Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stealing in the name of the Lord

These are hard times, and often enough some of us cling to our religions to seek spiritual fulfillment and guidance. Because of the feeling of community and in some religions the teachings of giving some people easily fall pray to the vultures that are out there waiting for them. Below is a case that illustrates how some can be preyed upon and what they could have done to prevent it.  

One Thursday afternoon our offices received a call from an attorney that we occasionally do some work for. The attorney has a client that is in dire need of locating someone that has conned and swindled them out of thousands of dollars. Our investigator Steve Morrow called the clients and made arrangements to meet with them at their residence the following morning. The following morning our investigator met with the two clients they were both elderly and heavily involved with their church. The clients explain that they had recently come into some money and a minister that was visiting their church had started speaking to them about investing into a recording project that he was working on. The minister advised our clients that the project would bring in several million dollars and that they would receive not only their investment back, but also 2% of the returns for the sales and cd royalties from the project.The minister further made things appealing by stating that our clients church would also benefit from this transactions with new vans that would be purchased and donated to the church in honor of our clients. Our clients mulled the idea over and finally relented and made a deal. 

The minister and a business associate met with our clients at our clients bank, our clients asked the minister how the check should be addressed and the minister stated in their name. Our client acquiesced to their request and received a cashiers check from their bank, the minister cashed the check and gave half of the money over to his associate. At first the minister kept in touch with my clients, calling them and even visiting their church. But soon other people started asking questions about the project, the minister would make an excuse and eventually stopped receiving calls and going to the church altogether. 

A few months later the client gets in touch with an attorney, and the attorney had the clients call us. Our investigator immediately called the minister in an effort to see whether the minister was still using the same con. Utilizing a suitable pretext, the minister began to try and sell our investigator on the same exact scam that he did with our clients, our clients who were hearing the conversation over speaker phone listened. Our client even wrote down questions that they wanted answers to, the minister answered their questions which would help them secure more evidence to present to the judge. After 20 minutes of trying to con our investigator, our investigator exited the conversation with the probability of a call back. The only difference in the conversation between the minister and our investigator was the buy in price, the minister was asking our investigator for $20,000. At this point our investigator advises the client as to what needs to be done and we start working on our case. 

Approximately three weeks later our offices have located the minister, we have also located other cases that the minister has been involved in. Now we are standing outside of the ministers door ready with some legal documents that will be needed in order to initiate a law suit against the minister. We knock on the door and an elderly woman about 80 plus answers the door, she advises that she is the ministers mother and that the minister is not in at the moment but will be coming back home later to take her to the doctors office, not wanting to press the issue and now confirming where the minister resides, our investigator decides to wait until the one day where most ministers in this religion do their work, Sunday. The following Sunday morning our investigator arrives at the ministers residence, the sun has not come out yet, but knowing that this is church day we did not want to risk losing the minister. At approximately 7:30 our investigator approaches the ministers residence and hears gospel music being played loudly from the inside of the residence. Our investigator knocks on the door, the door creaks open and the older lady from our previous attempt is observed through the crack of the door, suspicion immediately shows in her face and our investigator explains that we need to speak with the minister, she advises that the minister is asleep right now. At this time we have tried to sit and wait a few times, we advise that the minister is being sued and that we have paperwork for him, the mother gets really upset and yells that she is not accepting the paperwork, at this time our investigator had obtained photographs of the lady and respectfully placed the papers on the doorstep and took photographs of them. 

On the way back to our offices our investigators phone rings, our client calls and says that the minister has been calling all morning and has left several messages. Our client asks us what should be done, we advise that the client should tell the minister to pay up, that all that is done in the dark will come to light and until the minister gives a full refund. Our client made several mistakes in this case, had they run a background investigation they would have found that this minister has committed these type of crimes in the past. Also they should never have issued the minister a check in the ministers name, the minister stated that they represent an organization, our clients should have addressed the check to the organization. Our client should have made more of an effort to know exactly how the ministers business was run, where it was located, who worked for the business, and also obtained weekly reports on the project. Our client just felt that since this was a minister and was a purported person of God, they should automatically be believed, unfortunately they learned that this minister was stealing from the Lord. 

Morrow Detective Agency is a licensed private investigation firm located on the border of Ventura and Los Angeles, Ca in Simi Valley, CA. Morrow Detective Agency is capable of performing surveillance, process service, locates, background investigations, asset investigations, and more. Please feel free to visit our website at or give us a call at (805) 823-3540 and allow us to make your problem our solution!