We Are Busy Again!?

May 23rd, 2013 Comments off

In numerous sectors we are witnessing an increase in the economy in terms of production; which of course directly causes further demand for labour from the manufacturing side.  In any other era or  other country this change would always mean more profit; however, what we are witnessing in this latest economy doesn’t necessarily mirror that belief or pattern; the age old adage “do more with less” is now more amplified than ever.  It seems almost everyone in any organization now requires their own personal hat rack for all the roles they are asked or forced to play.  For those that are privy to the bottom line information it is quite apparent that the margins are clearly down and in order to compete in this ‘global business office’ we are forced to make sacrifices and cut back where possible to sustain the type of growth necessary to stay competitive.

The days where we simply had to worry about our competition down the street or in the neighbouring cities are long gone.  Offshore manufacturing and technology has now become the new business model for many.  Cutting back on benefits and pensions with fewer personnel seems to be the most common survival technique in this guerilla style economy.  It’s astonishing to think that an item made 6 miles away will cost 10 times the amount as the same item made 6, 000 miles away.  This reality becomes increasingly difficult to accept for those building the goods that ultimately contribute to the finished product, for which the price remains consistent in the retail market.  After all, we’re not seeing the price of vehicles drop as the wages diminish.  The anger and continuous protest we are seeing from the unions persists to escalate as their legacy becomes infected with all their progression seemingly no longer relevant with this unprecedented global competition.  The direct obvious result is that the labour disputes continue in escalation with more negotiations being conducted with hostility and an exceptional sense of conviction as contract talks continue to go down to the wire.  This proves positive that management’s needs for further concessions in an attempt to stay competitive are simply too much for the workers to accept.

A few short months ago, the usual cold snowy Saturday morning wasn’t much of a sacrifice to the average worker and overtime seemed like a pretty good idea; certainly a logical one in terms of padding the pocket book.  But as the weather becomes increasingly pleasant, those Saturdays now fall straight in the middle of cottage plans or a possible outdoor getaway.  Suddenly that easy sacrifice receives much more resistance as quality family time now turns into ‘forced company time’.  As a result the employees deduce; with all these extra hours being added there must be a great deal of surplus in terms of finance, after all their sweat equity hasn’t diminished.  This frustration of being overworked and perceptually under paid has a number of negative bi-products associated with it such as workplace violence, company theft or sabotage, substance abuse, and of course benefit fraud in an attempt to manufacture their own subjectively deserved vacation.

This unrest in the workplace will continue until the labour market is completely assimilated to the new business model.  Whether our manufacturing jobs are emigrating overseas or we are forced into the overseas economy, this is a topic that will have to be continuously educated to our people in detail.

We have all often vacationed in these new manufacturing hotbeds; but if the current market is any indication, clearly we are now being forced to live there, only without the preferable weather.


The Most Common Weapons in a Workplace…Words

March 5th, 2013 2 comments

Physical violence in the workplace can lead to immediate termination based on the zero tolerance policies we, by now all have in place.  It’s not always the silver bullet to a career ender but it certainly is a good indicator that somebody is spiraling quickly.  Having said that, let’s look at what might drive an individual to commit a physical act toward a co-worker.

If I was a betting man I would always put my chips down on the catalyst being…words.  Words can without a doubt heal or steal the emotion from anyone on the receiving end and leave a lasting impression that can create or decimate a relationship in the workplace or any other setting.  The reality is that even a long lasting marriage can be ended with less than 3 words, whether those words are influenced by a confession or otherwise.  As parents, we continuously remind our children to not ‘tattle’ or don’t be the one to ‘cry wolf’.  Why do we do this?  The short answer is we want them to maintain integrity no matter what age they are.  We continuously make attempts and efforts to influence honest character traits to promote success both socially and professionally as they grow into productive citizens.

Comedians create routines that embellish stories based on truths in their lives, to enhance their routine for the paying customers looking on with raised expectations forcing the act to earn their hard earned money.  History’s greatest moments will forever be etched due to words; the greatest moments in anyone’s personal lives are memorialized by words.  Two simple words ‘I’ and ‘do’ can arguably be the most important words anyone can say.  Words evoke emotion and have an incredible ripple effect as ears accumulatively receive the messages; and in the end it is words that will memorialize us in our legacy.

As obvious as all this is, it is only recently that we have started to take serious action against those in the workplace that hurtfully utilize words with intentions as serious as automatic weapons.  The truth is that even simple innuendos of workplace romances can cause generations of hate and misfortune.  Allegations of workplace romance can quite easily ruin already delicate marriages where several children may be involved; not only for one family but in most cases two.  This is something I like to call The Madoff Effect – the wake that he left we will never know as generations will be forced to grow up with alternate plans due to one man’s malicious agenda.  Slander, libel, character assassination, defamation; these are all terms that can now be descriptors as a result of the misuse of words.

We recently conducted a workplace harassment investigation in a reputable organization where somebody’s world had been turned upside down both personally and professionally based on a co-worker’s spiteful use of words with the intention of simply getting the target off of his shift.  The result turned the town upside down; this is the story of Paul and Bill.

The angry co-worker (Bill) decided that he would start a rumour stating that Paul had been showing inappropriate videos to an 18 year old female summer student with the hope that Paul would simply be removed from the same crew as Bill.  The fact that the organization and most of the workers resided in the same small town caused this plan to end with catastrophic results.  The fact that the summer student’s father began to threaten Paul was the least of his worries.  Paul’s family was in turmoil. He could no longer walk the streets in town; he could no longer go to the grocery store or even attend church as a result of this vicious lie.  Even Bill was shocked at the result of his diabolical plan which continued to spin out of control.  Eventually we were called in to conduct an investigation through interviews of several co-workers who were well aware of this ongoing feud.  The investigation opened a Pandora’s Box that unveiled and implicated Bill in years of bullying with even further intimidated co-workers.  Although the result for Bill was less than desirable, the result of this slander for Paul was irreparable.  In the eyes of the public he would forever be labeled as ‘that guy’ regardless of his innocence because after all, as far as the public was concerned, there must have been some truth to it.


Tanks or Tank Tops?

January 9th, 2013 2 comments

For obvious reasons there has been a great deal of conversation surrounding the United State’s second amendment and the reason(s) and interpretation of its origin.  With the latest speech delivered by the US President vowing to make legislative changes to the “gun laws” it has become clearly illustrated that a great schism has been amplified surrounding this controversial right and the influence it has over the major news stories as of late.  The argument that will always exist when it comes to this topic will be the age old saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  This is a very accurate statement however the opposing side would argue “that there would be no motor vehicle fatalities if there were no motor vehicles.”  We could continue the debate utilizing different analogies for every product we use on a daily basis but in the end it’s all just speculation.  For the sake of remaining objective what we can do is look at the facts and the statistics we have been equipped with, because after all, the numbers don’t lie.

Last year handguns killed:

48 people in Japan

8 in Great Britain

34 in Switzerland

52 in Canada

58 in Israel

21 in Sweden

42 in West Germany

10, 728 in the United States (Source:  UNODC – UN Office of Drugs and Crime)

How does this affect the workplace?  548 of these events occurred as an act of workplace violence.

Now as bad as that sounds, Columbia, Honduras, and El Salvador are leaps and bounds above the US; Columbia being 12 times that of the US with Honduras and El Salvador roughly 10 times more. (Source:  UNODC – UN Office of Drugs and Crime)

The U.S., accounts for 4.5% of the world population, and about 40% of the planet’s civilian firearms, said Dr. Garen Wintemute, of the University of California, Davis, Medical Center.

The origin of the second amendment pre-dates the constitution and was part of the common law heritage of the thirteen original colonies.  There were a few reasons behind it; however, they may be somewhat outdated at this point; I’ll let you decide.

The fundamental reason for this piece of the constitution was to allow the absolute rights of individuals as: personal security and liberty, and possession of private property, and the right to have and use arms for self-preservation and defense.

The question is: defense against who, and when?

The answer is: when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.


To take a piece directly from Sir William Blackstone (an authoritative source of the common law for colonists):

“Nothing … ought to be more guarded against in a free state than making the military power … a body too distinct from the people.”  To prevent such an occurrence, Blackstone not only believed in the individual’s right to have and use arms, but further believed that for its defense, a nation should rely not on a standing army, but the citizen soldier. Plainly, for such a concept to be a reality, it was necessary that all able-bodied males possess and be capable of using arms.

From these historical writings an interpretation could be formed that the military should never be more powerful than the people and the people should always have the right and preparedness to fight back in the event that the state becomes too authoritative.

If this is true then I have but one question; why does the US account for 58 % of the total defense dollars paid out by the world’s top 10 military powers at a staggering $695.7 billion dollars in 2011 alone, (according to the most current statistics available), dwarfing second place China who came in at $120 billion, with Japan nabbing the bronze from the UK at $60 and $59 billion.

Upon review of these statistics and the population of the United States in 2011 (meaning every human of every age on U.S. soil) in order to compete with the government in terms of a civilian militia, each person would have had to spend just over $2,200 on weapons that year.  This also includes the 2,936,396 active and reserve military personnel.

Once again I must remind you that I am in no way being subjective; these are just the numbers.

Subsequent to doing my greatest impression of Sir Isaac Newton and having the numbers speak to me, the one opinion I did form from this, is that there are two types of societies in this world when it comes to bearing their arms; those that use tanks and those that use tank tops.

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November 27th, 2012 Comments off

The holiday season is once again upon us and for many the opinion is that this is the most wonderful time of the year; however, the results of the season benefit us all in terms of the economic contribution coupled with the foreshadowing of the fiscal year ahead.  Fortunately for us in the world of investigations it becomes a land of opportunity due to the fact that even the homebodies make an appearance for their seasonal errands, especially with the black Friday pandemonium which Canada seems to be progressively adopting.

It was this time last year we conducted surveillance on an insurance claim; an individual who’s list of restrictions were as long as a well behaved child’s Christmas list, along with this list the subject had a note stating he couldn’t operate a vehicle in any capacity for any purpose.  This particular individual was somewhat of a recluse and resided in a 12th floor apartment which made him an especially difficult assignment; however, we continued to keep track of his location by periodically stopping by his residence to ensure his name remained on the controlled access list to the building.  The one major advantage we had was the fact that he was a very tech savvy individual; which of course meant that he frequently utilized social media as an outlet Twitter being one of the services and as you may have guessed we were one of his 26 followers.

We got our break when he announced via tweet a door crasher item for the first few customers of a big box electronics retailer in a Black Friday sale; this particular item was a 50 inch plasma which we knew to be approximately 70lbs.  We also knew most of the other details through the same game changing tweet; the main detail being that the store would have a 6am opening and the lucky recipients of the “door crashing deal” would have to be among the first ones in.  Although this individual clearly hadn’t displayed the same passion or drive in his workplace we had to assume he would do all he could to be in that line.

We began conducting surveillance at 4pm in his building parking lot to ensure we wouldn’t miss his departure; the one crucial detail we were unclear on was the store location he would be attending.  It was approximately 11pm when we witnessed our subject get into his vehicle with no laboured movements I might add; and yes as you guessed it he was driving (restriction breach number 1).  We arrived at the retailer and observed that a small line had begun to congregate as they all clearly had the same goal in mind.  Initially we didn’t count more than 14 (including the investigator) at this time, so we had to assume either the other 12 followers hadn’t yet read his tweet or his influence was less than inspiring in its nature.  The investigator remained in line with the rest of the crowd for the duration of the night which proved to be more of a jovial camping atmosphere as the temperatures were abnormally pleasant.  During this duration the subject was observed moving about frequently with no issues as the evidence was continuously captured with the covert camera held by our undercover “occupy the door crasher line” investigator (restriction breach 2).

The clock now hit the 6am mark and the doors were about to open; the lineup had now reached to about 50 people as the excitement/ aggression grew as though they needed to retreat from the impending sunrise.  As the doors flew open we witnessed our subject (along with many others) hit the runway to deal town as they took off running with a compassion and speed Mr. Bolt himself would be envious of (restriction breach 3,4,5,and 6 – one for each fast moving limb).  The aggression and sense of urgency that had now possessed this new found bargain haven certainly wouldn’t allow for any courtesy, respect, or more importantly ergonomically correct lifting.  Our 180lb subject hoisted up the 70lb unit in a fashion comparable to a mother with newly conjured super strength lifting a car off of her child (restriction breach number 7 and 8 – one for each bicep).

Now you’re probably wondering if our investigator took advantage of any of the deals while he was there.

Even though I’m sure he wanted to, his hands were already full…………of evidence.


Short Attention Span Land

October 23rd, 2012 Comments off

If we think about the most common factor involved in all accidents; especially workplace related, it would be hard to argue the fact that attention span, or better yet lack of would be at the top.  For those that would like to argue that alcohol or drugs would play a part they would be correct as well.  Even though, the byproduct of these always equates to an impaired ability in terms of decision making, it is alike to an impaired ability to pay attention or a shortened attention span in general.

In fact, I challenge anyone to argue that the majority of today’s social problems stem from the fact that a person’s attention span has shortened greatly in the past generation.  Now, the saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ certainly wasn’t created anytime recently but the one major difference between then and now is the options we have available, literally at our fingertips.  The idea of getting off the couch to change the channel is appalling to today’s generation.  The term ‘channel surfing’ wouldn’t exist if we had nothing to surf or the convenience wasn’t there to do so.  This practice of ‘surfing’ has now expanded into many more aspects in society and as a result has made a number of life’s components disposable, which were once held in high regard.

What does all this mean, and how does this relate to investigations or anything in the workplace you ask?

In my opinion the number one component that has diminished is the loyalty society now possesses in our work, at home and at play.  The amount of people that move from job to job is unprecedented and could only be kept track through some type of computer program, or better yet a service of some sort…….wait, we have that!  That’s right for many of us without Linkedin we would lose contact with many of our colleagues as they drop into the abyss of the labour pool.  This of course directly affects the workplace because of the fact that retention becomes far more difficult when virtual carrots are continuously being dangled throughout cyberspace trying to apprehend your most valued employees based on the successes and skills that are continuously updated for all to see.

When we talk about our home life and how that has changed, this may be the biggest catalyst for workplace violence.  Listed in the top ten stressors of life, marital problems and divorce always rank in the top five.  This type of stress will always permeate within the workplace and cause a short fuse to those having the experience.  In the vast majority of all family court matters social media has been presented as evidence in some capacity.  This has certainly raised the profile of domestic disputes throughout the workplace in particular, so much so that they now have become a major part of what the human resources branch have since been tasked to monitor whether the relationships are in house or otherwise, as they all have the propensity to lead to workplace violence.

We are witnessing an era where the world has the biggest addiction in history…..technology.  In some cases it is absolutely necessary in order to survive competitively; however, in many cases we have chosen to place a leash around our necks and allow anyone to contact us at anytime.  In many workplaces we have policies in place outlawing the use of these devices during work hours.  Not even 15 years ago we would have had to wait for a break to make contact with anyone on a personal level.  Nowadays while somebody is assembling what could be a lifesaving device on the manufacturing floor, their attention may be divided with the fact that they have to grab a bag of milk on the way home by a reminder they may have just received.

On top of all the compounding expenses to stay competitive in the marketplace, perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face is to ensure that in crucial times we ignore all the distracting options (whether they are technology based or otherwise) and pay attention; after all we are the ones controlling the technology?


Diversity Doesn’t Mean Adversity in Surveillance

September 24th, 2012 Comments off

In the world of investigations it is of the utmost importance for the investigator to remain virtually invisible yet be able to capture evidence that can be as detailed as the subject’s eye colour; however, quite often the most intricate piece of an investigation is simply to establish identity.   With our population growth and expanding melting pot this task can become progressively difficult, requiring new investigative tools as well as the creativity of the investigators themselves.  Our present economy is another factor that also adds to the complexity with more and more family members being forced to share a residence again emphasizing the importance of establishing identity.

In dealing with these situations the most advantageous point to conduct surveillance would be a time where we can be absolutely certain that the subject will be attending an event or better yet an appointment, keeping in mind that we continuously operate with an objective view point.  In other words we only want the truth as opposed to making an attempt to prove a theory we may have been lead to believe.

In a recent case we ran into all these issues simultaneously in a very busy area in the GTA.  We were to conduct surveillance on a lady who was claiming a leg injury and as a result was unable to walk without the assistance of a cane.  The one big advantage we had in this particular case was the fact that we were armed with a date for her to attend for an assessment.  We had a physical description such as height, age, and weight so with this information we set up outside the subject’s house.  We knew her appointment was at 3pm and that she was at least 30 minutes (without traffic) from where her doctor was located.  At approximately 3:20pm she exited her home with a cane in her hand; however, holding it like a baton rather than a support.  We then observed her walk past the car parked in the driveway and towards the nearest bus stop.  Everything matched the description of the lady we were assigned to except one minor detail, she was wearing a burca completely hiding her face.  We now had to focus on other details that would prove this to be the right person in order to allow the evidence admissible.

As she walked toward the bus stop she realized her bus had already arrived as people were pouring on and her quick step immediately turned to a full out sprint.  Our investigator had hit the jackpot. We now had the lady in question clearly breaching her alleged restrictions.  The investigator continued to focus on her shoes as they were the only articles that stood out from the rest of the traditional garment.  We had now captured the evidence, all we had left to prove was her identity.  We knew she was going to a doctor’s appointment and we knew the location.   Based on the normal practice of presenting your name when entering a reception area; we knew this would be the key ingredient to proving her identity and matching this sprinter (and her shoes) to the subject in question.   Now all we had to do was beat the bus to the destination – and that is exactly what the investigator did – waiting for the subject with a covert camera in hand.  Oblivious to our ‘invisible’ investigator; as the subject arrived and gave her name, the receptionist wasn’t the only one recording it.

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AFIMAC Security Expands into Latin America

August 15th, 2012 Comments off

North American Security and Crisis Response Leader Acquires Mena International Group, Extending its Expertise to Latin America

CLEVELAND, OHAugust 14, 2012AFIMAC, a North American leader in corporate security and crisis response has announced its acquisition of Mena International Group, specialists in security, investigations and crisis response within Latin America. The buy-out comes just two weeks after AFIMAC announced its corporate merger of AFI International and IMAC Global, a move intended to streamline its services across North America. This flurry of alliance and acquisition activity signals a major growth and expansion phase for the well-recognized and elite group of security companies.

Through the acquisition of Mena International, AFIMAC will now further extend its reach into Latin America in order to better serve those companies with multi-regional operations. Latin America is a very important market for AFIMAC’s global clients and, based on its superior reputation, Mena was selected as the best security partner that could bring access, security expertise and experience across the region.

“We are thrilled to make Mena, part of our AFIMAC family, says Peter Martin, president and CEO of AFIMAC Global. “Whether it is a kidnap for ransom, labor dispute, cargo security matter, or executive protection requirement, AFIMAC is now able to service the entire corridor through North and South America.”

“AFIMAC is a company that isn’t afraid to invest real dollars into markets that their clients regard as critical, says Ruben Mena, president of Mena International Group. “With its excellent reputation and far-sighted vision, we see it as a golden opportunity to join forces and are confident of future success under the same brand.”

Combining the strengths of AFI International and International Management Assistance Corporation (IMAC), AFIMAC Global is a leader in the provision of comprehensive corporate security and contingency planning services through North and South America and also offers global services. Its diverse capabilities include executive protection, labor dispute planning & response, cargo security & escorts, disaster & emergency response, corporate investigations, workplace violence assessment & response. With a distinguished management team and highly skilled personnel, AFIMAC Global is well known for its high quality service delivery and immediate responsiveness. www.afimacglobal.com

About Mena International Group
With services spanning from investigations, crisis management, executive protection and emergency response, Mena International Group is recognized as the premier trusted security service provider for companies across Latin America. www.menasecurity.com

For media inquiries, please contact Kathy Hungerford, AFIMAC, 1-800-554-4622

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Two Elite Corporate Security Companies Merge as AFIMAC

August 1st, 2012 Comments off

AFI International Group Inc. (AFI) and International Management Assistance Corporation (IMAC) come together as one super firm to bring leading-edge security and crisis management services to clients across the globe

CLEVELAND, OH — August 1, 2012 — Five years after partnering to assist clients with their security operations, AFI, a leader in crisis management and response, and IMAC, with expertise in emergency response, risk management and business continuity services, have announced a merger into one company: AFIMAC. This new firm will deliver a stronger, more unified array of security services and will continue to provide the highest levels of customer service to its diverse client bases globally.

Through the merger, AFIMAC, becomes a single source solution for companies across the globe, no matter where they require top quality security and crisis services. Unifying the culture of the two companies has been an easy transition as employees in both firms have been interacting regularly on joint accounts.

By combining forces in this way, AFIMAC also brings together more than 55 years of industry-leading experience in emergency response, strike security, risk management, and business continuity services to protect its clients’ people and property, both during times of crisis and regular business operations.

“More and more clients have been turning to AFI and IMAC for a full range of services on both sides of the border,” says Peter Martin, AFIMAC president & CEO. “Merging the two companies streamlines how we can deliver this, with the highest quality levels and the greatest cost-effectiveness in the security industry.”

According to Martin, exceptional service will continue to be the hallmark of the new company:

“100 percent of our clients have been able to maintain their desired level of operation during a crisis … and 100 percent of client projects have been on budget, met projections, and delivered the promised services. The bottom line is clients come to us when they are facing significant risk and need operations executed flawlessly.”

With the security industry’s leading senior management team at the helm, AFIMAC promises to deliver unrivalled security and crisis expertise to its markets. The new firm offers an assortment of pre-crisis contingency planning and premium security and emergency response solutions to government and businesses in nearly every sector and industry with proven results.

“AFIMAC brings a refreshing cohesion in the corporate security sector,” says Stephen Anderson, AFIMAC vice president. “The new venture clearly shows that we have invested heavily in assembling a global group of services and experts, instead of informal partnerships, which is truly exceptional in our industry.”

Combining the strengths of AFI International and International Management Assistance Corporation (IMAC), AFIMAC is a leader in the provision of comprehensive corporate security and contingency planning services globally. Its diverse capabilities include labor dispute planning & response, cargo security & escorts, disaster & emergency response, corporate investigations, workplace violence assessment & response, and executive protection. With a distinguished management team and highly skilled personnel, AFIMAC is well known for its high quality service delivery and immediate responsiveness.

About AFI International Group Inc.
AFI International Group provides elite security, risk management, business continuity and investigative services to protect people and property both during labor disruption and regular business operations. AFI also offers an assortment of pre-crisis planning and premium security solutions to businesses representing nearly every industry.

About International Management Assistance Corporation
International Management Assistance Corporation (IMAC) offers elite security, risk management and business continuity services to image conscious companies across North America. IMAC has partnered with their clients to protect people and property both during times of crisis and regular business operations. The company also offers an assortment of pre-crisis planning and premium security solutions to businesses representing nearly every industry.

For media inquiries, please contact Kathy Hungerford, AFIMAC, 1-800-554-4622

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One Man’s Garbage is an Investigator’s Treasure

July 16th, 2012 Comments off

As the summer haze continues, so does the exertion and in most organizations the volume escalates in terms of demand.  With the record breaking temperatures we are experiencing this year, we will no doubt see a much greater incentive (air conditioned or not) to be away from work.  It’s as accurate as any formula; as the temperature raises the motivation to produce for the organization declines, and quite often as an addendum the projects at the homestead amplify, whether it is in the category of a want, or a need.

This formula was put on trial recently in a case we investigated through surveillance involving a man nearing retirement at a manufacturing facility.  The individual had complained of the heat and that the workload was becoming too taxing on his almost 60 year old body, as a result the organization carried out the morally correct decision and allowed the individual a lighter load in terms of his required duties.  Although the organization offered what would be considered an ethically correct gesture to the man their return was less than equated; in fact the opportunist was quick to analyze their kindness for weakness and continued to push for progressively lighter duties as the weeks went on.  It got to the point where the individual just flat out told the HR department that he needed time off and regardless of the lessened duties they offered they were simply not enough to allow his tired body the rest it needed.  It was clear that his plan was working and soon he would have his wish of a workless summer.

Our investigations branch was contacted to look further into this matter as they could now articulate a more ‘drastic’ measure to combat this issue.  We were sent some images of this individual in his workplace attempting to complete his duties.  At first glance it was clear this individual was either an Oscar worthy actor or he was expeditiously in need of an ambulance.

We decided we would begin surveillance as he departed the facility on his last day of work before his self-inflicted vacation.  Like the famous prose “dance as though nobody is watching”; that is exactly what this individual did.  As he was walking out of the building dependent on his cane he pulled his greatest Keyser Soze impression as the ‘necessary’ cane was quickly hoisted over his shoulder and the only weight that laboured his leg was the skip in his step as he demonstrated his victory walk to his SUV.  We could now clearly see his true intention; the only thing to do now was gather further evidence of his drastic embellishment.  As surveillance continued on his drive home we noticed him stopping at the side of the road; it turns out a shelving unit had caught his eye.  He proceeded to lift the unit in the most un-ergonomically correct way possible as he held his keys in his mouth he maneuvered the newly found treasure deep into the back of his Rav 4.

The next day we continued the surveillance to maintain the continuity of this workplace investigation.  As the sun rose, so did our evidence; it turns out spring cleaning was on his list of things to.  He began to load up his truck with garbage from his garage.  As the surveillance continued we followed him to the dump as we witnessed him toss the tires as though he was throwing a discus in the Olympics, and yes with one hand.  It was clear that either he had found a fountain of youth in the city dump or the only part of him that was fatigued at work was his integrity.

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Workplace insurance fraud a real risk, says expert

June 7th, 2012 Comments off

Article by 20/20 Canadian Manufacturing & Exporters’ Magazine

A worker breaks his back roofing, gets hospitalized for three months, and is off work from his manufacturing job for a year. His neighbour, a long-time acquaintance, lets slip he is working under the table for cash, while at the same time receiving workplace injury benefits.

As his employer – who is obviously concerned about the overall productivity of your operations – what would you do?

Desmond Taljaard makes it his mission to provide companies with the answer. As vice president of corporate investigations and security services with AFI International, Taljaard oversees internal investigations into workers’ compensation issues. Much of his work involves investigating the validity of claims and working with employers to see if there is fraudulent activity or workplace injury fraud.

“I would define it as someone feigning an injury in order to gain benefit when they are not entitled to that benefit,” says Taljaard, who estimates there could be as much as $100 million spent each year investigating potentially fraudulent claims in Ontario.

And while many cases do turn out to be fabricated, Taljaard adds that a high percentage end up being legitimate claims. “Someone will be hit by a forklift. Someone will hurt their back.”

When an incident occurs, certain red flags start to jump out. For example, complaints of pain may not match the case, or colleagues may see a supposedly injured employee out and about. Investigations, however, have made even easier by a growing culture of connectedness and social media. Public profiles like Facebook are much less intrusive than surveillance.

“People freely post ‘broke 90 today on the links’ as their status update,” says Taljaard, a former policeman and detective. “Colleagues know each other better than human resources or employers in most cases, and they’re the ones who feel the pressure of a lost employee.”

And when these cases are caught, there are consequences.

Read more…

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