Surprising Information Creates Solid Leads for Investigators

Glen Goldstein
Blog Post05/09/2018

These stories share how the combination of data fusion and traditional investigation often yields amazing results.

Prior to the advent of tools like TLOxp®, investigators and law enforcement personnel trying to locate a subject relied exclusively on methods like extensive paper shuffling, searches of disparate databases, canvass interviews, and pretext phone calls with concocted aliases and scenarios to extract connections.

While these techniques are still a valuable part of many investigations, they can be prohibitively time-consuming — and sometimes tip off a subject to an investigator’s intentions.

Data fusion has made things a lot easier. More leads are obtained through detailed searches that cross-reference public and proprietary information, enabling investigation and surveillance to happen much more quickly, effectively and discreetly.

A simple search of a name can turn up dozens of connections, including potentially relevant people the original subject may never have met. Perhaps these individuals lived at the same address, worked at the same company, or bought or sold something connected to the subject, and may be able to provide information that helps pinpoint a location. Used properly, a TLOxp search can uncover solid leads in ways that were unimaginable to investigators in the past.

Here are a few ways data fusion has led to surprising leads – and solved cases:

Abduction, solved

A father’s misplaced trust in a babysitter — and her misplaced trust in her boyfriend — resulted in a harrowing abduction. Fortunately, TLOxp’s unique algorithms provided key insights that led to the child’s safe return.

The sitter “felt fine” leaving the five-year-old with her boyfriend while she ran a simple errand. But when she returned, both were gone. Police quickly determined the boyfriend was likely responsible for the abduction.

An investigator conducted a TLOxp search on the individual and followed a data trail from California to Hawaii and finally to Guam. The report featured a relationship diagram which graphically illustrated associates connected to the individual. Google Earth integration further narrowed the list of possible locations, and all signs led to an address in Guam. A local investigator was fed the location and he arrived to rescue the child — along with a few other children — who were due to be moved to a child trafficking ring within days.

The Guam address and the person who lived there weren’t obvious associations, but TLOxp’s relationship diagram made the imperative connections.

Disability, disproven

Two days after Christmas, investigators sat outside the Staten Island home of a civil servant suspected of filing a false disability claim. Much to their surprise, the suspect emerged carrying suitcases for her five children and seemed perfectly capable of packing them into her car and heading south. This from a woman who claimed she was unable to lift anything, and therefore unable to do her job.

Over 900 miles later, the investigators lost their target just over the Florida border after being forced to stop for fuel. Fortunately, the pursuers were able to use data fusion to pick up the trail again.

A search uncovered the address of a possible associate in an Ocala, Florida gated community. The investigators headed to the location and re-acquired visual surveillance. They then tracked the target during her trips to a shopping mall and a horse farm. Needless to say, the individual’s full disability claim was disproven, largely thanks to the data breadcrumbs that led investigators to the right door.

Malpractice, made right

A cancer misdiagnosis ended a career. Except, it didn’t.

A New York City-based television actor sued his doctor for malpractice after being mistakenly told he had lung cancer —claiming the mental distress it caused had ruined his career. Investigators were tasked with verifying his claims, but he’d pulled a disappearing act. Fortunately, the power of data fusion combined with boots on the ground found him.

A reverse address look-up revealed a possible associate who lived in the Catskills, so the investigators drove there. Good, old-fashioned shoe leather led them to a pizza shop that happened to feature the actor’s face on an autographed poster. Turns out, the target frequented the shop regularly, and he wound up walking in the door about a half-hour after his pursuers.

Subsequent surveillance led investigators to a country club where they observed the supposedly distraught actor’s daily routine of hitting golf balls and smoking about a half pack of cigarettes and three cigars. Needless to say, this evidence led to a jury verdict in favor of the physician. Without the data, the investigators wouldn’t have reached the Catskills. And without their in-person skill, they wouldn’t have picked up his trail. In the end, a marriage of old and new techniques led to a solved case.

Leverage the power of data to drive your investigations

TLOxp’s proprietary data fusion engine gives investigators and law enforcement officials access to more than 125 billion records derived from more than 10,000 data sources— an arsenal of knowledge that includes such unique elements as motor vehicle records, police reports, bank activity, credit bureau data, vehicle sightings, and much more. The interface presents these disparate data elements in a clear, usable format, and enables investigators to map surprising associations that can break cases wide open.

TransUnion firmly believes in using “Information for Good.” And in the hands of dedicated, qualified investigators, TLOxp is a powerful tool that accomplishes this mission.

If you’d like to find out more about TLOxp, or you’re a current user who would like to learn how to fully leverage its capabilities, contact TransUnion today.

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