the victim that they’ve won some holiday contest. The victim will then be asked to provide personal details to claim the nonexistent prize which the fraudsters will use to take over the victim’s mobile account. Once the mobile account has been taken over, it is only a matter of time to gain access to emails, social media accounts, as well as bank accounts via the hacked mobile number. Sometimes the initial message can come as a text or email from the service provider so it is best to call the service provider using another phone to verify if the message or email is real.

More Phone Scams

Phone scams are forever evolving and becoming more sinister. The CRA Scam is one example, with the fraudsters claiming to be from Canada Revenue Agency and threatening the victim with an arrest for supposedly delayed payments or back taxes. A new scam claims that the call is from Service Canada and asks the victims for the victim’s social security number or SIN. Once compromised, this is a scam that is very challenging to recover from. The fraudster gains access to very personal information such as the person’s name, date of birth, and more. Later they will demand cash and ask the victim to deposit in a safe account. It should be noted that Service Canada won’t call people to ask for personal details same as Canada Revenue Agency.

Do you need help uncovering a scam or want to protect your personal data online? We can help with both! Our private investigation services are constantly evolving and now include fraud prevention and protection. Contact us at Haywood Hunt to find out what we can do for you!

 

 

Why Private Investigators Are Needed in Criminal Cases

Most people think that private investigators spend most of their time tracking down cheating spouses or hunkered down in a car somewhere with a telephoto lens, but the fact is, today’s private investigators often play crucial roles in serious legal matters, including solving criminal cases.

Private Investigators and Law Enforcement

Law enforcement has been working with private investigators for decades. Oftentimes, when police departments are overworked or understaffed, they tap some trusted private investigators to help uncover evidence for unsolved cases to fast track the delivery of justice. More so, having a new set of trained eyes to look over existing data can prove useful in seeing patterns that weren’t obvious to the police officers who’ve gathered them.

Perhaps one of the most positive merits of hiring a private investigator for a criminal case is that unlike police officers, a private eye can choose to work on only a single case for a time. Another benefit is that private investigators are not limited by jurisdictions of duty and can pursue leads without the need to turn over investigations to someone else.

There is a misconception that police officers are reluctant to work with private eyes, perhaps seeing the other professional as a competitor or not trusting the qualifications of a private investigator (for places that do not have strict requirements for someone to work in private investigations). This may be true in the past, but police departments are finding it a lot more beneficial to have a few trusted private investigators working with them especially for solving cases that are hard to crack.

Note that a large percentage of current private investigators were once working in law enforcement. This may have been a huge factor as to why it is easier for police officers and private investigators to work together these days.

Private Investigators and Law Offices

Private eyes have long been partners of attorneys for decades. Law offices perceive private investigators as assets especially for uncovering information for serious criminal cases. Private eyes can conduct witness interviews for law offices as well as find key persons who can help with a case. Attorneys may be great at building cases and formulating defences, but they often do not have the time to perform the necessary legwork to gather the information they need for building cases and formulating defences. A private eye can do the research, investigation of some data, as well as review details to help with a criminal case.

Private Investigators and the Public

Individuals had been availing of private investigation services for breathing life to cold cases that have been forgotten by law enforcement. It isn’t uncommon for new information to be uncovered by a professional private investigator years or decades after a case has gone cold. In some cases, relatives or friends of a victim in a criminal case sought the help of private eyes to find a missing witness or supplement an ongoing investigation for a case.

Although, the role of a private investigator has many facets, one of the most important can be their ability to assist in criminal investigations. With many private investigators being ex-law enforcement, former police detectives and even ex-military intelligence, their ability to help in these cases can often be crucial is successful outcomes.

With the above said, it is undeniable that private investigators can be of great help for criminal cases. If you need private investigation services, do not hesitate to contact us today!

Be Aware of These Ongoing Scams in Brampton and Mississauga

Scams do not pick a season. Most scams are ongoing no matter what time of the year and even when similar scams are already being investigated after discovery by law enforcement. This is especially true in Brampton and Mississauga and so Peel police are warning residents that there are several common and ongoing scams making the rounds in the region.

Scams to Watch Out For

4 common scams have been identified by Peel Regional Police’s Service Fraud Bureau. The scams are the ones commonly targeting residents of Mississauga and Brampton. They are:

  • Canada Revenue Agency Scam or CRA Scam, otherwise known as Emergency Scam or Police or Bank Employee Scam
  • Company Invoice Scam or Paycheque Redirect
  • Employment Scams
  • Rental Accommodation Fraud

The police said that the scams lined up above are the most prevalent according to their records and the ones that pose the most threat to residents because they persist.

Different Modes, Same Scams

Some scams, like the CRA scam or bank employee and police scam, simply have the same pattern but can take so many different forms, making people fall for them again and again because each scenario can seem so convincing. It can take the form of a bank employee pretending to want to fix an internal fraud, tricking the victim into disclosing personal details and then the scammer using those details to commit more fraud. It can also take the form of a call from someone pretending to be the police or the CRA giving a warning of arrest for an alleged missing payment. Some variations involve a caller pretending to be a relative of the victim or a lawyer saying that there has been a serious car accident and bail money is needed as soon as possible. The same scenarios play out, in which the victim is targeted and made to panic to be more malleable for manipulation. Victims are then told by the scammer to buy huge amounts of gift cards and forward the gift card information to scammers over the phone, or to make a cash deposit into a Bitcoin ATM.

As for Rental Accommodation Fraud, fake landlords target prospective renters on buy-and-sell websites and are asked for a deposit to make sure that the property to be rented is reserved for them. After sending the deposit payment, the rental property turns out to be unavailable or doesn’t exist at all.

Paycheque Redirect and Company Invoice Scams target businesses by sending fake invoices that look like they were from a legitimate employee or customer. The email address used is fraudulent and usually only discovered after payments were already maid via direct transfer to a new bank account under the scammers’ control.

Employment Scams target victims that are looking for work using online services. Scammers pose as a new employer and send the victim a cheque that the victim is instructed to en-cash and deposit to another account either using Interac e-transfer or a Bitcoin ATM. The cheque turns out fraudulent later and the victim has to cover the money sent.

Be Vigilant and Beware

Residents are reminded by Peel Police to never send e-transfers unless they are sure that they are dealing with a reputable service with a guarantee for loss-prevention. Depositing cheques from an unknown source and then transferring the money to another account is also a form of money laundering which has severe consequences. It is best to be vigilant and not very trusting of people online or calls from unverifiable sources.

If you think that you or someone you know maybe being targeted for a scam, be sure to contact the local authorities in your area for a report. If you’re concerned about finding out more and whether your information may have been compromised, contact us to avail of our private investigation services for fraud prevention.

 

The Growing Need for Internet Dating Investigations

Scammers are everywhere online and offline. One of their favourite ways to scam people these days is via social media, email, and dating apps and websites to take advantage of those who are looking for love online. By going for an internet dating investigation, you can be sure that the person you are talking to is who he or she claims to be plus help avoid theft and fraud.

Watch Out for Internet Scams

Online dating scammers often create fake profiles using fake photos, information, and name all chosen to attract the type of victim they want. Once they have contact with a target, they will gain the trust of their targets using heartfelt conversations, loving words, and gifts to manipulate the target and to divert attention from their real identity.

Why Conduct Online Dating Investigation?

An online dating investigation is done to reveal a person’s real identity and motives. A private investigator will conduct extensive background checks, gather information across various platforms, trace messages from the original sources, and maybe find out other personal details. The information will be shared with the victim for his or her peace of mind. The information will also uncover potential criminal activities and prevent fraudulent activities from happening by providing the data to the right authorities.

What Are Common Internet Dating Scams and Other Fraudulent Activities?

There are many types of internet dating scams, but the most common ones are the following:

  • Catfishing is when a scammer uses someone else’s photos and identity to have a relationship with someone.
  • Internet scandal is when a scammer is actually a con artist who will try to grow close with a victim and ask for intimate photos and initiate intimate conversations. Once they have enough material, they will publish the information online and only unpublish in exchange for a large fee. There is no 100% way that anything published will be fully removed because other people have access to it.
  • Money laundering is when a scammer will ask the victim to transfer money or send goods for them like stolen laptops and cellphones. Some scammers ask the victims to forward cash checks and packages for them.
  • Swindling is the most common online dating scam. A scammer will gain a victim’s affection and trust and then request for help or money for what seems like valid reasons such as a medical emergency or an accident. Once they got some money or when the victim has nothing left to give, they cut contact.

How to Avoid Internet Dating Scams

Attention to detail is very important to avoid internet dating scams. Some signs may not be so obvious but are there if you know where to look. You can ask to meet in person to prevent catfishes. You can note profile inconsistencies like age and photos. It is better to keep a slow pace because scammers will try to fabricate intimacy as soon as possible by asking for personal details and declaring love early on. Try to use the dating app or site to communicate or use an email that isn’t what you normally use. Look for grammar inconsistencies as well as sentences that do not make sense can mean that the scammer may simply be copy-pasting messages. Lastly, do not send money, objects, or your personal information to someone you haven’t met in person.

Are you or someone you know dating someone online who might be a scammer? We can help at Haywood Hunt! Our private investigators offer a myriad of private investigation services that can flush out and identify a scammer so that you can have peace of mind. Contact us today!

Income Exaggeration When Applying for Mortgage is Fraud

Canadians are finding that it has become increasingly difficult to qualify for a mortgage lately, especially after several mortgage stress tests were implemented. In relation to this, a recent Equifax Canada survey revealed that a lot of Canadians are willing to commit fraud if it meant qualifying for a mortgage.

What is Mortgage Fraud?

Mortgage fraud is when a person, a real estate agent, a lawyer, or a mortgage broker or agent, exaggerates, misrepresents, or lies about information to obtain a mortgage that wouldn’t have been approved if the applicant’s true information was shared.

The recent Equifax Canada survey revealed that millennials are at double the risk of lying about their annual income as compared to the general population, as shared by Equifax Canada director of consumer advocacy Julie Kuzmic. She voiced out that it is concerning to note that young adults see no issues with inflating their income in order to buy the home they want. Note that any attempt to misrepresent data when applying for a mortgage is fraud. When people take mortgages that may be too high for their real income, they could end up having trouble paying and have more debt.

It Won’t Hurt to Be More Careful

Failing to pay mortgage payments in full and on time can have a marked negative income on credit scores and credit history. A small lie during the mortgage application process can have severe legal consequences later when the lying party realizes the repercussions of having a mortgage that one cannot afford. Equifax Canada wanted to share this information to the public to stop them from making mistakes that can have a severe negative impact on their credit history.

The recent survey further revealed that the majority of respondents do think that mortgage fraud is a growing problem. It also brought to light the fact that most consumers are not checking their credit scores prior to deciding to apply for a mortgage. 60% of the respondents admitted to not checking their credit scores before contacting a lender for a mortgage. This number is high, but a bit lower than the 68% who said the same in a similar survey in 2014.

Kuzmic says that mortgage lenders tend to examine credit scores closely, along with information such as income to have a better assessment of an individual’s ability to pay back a loan. Having a spotty credit history certainly won’t help and will probably mean getting a higher interest rate.

Stressed About Stress Tests

About half, or 48% of the respondents shared that they think the government should relax the mortgage stress test for first-time buyers. 38% shared that they think the government should simply eliminate the stress test.

Are you a lender who is having trouble verifying mortgage applicants’ information such as their income, their work, and other important data? Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss how our private investigation services can help you in your business. We crack down on mortgage fraud and we do it stress-free!