Maine Licensed Private Investigators Association Announces 2017 Training

TRAINING OPPORTUNITY FOR PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHERS

The MLPIA (www.mlpia.org) annual training workshop will be held this year on Friday September 15, 2017 at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland. This year’s presenter will be Cynthia Hetherington of the Hetherington Group – see (https://www.hetheringtongroup.com)

The training topics will be Open Source (OSINT) and Social Media investigation. Cynthia is one of the nation’s leaders in this topic area and we expect a great presentation.

The Italian Heritage Center will be providing a very nice lunch buffet; afternoon and morning breaks will also be provided. It should be a great venue for our workshop. (https://italianheritagecenter.com)

We will have registration and pricing details sent out as soon as we can put it together. There will be a discounted rate for MLPIA members as well as some early bird sign up specials. We are going to invite the law enforcement community and the members of several other professional organizations as well.

Remember to save the date – Friday September 15, 2017 and look for details to follow soon.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Tom Santaguida, Director of Dirigo Investigations, LLC is the 2017 President of the Maine Licensed Private Investigator’s Association. Tom may be reached at (207) 373-9317 or by e-mail tom@

Help FBI Agent (RET.) Bob Levinson

To anyone who visits the website of Dirigo Investigations, LLC, I urge them to take a moment to become aware of the plight of Mr. Bob Levinson, retired FBI agent being held in captivity in Iran. If somehow, someway, someone reading this has some way to help Mr. Levinson and his family, it is your duty to do so.

Please visit the website link: Help Bob Levinson

 

 

 

Dirigo Investigations Director Tom Santaguida Announces Summer Intern Selection

Dirigo Investigations HQ, Brunswick, ME.

May 22, 2014

Contact: Thomas A. Santaguida, Director

Tom Santaguida, Director of Dirigo Investigations, LLC of Brunswick, ME has announced the firm’s selection for summer intern 2014. Ms. Krissinda Palmer – a 3rd year Criminology Student at the University of Southern Maine has been selected for the position.

After reviewing numerous applications, Ms. Palmer was selected after an interview of four finalists. Her high grade point average, focus, apparent work ethic and excellent communication skills were all factors in her selection.

Krissinda begins her duties as an Investigative Analyst intern on Monday June 16, 2014 after returning from Sweden on a trip to study the criminal justice system there.

Dirigo Investigations is very pleased with the selection and looks forward to the opportunity to work with Ms. Palmer this summer.

Colonel Business Attire

Tom Santaguida is President and Senior Investigator at Dirigo Investigations. Tom may be reached at (207) 373-9317 or by e-mail at: tom@dirigois.com

Dirigo Investigations Seeks Summer 2014 Intern Applicants

Contact: Dirigo Investigations, LLC.

Thomas Santaguida   tom@dirigois.com    (207) 373-9317

INTERNSHIP: INVESTIGATIONS ANALYST AND INVESTIGATIONS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Date of Announcement: February 25, 2014

Dirigo Investigations is a Brunswick, Maine based professional investigations firm providing investigation services to Clients in Maine, nationwide and internationally. Dirigo Investigations conducts legal investigations on an ethical platform. Dirigo Investigations provides investigation services to insurance, corporate, law firm and private Clients. We generally do not provide criminal defense investigation services, although all requests are carefully considered.

Internship Summary:

Dirigo Investigations, LLC is seeking candidates to apply for a paid internship beginning in late May 2014 and ending prior to the beginning of the fall 2014 semester. The person selected may have the opportunity for part-time employment during the 2014-2015 school years and upon graduation, full time employment at the end of the 2015 school year.

Internship Position Summary Information:

Dirigo Investigations is seeking qualified applicants for an internship. We are seeking a person with a diverse set of skills and personal/professional characteristics. The internship position will be 20 hours per week. Hours per week may vary. The intern will be required to complete a very wide range of diverse tasks relating to the full operation and administration of an investigations firm. Some work at home may be permitted.

Position Tasks and Duties*:

  • Investigative research and investigation support
  • Pre-employment background verification research
  • Contact with Clients by phone, e-mail and by paper letter
  • Evidence administration and handling
  • Technology tasks
  • Marketing, sales
  • Basic administrative duties
  • Other related duties as assigned by the Director. 

*Interns qualifying for an Investigative Assistant (IA) License may become a licensed IA and participate in investigations.

Minimum Qualifications and Requirements:

Applicants must be a student in good standing in a relevant major area of study. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.  Applicants must have a current and valid, unrestricted driver license and reliable method of transportation to Brunswick, Maine.  Applicants must have a clear background to meet the minimum requirements necessary to obtain an Investigator’s Assistant license. The intern must be willing to sign a “no-compete and confidentiality” agreement to ensure that proprietary, protected and otherwise confidential investigative information is secure. The candidate selected for the position must pass a comprehensive background check. The intern must be available to work at least three days per week and/or at least 20 hours per week*

*The possibility of increased hours being offered may occur

Students who have successfully completed their junior year, but have not yet started their senior year in/by the spring of 2014 are preferred.

Desired Skills and Characteristics: 

  • Excellent time manager
  • Excellent organization skills
  • Excellent communication skills: verbal and written
  • Excellent inter-personal skills and ability to relate to persons from all walks of life
  • Ability to keep sensitive investigation information 100% confidential
  • Ability to maintain discretion
  • Naturally inquisitive and intuitive
  • Skilled at the use of modern technology platforms
  • Skilled problem solver
  • Highly skilled at use, examination and navigation of popular social media
  • Skill at using a wide variety of electronics
  • Confident
  • Professional appearance
  • Enthusiastic
  • Willing to accept and execute a wide range of duties
  • Exceptional writing skills
  • Interest in a career in private sector investigations
  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Be able and willing to speak confidently to people you do not know about sensitive investigation issues
  • Prompt

The successful candidate will participate in the full range of activities necessary to running a small investigations firm. Interns who complete the summer program successfully may be offered to be sponsored as an Investigative Assistant and continued part-time employment — and upon graduation, Dirigo may offer full time employment and strategically place a successful intern in a full time position.

Application Procedure:

Qualified and interested students should submit: 1) a one page cover letter of interest; 2) a resume including personal contact information to Dirigo Investigations, LLC 18 Pleasant Street, Suite 507, Brunswick, ME  04011 by US Mail or by e-mail to: info@dirigois.com no later than Friday April 4, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Late applications will be discarded.

Selection Process:

Dirigo Investigations will interview final candidates at the Dirigo office in Brunswick, Maine sometime before Friday May 2, 2014. Finalists may be required to demonstrate competency and be required to submit additional materials prior to the interview. Candidates not selected will be notified by US mail and/or e-mail.

Anticipated Internship Dates:

Monday June 2, 2014 through Friday August 15, 2014

 Contact:

Thomas A. Santaguida, President/Senior Investigator

Dirigo Investigations, LLC

18 Pleasant Street, Suite 507

Brunswick, Maine  04011                        E-mail: tom@dirigois.com

Budgets, Retainers and Agreements: Why Do Investigation Firms Require a Client Agreement and Retainer?

by Thomas A. Santaguida – President/Senior Investigator at Dirigo Investigations, LLC.

My firm, Dirigo Investigations usually requires a retainer for private individual cases. We generally do not require a retainer for reputable law firms, insurance companies or established businesses (in most cases). The request for a retainer is our prerogative and we usually exercise this right. I am often asked by potential Clients why? This may be followed by the question “Don’t you trust me?”

The answer is very understandable but a little complicated.

First, we will discuss the Client agreement. Private sector investigations are a service that not many people are familiar with. TV, movies and urban legend often create an idea of what private investigators can do that is not accurate. A professional private investigations firm should:

  • Be competent – their investigators should have sufficient experience to handle the particular assignment
  • Be supervised – investigators should have the ability to discuss the case with a manager
  • Have adequate equipment and technology – the right equipment for the specific investigation – critical
  • Professionalism required – nothing else needs to be said
  • Confidential – private party investigations are all about confidentiality
  • Client Expectations – private individuals who seek professional investigation services are often involved with some very personal situation whether it be marital, custody of children, financial or legal in nature. Consultations that involve a discussion of Client requests are often very complex and cover numerous topics and ideas. The opportunity for miscommunication about what services are actually being requested is quite high.
  • Cost – the cost of an investigation has to be spelled out clearly, so that everyone understands what the budget for the services to be performed is.

These points are excellent reasons why a Client agreement is a must. Agreements spell out what the firm will do and not do and how much it will cost, and how payments are agreed to be made. The agreement protects both Client and firm.

Retainers – a retainer is a “deposit” of funds, an advance payment of sorts to ensure that the investigations firm will be paid for services rendered. This type of arrangement is extremely common in numerous service sectors. The Client is generally very safe in this scenario. Investigators are licensed, insured and bonded and the circumstances where work was not performed is rare. However, many firms have taken on case work for a Client without an agreement and retainer – performed the services – and were never paid. Retainers and Agreements are simply a matter of good business.

With my firm, I decide on whether or not a retainer is needed. Repeat Clients, of course, do not need to provide a retainer. Some cases require expensive travel and other significant up front expenses. Retainers are often requested in those circumstances as well.

Our goal is to provide services at or below the Client budget. If  a retainer was paid and not used, we simply return the left over funds with the final report.

Our Client budgets are also a very important component to the investigation. We work with the Client to understand what they want to commit to the case in terms of money and design the case for that budget. We also guarantee (in the agreement) that we will not exceed the Client budget without Client approval. We literally will cease work if the budget is met and the Client has not authorized continuation of investigation. This way, the Client controls the budget and the bill.

For more information, contact the author, Tom Santaguida @ Dirigo Investigations at: tom@dirigois.com

 

Search for Missing Father Ends in Success

Contact: Tom Santaguida, Director – Dirigo Investigations and Security, LLC (207) 373-9317 or tom@dirigois.com

Father Missing For 33 Years Located for Daughter by Dirigo Investigations

March 6, 2013

Each year Dirigo Investigations conducts hundreds of investigations of all types. During the course of each year, Thomas Santaguida, the Director of Dirigo Investigations, selects a few cases that he decides the facts of the case and the situation of the requester (the person requesting the investigation assignment) warrants conducting the investigation for free.

During February 2013 once such case presented itself before Dirigo Investigations. The story is outlined below. Names have been omitted to ensure the privacy of all parties.

February 2013

After receiving a referral to Dirigo Investigations from another Maine investigator a woman who formerly resided in a mid-Atlantic state requested an investigation to locate her birth father. She had never known her father, and her understanding of the relationship between her father and mother was that it was a very brief and informal relationship 33 years ago. The man had then left her mother’s life and was never heard from again.

Tom Santaguida was interested in the significance of the case and the fact that this woman had searched for 10 years with no success or assistance. She was not well funded and not able to afford the normal cost of the investigation effort to locate her Dad. Santaguida decided that Dirigo would take the case for free. The only information available was the place the Client’s Dad and Mom met in 1979, a name and what he was believed to have done for work – and a vague physical description. The work then began!

Using the man’s name (a very, very common name) a data query was made to various restricted access data sources. Using geographical and race markers, the field of possibilities was narrowed to 42 people. From there, using circles that widened out from the place last seen in 1979, the people with the same name as the Client’s father were charted on mapping software using cities lived in as a key factor. One of the subjects residence history coincided EXACTLY in conjunction of geography associated with the reported prior occupation of the man. This one subject was determined to be living in the Midwest. A generic call was placed to him and confirmed with high confidence that we had located the Client’s long lost father within 24 hours of starting the investigation.

After some due diligence and public domain analysis of the man, the Client decided to contact her probable father and keep her fingers crossed. She was not certain he would be responsive and if so, would he have a positive perspective or negative perspective on the situation?

A few days after sending him a certified letter, outlining her belief that he was her Dad, he called her and acknowledged that in fact, he was her father. He is ill but currently, an April visit and reunion of sorts is being planned.

Dirigo Investigations was very pleased to have the opportunity to assist this woman. While, we can’t do many cases for free, we provide numerous pro-bono investigation services each year.

Tom Santaguida, the company owner, strongly believes that contributing to the community at large is just as a succesful as running a profitable business. Everyone needs help sometimes – when the opportunity arises to assist, Dirigo is glad to help out. Events such as those described in the investigation case study above are LIFE CHANGERS for everyone involved, including the investigators!

 

 

Credit Reports May Require Frequent Analysis

Personal Credit Reports Require Frequent Review

Today, I received another call from a person who was interested in determining if my investigations firm could assist her in looking into her troublesome credit report. According to her, she has never bought a home – nor ever used credit cards but on her credit report a home mortgage is shown and so are numerous credit cards. This is the first time she has looked at her credit history. I advised her to get a copy of all 3 credit bureau reports and to closely examine them for errors.

Obviously, this issue could be the result of data entry error, another person with similar identification information or a case of identity theft. I suggested she may want to contact an attorney or law enforcement officials after looking at all 3 credit reports.

While my firm could certainly have charged her to assist her and review her credit report; we operate on an ethical platform. This person was fully capable of examining her own credit documents. After giving her a few suggestions on what to do next, she hung up.

Thinking about this situation, I called 10 friends. I asked each one of them the exact same question: “When is the last time you looked at your own credit report?” Every one said that it had been at least 5 years and two said they had never looked at their own credit report. This is great news to an identity thief —- the less a person monitors a credit report, the longer time it takes for problems to be detected.

Instead of the hassle and expense of hiring investigators and attorneys to resolve problems, a little pro-active up front effort might save you a wide range of credit report problems later – and in the end, might save you a lot of money.

Some suggestions:

  • Take advantage of your annual free credit report (each year you may request one credit report from each of the three (3) major credit reporting bureaus, free of charge).
  • Learn how to read a credit report (dozens of books available on web sites like E-Bay and Amazon)
  • If your credit report seems to be a real mess, contact an investigations firm that has a forensic accountant or similar person on staff to analyze your report for you
  • Learn how to file a complaint about erroneous information and repair your report

Credit report problems, especially those resulting from identity theft often take months to resolve. If you do have a problem, you will need to resolve yourself to seeing the resolution through until the end. If your situation is very complex, an attorney, investigations firm with financial experience may be needed.

About the Author

Tom Santaguida is the owner and Director of Dirigo Investigations and Security, LC.  A licensed professional investigator in Maine and New Hampshire, after a 20 year career in law enforcement he started his Maine based investigations firm, which provides investigations services nationally and internationally. He is a member of the Maine Licensed Private Investigator’s Association and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Tom may be reached at: tom@dirigois.com

Colonel Business Attire

 

 

 

 

Dirigo Investigations Has New Company Headquarters

December 6, 2012                  Company Contact: Tom Santaguida (207) 373-9317

Effective Monday December 10, 2012 Dirigo Investigations and Security, LLC will relocate its entire operations headquarters to its Brunswick, Maine location. Previously, Dirigo was headquartered in Augusta, Maine. According to Thomas Santaguida, Director of Dirigo Investigations and Security, a personnel change and the increased use of the Brunswick office as a primary operations location resulted in the move.

Clients should not notice any difference and the move will be seamless. The only direct change is mail will no longer be received at the Augusta office and all operations will be located at one single location.

If any Client issues arise as a result of the move, please contact Tom Santaguida immediately and he will resolve any issue. Tom may be reached as follows:

Office: (207) 373-9317

E-Mail:  tom@dirigois.com

Beware of Holiday Security Issues

The holidays often come with numerous security issues and the appearance of new people in our lives. Beware of scenarios being created and providing thieves with opportunities.

Before allowing any service provider into your house, check them out. To do this you can ask for references, use Angie’s List or retain the services of an investigations firm. Most service providers are great — but a little checking out of who you are hiring ahead of time some may save you from being a victim. Housekeepers and cleaning services expose your home to a possible stranger that might be making careful note of where your valuables are and passing that information on to someone who might try to burglarize your home – sometimes many months later. Have all service providers checked out!

Thieves know that most households have an increased amount of valuables and gifts on hand over the holidays. Organized groups will watch homes for an opportunity to enter and steal. Most of us have a hectic schedule during the holidays and more frequently than the rest of the year, we are not home. Use an alarm system if you have one, hire security or home watch services (its less expensive than you think) and take steps to ensure your holiday isn’t ruined by a crook.

Malls and shopping centers are bustling and this creates risk exposure for small children and the possibility of abduction. Do not leave children unattended and do not let them wander malls alone.

Think about basic safety and security during the holidays!

Holiday Security Services Available

RETAIL SECURITY OFFICERS AVAILABLE FOR HOLIDAY RETAIL SECURITY AND LOSS PREVENTION

Contact: Thomas Santaguida, Managing Director         tom@dirigois.com    (207) 373-9317

In the next few weeks Maine’s retail businesses will be getting ready for their busiest time of the year. Dirigo Investigations and Security offers professional uniformed or plain clothes security statewide. Our security officers are well screened and many are off duty law enforcement officers. Our uniforms are professional in appearance and we offer a wide variety of uniform styles to fit your business needs. We have traditional security style uniforms, business security attire (blazer and slacks with tie) and plain clothes. 24/7 coverage is available at all locations in Maine.

In addition to traditional security services, we also offer:

  • Non-armed uniformed security
  • Woodland and out door security (such as Christmas Tree farms)
  • Residential security (going out and concerned about a burglary of Christmas presents)
  • Event security
  • Retail security (active or traditional) – we offer uniformed security officers and plain clothes shoplifter deterrent security
  • Employee theft investigations
  • Surveillance and surveillance cameras
  • Quality assurance (secret shopper, customer service evaluations, employee policy compliance, etc.)

CALL FOR YOUR FREE ESTIMATES AND SECURITY EVALUATION TODAY AND ENHANCE YOUR SECURITY PROCEDURES!