Effective PIs know how to maneuver.

Not everything can be taught. Either you have it or you don’t. That’s the way it goes, sometimes.

As far as private investigators are concerned, they have to possess a certain set of skills that allows them to get the job done without blowing their cover. They know how to approach certain situations and know how and when to move and where to move to. They know the props they might need. They know how to stay in character. They know the signs to look for.

They know how to maneuver.

Training is necessary. That part is sort of like music theory. It provides explanations. It tells them what is happening and tells them what to do and why they’re doing what they’re doing. The actual surveillance is the test. Private investigators must apply what they’ve learned in training and use whichever tactics are applicable, because they may not all be necessary in a given situation. The answers aren’t laid out, so it’s up to them to decide what to do and how to do it. ♦



…so when I go out on a surveillance, and I know Charles; this is Charles Boneh. He’s a surveillance operator that works with me. He has his own company out of Miami. He has similar training but from a foreign government.

When we go out on surveillance, we just don’t pull up our car, sit, and hope the guy comes out of the house or, you know, that sort of thing. I remember a job that Charles did for me, I think it was up in Stuart or one of those places up there, where his training was able to get the goods of the person…he was outside, up the street, maybe 50 yards up from the house. He’s watching it. But he’s also listening. He’s looking at what’s going on. And he hears this noise coming from the back of the house.

So, he leaves his surveillance position and drives around the corner and starts going up this little hill. And he looks back down at the house and hears the person that we’re trying to surveille, in the swimming pool, a young lady who says she cannot bend, she cannot use her back, she’s in all kinds of trouble and distress because she was in this automobile accident. And here she is, diving into her pool. Charles is sitting there videotaping her, you know. She gets out of the pool, gets up on her lounge chair, and she starts stretching her legs, touching her forehead with her legs, and Charles has got her all on tape.

Now, I believe that any other surveillance operator would’ve stayed in his static position and waited til somebody came out the door to get in their car to go follow them wherever they were gonna go. It’s a difference in training.

So, make sure that your P.I. that you’re using to do surveillance specializes in it. He’s got some skills. He knows how to manipulate. He knows how to be a chameleon. He can change colors, change looks. He’s got a variety of cameras, not only handheld, but hidden, a buttonhole in your glasses, in your baseball cap. Whatever the situation may need. Because your player may get out of the car and go into a mall. Well, hey, this is the best time. Let’s get in there with a hidden camera and follow this person around while they’re carrying bagloads of stuff when they say they can’t carry anything. Or doing their shopping, standing on their feet when they say they can’t walk. These are the different kinds of skills that I’m talking about.

Investigative Services we Offer

Investigative Services We Offer

Although the bulk of our work comes from clients wanting documents served, we also conduct investigations and carry out the investigative services mentioned in this graphic, on a regular basis. People who request these services may include attorneys doing work for insurance companies and insurance companies themselves, for instance, when accidents happen.

Investigations can range from minor to in-depth, depending on the information being sought and the severity of the matter at hand. At the end of the day, they are always needed.

25 Years in Business

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It is an honor to say we’ve come this far. But, more importantly, the only reason we are here is because of YOU. So, first things first, we want to simply say, “Thank you,” for your business and for trusting us to carry out your service of process and investigative needs.

During these 25 years, we have built countless relationships, many of which are still standing strong today. With these bonds has come trust from all parties involved, and this is the main reason why we have been able to maintain our reputation within the legal realm of South Florida.

With our recent change in ownership, we are looking forward to taking our business to the next level. This involves optimization and servicing more clients on a more widespread basis, implementing the advantages technology has the opportunity to provide. But in order to effectively expand, we have to first make internal expansions. In the past couple years alone, we have made adjustments in different areas, in an effort to better please you and to increase our exposure and to ensure we are carrying out our services to the best of our ability. As with anything, if you want to see something different, you have to do something different. So, we are taking heed to this ideology and are wishing for the best, moving forward.

That being said, we are always open to your questions and concerns and any suggestions you, our clients, may have. Taking the time out to voice your thoughts to us allows us to see the other side of the business, from your perspective. And engaging with that point of view helps us to identify any areas that may need improvement. So, please, feel free to reach out to us or leave reviews on any platform. We appreciate the feedback.

Thank you, again, for allowing us to see 25 years in business. Here’s to many more to come!

We’re here to please you.

You, the client, are our number one priority. Therefore, we always want to complete service, and we always try our best to get this done as quickly and as efficiently as possible.



If we don’t get the guy, then we have to face you.

You have to understand that it’s an embarrassment for us, as professionals, that we haven’t gotten the guy served yet. We like to get them served the first time out. Be done with it. Get rid of that person. Because, the quicker we turn in the paper, we’re on to something else.

Most process servers will serve twenty to forty papers a day, good process servers. That includes your records custodian subpoenas all the way up to your divorce summonses.

Keep the PI in the loop.

Surveillance is a key aspect of private investigation work.

Clients may request surveillance when they know their target subject will be difficult to capture through traditional methods of service of process alone. Or they may want to gain more insight on an individual or a location. At the end of the day, the client wants to build a case, so private investigators step in to help make this happen.

Here, you can learn more about the different instances that sometimes require private investigation. Surveillance can be used in all types of cases and usually requires extensive work by the private investigator, meaning hours of observation. However, the investigator can only work with what the client provides. This means the client must allot a certain number of hours to get the job done and must give as detailed of a description as possible of the subject, for instance, so the investigator knows what, or who, to look for. Other details include the model and make of the subject’s vehicle(s) and daily routines.

This page gives a nice and brief overview of how a PI moves. A reasonable number of hours are needed as surveillance requires the investigator to sit for hours on end and do nothing but watch for activity, which, sometimes, doesn’t even happen.

The client pays for the type of surveillance that will get done. In other words, you get what you pay for. If the client only chooses to pay for an hour of surveillance, chances are, he or she won’t reap much. But if at least four or five hours are on the table, for instance, the probability of obtaining something valuable would be much higher.

Just as with service of process, the client must put himself or herself in the private investigator’s shoes. The client should ask him- or herself questions such as:

  • What time of day should this be done?
  • What does John Doe’s typical schedule look like?
  • What does John Doe look like?
  • What are we trying to prove?

Most importantly, it should be remembered that the PI and the client are working together as a team. That’s what matters and is what helps to make the job successful. ♦



When you set up a surveillance, make sure you give your operator all of the information he’s gonna need, especially how many hours you’re gonna give him. Don’t shortchange yourself. Don’t think you’re gonna find somebody and follow them and give the guy eight hours to do it when it’s a very important, high-profile, high-dollar case. Don’t do that, because you’re not gonna get anything; you’re gonna waste your money.

So, it’s up to you, as paralegals, to convince your clients that, “Hey, you want the goods. Expect to spend some money.”

Most investigators do surveillance charge about $100 an hour, some a little more, some a little less. But it’s about an average of $100 an hour. Give them a dollar figure. You’ve got $3,000 to work with. I could videotape anybody anywhere in any position you want, okay, in 30 hours. Don’t say, “I need it done this morning,” and you’ve got four hours, because you barely get enough time to drive there in four hours in some of these things.

So, make sure that you have down the hours that the investigator can work and give them all the information possible, especially if you have pictures.

You don’t wanna do what I did once when I was doing a job. I was given an address, given a car, given a tag number, and I was told it was a Hispanic female. Period. I went there. I set up across the street. Hispanic female comes out of the house, gets to the same car, and she starts washing the car. Now, I got 45 minutes of a person washing a car, bending over, kneeling down, laying on a thing scrubbing things, every position you could possibly think of, and I’m thinking, “I got her solid.”

I come back. I present the tape to the attorney. He looks at it. He says, “That’s not her.” I said, “She’s Hispanic, female, this house, this address, this car.” He said, “Oh, no. The person we’re looking for is 280 pounds.”

Well, why didn’t you tell me this? This girl was a little 100-pound nothing. If we had that information, we wouldn’t have wasted the time, we wouldn’t have wasted the video. Okay? So, make sure you give all the information that you’ve got because the tiniest little detail can be the difference between a good surveillance and a bad surveillance.

Electronic Statuses

Here, Bob gives a little insight to our Web Package system we offer.

Aside from this Web Package system our clients have access to 24/7, they also receive electronic statuses from us as soon as they are entered into our database. Each time our servers make an attempt on a paper, they provide this to our office staff, and we physically enter it in the system. These status updates generate automatic e-mails that go to our clients so they are aware of what’s happening with their papers. Once a job is closed out and a paper is served and a signed affidavit is scanned into our system, an automatic e-mail is generated and sent to the client as an alert. In this e-mail, along with the service details, a link is provided that gives the client access to a digital copy of their return of service.

Clients can also call us at any time during business hours, and we respond to their requests and inquiries right away. If an address we are attempting is unsuccessful and further instructions are needed, this is relayed to the client in the status e-mail that is generated. It’s our duty as professionals to make sure they are kept abreast on their services. At the end of the day, they are trusting us to perform a service for them, so we do everything in our power to get the paper served. ♦



What we’ve implemented to kind of circumvent all of the different problems that I’ve seen over my 20 years of doing this is we’ve started using an electronic service that is password-protected. You, as a paralegal, would get a username and a password for an electronic site that you can go to that you’re only gonna see your work and nobody else’s. And nobody can see anybody else’s work in the system.

You can check at any time of the day or night and look at the status of all your papers. You can go in there and say, “Well, I got a paper on John Doe. I gave it to them two days ago. Let me just check.” On the internet, on the website, put in your username and password. Here comes all your jobs. “Ooh, it says completed.” Open it up, “Oh, served last night, 10:30, individual.”

Then, there’s a block on the website that you can actually click on and get a return of service, right there on the spot. It’s not signed; can’t be signed. But it’s at least something you can put in your file until the process server actually comes in and signs the original.

This is a new system that’s been set up. It’s been going around town. We were fighting it in the beginning because we didn’t have a lot of faith in it. But all the bugs have been worked out of it now. And that’s why we’re using it now. So, if you use my company, that’s what you’ll get. You’ll get an electronic status.

Process Server vs. Sheriff

Both private process servers and sheriffs serve documents. However, there are notable differences between the two parties and what their services entail.

Review the infographic below.

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Service in a Courtroom

Service in a courtroom is usually only condoned in certain circumstances, and, of course, the rules of service of process vary by state.

In this opinion piece shared by Mark Shapiro, we see that service while court is in session is frowned upon. And this is understandable for common sense reasons, such as disruption. However, Mark also mentions that people can usually be served as they are walking in and out of court.

At Professional Process Servers & Investigators, Inc., we have had to serve individuals at the courthouse a number of times because this was one of the only, if not the only, ways service would have been successful. If someone is in deep water and knows documents are going to be on the way at some point, he or she may try and avoid service, although, all this does is prolong the overall process; it doesn’t grant the person immunity from facing consequences just because service was not completed.

However, if an attorney knows the defendant is going to be at a specific courthouse at a specific time, he or she may request that we send out a process server to catch the person entering or leaving the courtroom. A description is ideally provided so the server knows who to look for. This approach serves as a surefire way to obtain service because when someone has a court date, that person will usually show up to avoid future consequences. Therefore, although Bob tells us service in a courtroom is not allowed, in some instances, as process servers, we are able to bend the rules. ♦



…serving in a courtroom…

You can’t serve in a courtroom unless the judge gives you permission to do so. I had an instance where that happened. I don’t know if all you remember the case where the gentleman was allegedly, well, I guess he was convicted, so it wasn’t allegedly anymore, killed a bunch of boaters out on the intercoastal because he was drunk, speeding in his powerboat. Okay?

We had, our company had the pleasure of serving this man for the families of the deceased. And, he was being held in a, hidden, in a Sunrise rehab center, where you can’t serve anybody in a rehab center. They were hiding there. So, I went to the judge. I knew he was gonna have a hearing. Went to the judge, spoke with him personally, told him what I had, told him what was going on, he said, “You, be in my chambers tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.” I was there. They brought the individual in for the hearing, and the judge allowed me to serve him right there in front of him, because of the circumstances.

So, that’s another case. You cannot serve inside the courtroom.

Personal injury claims: Do the wrongful prevail?

by: Johnelle Rodriguez

People fake injuries all the time. And they get paid for it.

Wrongful claims are common, and because of them, private investigators are usually needed to really dig into the situation to help the parties involved reach a decision as to whether the claimant is being truthful.

“The video doesn’t lie,” Bob Fischer, president of Professional Process Servers & Investigators, Inc., says in regard to the surveillance that takes place in these cases.

And he’s right. What evidence would be more effective than actual footage of the claimant? Video, for the most part, is totally objective and can show whether a person is faking his or her injury.

“We don’t have to do anything to enhance or embellish it,” Bob says. “We just film it, and it speaks for itself.”

The most popular type of fraud we see take place at Professional Process Servers & Investigators, Inc. is workers’ compensation fraud. Right after that are slip and fall cases. There are also medical malpractice suits, staged car accident injuries, and people claiming injuries that are difficult to detect, such as soft tissue injuries.

But we have to keep in mind that not everyone is trying to be devious. People actually do get hurt and deserve some sort of compensation for it. However, we have to keep our eyes open for those who try to beat the system.

So, where do private investigators fit into the picture?

Surveillance is usually done on all cases as part of the case work-up, and most of it is done on slip and fall and traffic accidents, where the person is claiming an injury or is claiming he or she is unable to do certain things or lost quality of life. With medical malpractice, the subject is claiming the doctor performed a wrong procedure, resulting in a loss of quality of life.

“They can’t bowl anymore. They can’t golf anymore. They can’t walk for miles like they used to or bicycle ride,” Bob explains.

Surveillance operators usually go out and surveil the individuals for two or three days, and after that, they’re able to determine whether the person is telling the truth. These services are usually ordered by the insurance adjuster or the attorney, based on the claim and/or statements made by the claimant.

Sometimes, the attorney will simply have a gut feeling that someone is lying. It can be something the person said or the types of bills being turned in for medical procedures that will raise red flags. Just as the adjusters deal with these types of cases all the time, so do attorneys. So, they know what to look for and what’s common or uncommon. This when investigators are brought into the picture and it is decided the case is going to be fought not settled.

To prevent bias, private investigators may avoid asking the client, whether it’s an attorney or an adjuster, what the case is about. Knowing what the claimed injury is could naturally cause investigators to look for certain cues, even if this is not done intentionally. If they have to testify in court, their behinds will be covered if they are oblivious to the injury.

If the P.I. has to get on the stand and is asked, “Did you know beforehand that this individual had a back problem?,” the response would be, “No, we did not.”

It may be asked again, “Oh, you didn’t?”

And the P.I. will respond, “No, we did not.”

Investigators regularly have to appear in court and authenticate their work on these cases. They authenticate the surveillance tapes, verifying they’re the ones who performed the work, what they saw, they did not alter the tapes, this is what they do for a living, and that they are licensed. Dozens of questions are asked while they’re on the stand. And although these investigators and their work are legitimate, others will try to disqualify them based upon their histories or their licensing. However, the attorneys hiring these investigators will usually have counter questions to emphasize and bring to light their credibility.

So, any possibility of being biased toward the claimant can automatically and truthfully be denied if the P.I. is never made aware of the injury when introduced to the case. If the video footage clearly shows the person is lying and does not have a back problem, for instance, the investigator does not want to be accused of pinpointing that portion of the surveillance or setting it up in any way.

Sometimes, surveillance isn’t done at all because what the person is claiming is obvious.

But sometimes, attorneys are so over-zealous to get something on the plaintiff that they’ll ask the investigators, “Well, you know, they’re claiming a back injury. Can you set something up where they pick something up?” This used to happen more often in the past but is not so frequent anymore because there are laws against this type of behavior. It’s ironic: Attorneys are all about getting to the truth of the matter, but this type of request definitely goes against that ideal.

Say the subject is a male, and an attractive girl is strategically placed at the back of the guy’s business. She has a heavy box that she needs help picking up and put into her car or something along those lines. She will wait for the guy to come out and will then flirt with him and ask him for assistance.

“Of course, injured or not injured, guys will do anything to make it with a woman,” Bob says. The guy will go over and pick up the box, and then we see it’s clear there is no obvious injury present.

“To me,” Bob says, “that’s entrapment.” He believes this is how the court has ruled on these types of situations.

There have been times where we’ve done surveillance on people claiming one thing, but the video will show something different. For instance, there was a woman who used to do daily bike rides and claimed she was no longer able to ride her bicycle. She said she couldn’t play with her grandchildren and the like. Surveillance was done, and she was videoed doing a 10-mile bike ride without stopping. Footage was taken from a high vantage point in her backyard, and she was seen diving into the swimming pool. Her family came over, and she was throwing the grandchildren up in the air and catching them.

Once again, the video doesn’t lie.

Aside from surveillance, it’s examined whether the individual is being litigious. Maybe this person has sued in the past for the same kinds of things, possibly in other states where he or she has previously lived. Some people do this professionally. And if this is common behavior for the individual, it will show in the background checks. If what the person is doing borders on criminal behavior, he or she can be arrested and charged with perjury.

Most of the time, when information is presented to the attorney as to what’s going to be presented in court, the attorney will advise the person to drop the case. I’ll give an example of what would be considered criminal. The subject of this story planned a whole scheme and was eventually charged with fraud against the court. Bob believes he did some time for it.

This guy, we’ll call him Sam, was at a bar sitting next to someone, talking about his plot. However, we were unable to record this conversation because taping someone’s conversation intended to be private is against the law. But we were able to testify in court. We were able to get the name of the person Sam was talking to and subpoenaed him as a witness. Then, what the investigator overheard was confirmed.

“So, it’s not always surveillance that gets them,” Bob explains.

Some insurance adjusters will not opt for surveillance because of money. They’ll only have a policy limit of $300,000, for example, while the person is claiming $1,000,000. So, they don’t want to spend the money because they know somewhere along the line, they’ll probably settle for $400,000 or $500,000 in this case. From the adjuster’s standpoint, they only want to spend the money when they feel it’s necessary. If they’ve already decided after reading the case file that they are going to settle, they aren’t going to hire an investigator, and they’re not going to do any work on it.

Not every adjuster wants to roll the dice unless something comes up in discovery, in the medical records, or in background checks, which are always researched, that points them in the direction that this person may have had a claim once before for the same kind of injury. With some adjusters, they will work every case the exact same way. They will spend the same amount of money on every case they do. They will do the surveillance. They will do the background checks. They will do everything necessary to disprove the person’s claim so they can get a defense verdict and not have to pay the limits on the policy.

The sad truth is, if the claimant is lying, he or she will probably get away with it. It’s just the way the legal system works, especially when people are worried about money. So, to be completely broad, the options for someone faking injuries are:

  • The person is fined.
  • The person is imprisoned.
  • The person gets away with it.

Sometimes, a settlement is offered in the beginning, but the defendant’s side may not want to accept and goes for being awarded the large amount of money. However, if they lose the case, they are responsible for all court costs. If they win the case but are awarded less than originally intended, they are responsible for paying those costs as well.

So, as we see here, the role of the P.I. is crucial. And something as simple as surveillance can either make or break the claimant’s assertion. But, there are loopholes in the system, such as the claimant providing medical records and evidence for injuries that are hard to disprove. At the end of the day, whether the deceitful will prevail is all a test of fate and rhetoric. ♦