Pinnacle Investigations Case Studies
Study Number 1: Enhanced Due Diligence Investigations
A large private equity firm was looking to partner on a significant investment in a Southeast Asian bank.
Pinnacle conducted comprehensive due diligence on the bank’s senior executives who had served at the entity for many years. Utilizing Pinnacle’s in-house and international on the ground resources, we were able to identify two (2) shareholders of the executive team who had less than an arm’s length relationship with known criminals as well as having been part of misappropriation investigations themselves. In addition, one individual was sanctioned by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission for unlawful business practices in the United States. Informed local sources provided intelligence that complimented Pinnacle’s cadre of regulatory, civil and criminal filings, media, electronic and open source materials which detailed the relationships that comprised several areas of concern with this proposed transaction.
These relationships were both diagramed and conveyed to our client in a PDF formatted report. The findings enabled our client to reassess their investment strategy with the company and avoid both costly litigation as well as public relations issues.
Study Number 2: Corporate Investigations
A large multinational corporation was engaged in succession planning and identifying their next Chief Executive Officer candidate while working with an outside recruitment firm. The recruiting firm put forth an international business executive as the primary candidate providing a professional history and an assumed clean record.
Pinnacle conducted an international background investigation utilizing resources in three (3) countries including the United States. The investigation encompassed public records, government filings, media and open source records, regulatory filings, civil and criminal records over a multitude of jurisdictions. While the individual had a clear criminal record and was highly regarded, it was learned via media and open source materials that 25 years prior, he had participated in one of the largest drug importations into the United States at the time, and later helped package the drugs for distribution. It was also learned that this individual’s illicit gains he had obtained as a young man were laundered into various small businesses and transported out of the country. By providing testimony (that was recorded in federal documents) it was learned the candidate cooperated to ensnare the larger players in the trafficking operations and thereby avoided prosecution but had to fulfill many other requirements.
The identification of prior criminal activity by this individual both relating to drug importation and money laundering that went under the radar of a major recruitment firm allowed Pinnacle’s client to avoid a public relations nightmare and entering into a multi-year employment contract with a CEO candidate having had an adverse occurrence in the past.
Study Number 3: Rapid Response Investigations
A well-known national self-insured transportation industry client contacted our office within hours of one of their leased trucks being involved in a motor vehicle accident involving multiple fatalities. As the investigative member of a standing Rapid Response Team assembled by Outside Counsel for this company, Pinnacle’s staff quickly sprang into action identifying and preserving media, Internet, and/or social networking content about the accident. Pinnacle also interacted and communicated with first and second-tier responders to quickly identify all involved parties and potential witnesses to the accident. All pertinent information, documentation, and potentially useful photographs and videos of the scene were captured, preserved, and forwarded to the Rapid Response Team.
Enhanced background investigation was then conducted which included research into the load, its origin, the US DOT motor carrier under whose authority it was being transported, the company to whom the motor carrier had subcontracted the transport, and the involved driver. Through diligent and persistent effort, Counsel was put in touch with both the driver and his employer despite their reluctance to cooperate and efforts to flee participation and liability by returning to their native countries for a season.
Similar rapid response investigations are done every day for others in the transportation sector including trucking and rental companies, ride-share entities, utility companies, and other commercial enterprises with vehicles on the road.
Study Number 4: Litigation Support Investigations
Big Law and top regional firms retain Pinnacle’s Litigation Support Division daily to meet their needs as exemplified below.
A Big Law client reached out to Pinnacle on several recent cases across multiple regions of the United States with the problem of locating, finding the current owner, and/or documenting the final disposition of vehicles which had been involved in serious and fatal crashes but in which the electronic evidence from them had not been downloaded and preserved. Using a combination of public and proprietary sources, each of these vehicles were traced from the accident scene to their current location/disposition regardless of whether they had been repaired and sold, put back into service, scrapped, parted out, or shipped overseas to other markets. Pinnacle’s well documented findings allowed Counsel to meet their client’s legal obligations with regard to the preservation of evidence and the consideration of their potential evidentiary value. For those vehicles still on the road, Pinnacle contacted and negotiated with the current owners to facilitate the inspection and downloading of data by vehicle engineering experts.
Study Number 5: Liability Investigations
While the smoke was still rising, Counsel for an alarm company monitoring a block-long, multi-story, mixed-use commercial building where an explosion and fire killed two and destroyed multiple commercial spaces reached out to Pinnacle for immediate assistance. An investigative plan was quickly formulated and put into action which involved Pinnacle gathering and preserving all unique news, videos, and photographs posted online about the event. Counsel utilized this information to assist in their initial evaluation of the incident and in consideration of their client’s potential liability.
This engagement subsequently expanded toward field investigation which included documentation of the fire scene, communications with building management, ownership, and tenants, and contact with first responders, local, county and state agencies, as well as research to identify and gather pertinent information about the individuals tragically killed.
Pinnacle’s findings ultimately provided Counsel with evidence as to the source of the initial explosion and fire being accelerants in the unit of a specific manufacturing tenant and which demonstrated that the deceased individuals were present after-hours at the facility at the time of the explosion only because they had set up living quarters within their commercial space in violation of the terms of their lease. This evidence allowed Counsel to demonstratively prove that other parties were primarily liable for the event and tragic loss of life, as well as to expeditiously handle their client’s potential liability exposures.
Study Number 6: Talc Investigations
Top-tier national law firms and international cosmetics companies retain Pinnacle Investigations for assistance in their defense of the increasing number of talc lawsuits, where claimants contend that they were unknowingly exposed to asbestos through their use of cosmetic talcum products.
In a recent engagement, plaintiff stated his sole exposure to asbestos was through his use of talcum powder for hygienic purposes during his lifetime, and his mother’s use of the product during his childhood. Our team of Research Analysts combed through an array of proprietary databases, public records, open-source materials and media content to construct a thorough background profile on this individual to identify alternate sources of exposure to asbestos, including the possibility of “take-home exposure” from a family member. While no personal information was provided regarding his parents, the research revealed plaintiff’s deceased father was a contractor conducting home renovations and additions, including roof replacements, drywall and insulation removal. His mother was a career schoolteacher and news articles referenced the need for asbestos abatement at her place of employment during her tenure. Our team has developed the resources to retrieve supporting documentation from national archives, records repositories, state agencies and municipal offices, such as building permits and asbestos abatement records. Our vetted associates in United Kingdom afford Pinnacle the reach to conduct effective investigations on the growing number of UK plaintiffs filing suit in the United States, as well.
The results of our investigation, delivered in a report with active links to pertinent exhibits, allowed the client to strategize their defense with these newly identified sources of alternate exposure, which were not divulged by plaintiff or his legal representation.
Study Number 7: Business Investigations
A national heavy contracting equipment company retained Pinnacle Investigations before entering into a long-term relationship with another firm seeking to lease valuable equipment for a municipal project requiring excavation, demolition and debris removal.
Our investigative team conducted a thorough review of public records on the local, state and federal levels on both the business and its principal, unearthing a bankruptcy filing, multiple lawsuits against the company for defaulting on heavy equipment lease contracts and civil filings against the principal related to personal debt. The principal was also found to be affiliated with several other entities, some in similar financial distress. A criminal complaint was also unearthed, filed against the principal for illegal dumping. Local media accounts related to this instance identified witnesses who were then located and interviewed to corroborate the events.
The results of our investigation, delivered in a final report with active links to pertinent exhibits, allowed client company to avoid entering into a relationship with the other business, which likely would have resulted in a loss, saving them a large sum of money and the headache of future litigation trying to recover their property and fees.