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Amos’ Moment of Terror

12 Jul

July 12, 2021

Amos: I didn’t know where I was!
Me: But you went-
Amos: Then the lights went out!

Amos comes to the office once a week, every week, for as long as he has been working for the company. He has been working for the company for better than two decades.

Amos has had some issues with the fax machine my boss bought him.

Amos: I sent it back to the manufacturer.
Me: Didn’t it come from Amazon?
Amos: It came in the mail.

After exhausting every effort to get the fax machine working, my boss finally faced the reality that he was fighting a losing battle. He printed out the return free shipping label from Amazon and asked Amos to pack up the machine and send it back to Amazon.

Amos took it to his neighborhood Staples, where they boxed it up and shipped it to Cannon, for $32.75.

Amos: It was the right thing to do.

With no fax machine, it was more important than ever to get his email working. He had somehow blocked me so neither I nor our general office account (also blocked) could reach him. I found out today that he also blocked our other supervisor and the boss. Amos had blacklisted the three most important people in the office.

I found the directions to remove the blacklist. I told Amos it would probably take me a few minutes.

Amos: Can you take your time?
Me: Sure.
Amos: I have to go to the bathroom. I might be awhile.
Me:
Amos: I’ll bring my phone.

Amos had not returned after awhile. I was not sure how long but I had finished the email and moved on to other work. Then:

Amos: I got lost!
Me: Where did you go?
Amos: I went to the bathroom.
Me: Our bathroom?
Amos: The lights are on a timer. They only give you 15 minutes.

Amos explained that he was in the bathroom when the lights went out. He did not know what to do. Amos explained that after he completed his business, he slowly opened the stall door. Amos did not want to hit his head on the door, he said, so he turned with the door and closed it. But now he was turned around.

Amos: I was afraid to move.
Me: Shouldn’t the lights have come back on? There’s a motion sensor.
Amos: I moved so slow I guess it didn’t see me.

Amos, in closing the stall door, had spun himself around and did not know if he was facing a sink, a stall, or a wall. He felt for the wall and then made his way along it, feeling along inch by inch, until he found the door and escaped the 8′ by 10′ room.

I tested Amos’ email before he left. We are all still blocked. The problem must be in his phone, not the account settings on the sever. Amos is now effectively unemployed until he gets this problem solved. He’ll probably buy a new phone.

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Mr. Blog, P.I.

28 Feb

February 28, 2021

Longtime readers of this blog who have not yet unsubscribed know that Mr. Blog has at various times been employed as a teacher, part-time pickle salesman, agent of a Company I Am not allowed to name, and now as a private investigator.

I handle insurance cases for corporate clients, mostly, but also do work for New York City and State. In my years as a PI I have read autopsy reports, submitted Freedom of Information Requests, and watched surveillance footage of a mechanic getting mooned. (It was even funnier than you think.)

Confidentiality requires that I do not name names or keep personal video, or trust me, that mooned mechanic would have been all over the internet.  

About a year and a half ago I handled a construction claim where the claimant alleged injury while hauling debris down a ramp. Typical construction WC claim (Workers Compensation). As DoF (Director of Field Operations for my company) I had my investigators interview the insured owner, take witness statements, obtain photos and measurements of the ramp and equipment in question, obtain surveillance footage of the accident (in this case, no video cameras were on site) and get all pertinent documents- leases, COI (certificate of insurance), accident reports, etc.

It sounds simple and it should be, but factor in lack of cooperation since no company owner ever seems to think they need to speak to us despite our being there to defend them, and this can drag on for months. This case was completed in about 6 weeks. I filed two reports and it was over, on my end. On the insurance company’s end, cases like this drag on for (on average) two to six years. If the claimant has no identification or documentation, or the insured company has kept no records, both being common in construction, it can go on and on.

So that was 2019. Last week, I was forwarded an anonymous tip in this matter. It alleged (I will use generalities, no specifics) that the injured party in that old accident case was a major drug dealer who flew on a certain airline to certain cities to get drugs and bring them to New York. The email listed specific cities and months of travel and detailed the way this person funneled money though various accounts to buy the drugs. The anonymous tipster said that the claimant was lying about getting hurt and had faked injuries before to get money to buy “huge” amounts of drugs. It suggested that we subpoena his travel records and bank accounts.

OK.

(FYI, I cannot subpoena anything. Common misconceptions are that a PI can subpoena anything- we can serve subpoenas and write them on behalf of others, but not for ourselves- and that we can obtain ambulance records, 911 calls and medical records. We cannot. Those require HIPPA authorizations from the patient.)

I spoke with the insurance carrier who asked me if I could verify the facts of the email. I told her no, not the specifics, but we would delve into his background and see what we can find. (Background searches are fairly common in accident cases, but we had not done one in this case as it wasn’t necessary.)

It took awhile to pinpoint the correct person since it isn’t as easy as searching a name. You need pedigree info and we had very little but once we found the correct individual, here’s what we found:

The subject was the subject of a Federal sting operation and he was caught bringing very, very large amounts of cocaine to New York from other states. He had a long record of violent drug offenses and spent a lot of time in prison. He was also very litigious, suing the NYPD and the Police Commissioner for false arrest. One news article quoted him as complaining about the food in prison. So no, I reported, we can’t verify the specific facts of the email but generally, yes, this was (and I quote from my verbal report) “one bad dude.”

After careful consideration, the lawyer I consulted with from the insurance company asked me if I could set up a fake drug buy.

No, I replied. No

I wrote up my report and billed it out, as any good private investigator would.

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