Claude Bookout is President of United Investigations International, a private investigations firm located in Austin, Texas. ( Texas license number: C9472

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United International Investigations is an experienced private investigations firm with a reputation for integrity, dependability, and thoroughness. The firm provides its clients with a broad range of investigative assistance. Corporations, law firms, and prominent individuals have relied on its professional team of investigators to obtain power and control over their particular situations.

Another social media cautionary tale

Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. It also has become a space for criminals of all sorts to steal identities or engage in illicit activities. Past blogs have noted ways to protect your identity and personal information in a digital and online world (Example: The media recently reported another worry of social media. It is a bizarre story, but not surprising to professional private detectives.

It appears that Angela Voelkert created a fake account for 17-year-old “Jessica Studebaker,” complete with an attractive photo, and friended her ex-husband. Suspecting all along that it was his wife, David obtained a notarized affidavit: “I am lying to this person to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife trying to again tamper in my life… In no way do I have plans to leave with my children or do any harm to Angela Dawn Voelkert or anyone else.” He then proceeded to tell the person he had illegally installed a GPS unit on his ex-wife’s car and was seeking to hire someone to kill her. Angela turned this over to the FBI, who, in turn, arrested David. Having produced the notarized affidavit, however, David was able to turn the tables on Angela.

See stories in Time and HuffingtonPost.
This twisted tale is unsurprising to the professional investigator because domestic cases, especially those involving custody of children, often are fraught with high emotions. David’s decision to obtain a sworn affidavit was a good idea, but unlikely something most individuals would think of doing. It is not clear whether David was acting under the guidance of a private investigator, but most would have suggested doing exactly what David did. What is more, they could have given David additional security by recording and witnessing his social media interactions with “Jessica Studebaker.”

This story is just another reason private investigators are becoming more necessary in today’s world. Private investigators can assist clients in a variety of personal matters, including those in the still legally uncertain domain of social media. A quality private investigator would have dissuaded Angela from trying to entrap her husband. Instead, she or he would have suggested more civil procedures. For example, Angela should have considered having David’s everyday activities surveilled for some time to insure he was living a life that was proper for their children. In the end, of course, it is possible the investigator would have discovered that David was, in fact, a good father. This evidence could have been reassuring to Angela. Private detectives are not “hired guns” that seek to prove a client’s case for them. Ethical investigators act as collectors of information and third-party witnesses and mediators. Retaining their services is no guarantee of getting what you want, but it certainly would have been prudent for Angela.  

If In previous posts, we have provided advice that will assist you in finding a quality private investigator and making a good decision regarding the fit of a particular investigator with your case.