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Over the past 25 + years I have testified in courts across the nation in the area of auto theft, forensics, origin and cause of fires, vehicle security and many other subjects. The premise was that the insurance comp[any or prosecutor had an expert that would conclude on things that in the end could not factually support.
I have written in other pages about the insurance companies facilitating fraud to investigate their potential fraud claims. Unfortunately this cancer has reached across the nation for decades as it relates to stolen vehicles. They would fraudulently apply the word forensic to their title a/k/a “Forensic Locksmith.” In my view from my experience many of these goofs had no idea as to what forensics meant or the types of scientific methodology to be employed! Sadly though, attorneys were baffled by the term forensic locksmith and actually gave in credence as a valid credible scientific discipline. They simply don’t know any better. Some of these attorneys like one in New Orleans were so enamored with the term forensics they would think stupidly! There would be no physical evidence that the insurance expert opined on and could not see the forest for the trees and would attempt to defend the case against the expert. Did I say there was no PHYSICAL EVIDENCE? Normally the attorney would motion a dismissal, but for some reason, not these cases!
Worse yet__Judges would want to hear these cases! I had a potential case in Massachusetts the attorney wanted me to testify against the prosecutions expert with the caveat was not allowed to disparage the opposing firm or their processes employed.
Well, it did not work out well with me and the attorney because yes I was going to criticize and I don’t think she appreciated me calling her and the prosecutor stupid either! This is a rare event, but not rare enough! It simply as I am concerned should not happen! The case involved a reported stolen Nissan about 8 years old. Important facts in the insured’s interview were that he bought the car used. He received only one key for the door/ignition/trunk. He also stated when he purchased the car it was equipped with aftermarket remote start. After reviewing this information, I knew how the car was stolen and my opinions made perfect sense as to the rest of the story. The vehicle was missing three weeks before it was recovered on the street as abandoned. Now, because this turned into a felony insurance fraud felony case when and where the car was found would be a crime scene and required documentation. Was it treated that way? No! It was towed to an auto auction after it had been in impound. Enter the Great Company S.D. Lyons and one of his forensic locksmiths to examine the vehicle to determine how it was last driven. This expert found the ignition lock had some type of object jammed in the keyway. Now, his report does not tell us he removed the object from the ignition key way, but it states he tried to start the engine and would not start. In order for him to do this he had to have used the insured’s supplied key to do this.
The report states the engine would not start and run because the transceiver (antenna to read the encrypted key) was broken. It was stated that this was by design if the key was not used and the computer would not be able to read the key to start the engine. To prove this, the expert purchased a new transceiver and installed it so the engine running condition could be analyzed. I believe it was stated he inserted a lighted magnified scope in the keyway and found no signs of tampering. Well, he had already tampered with it by removing the object5 stuffed in the keyway without documenting it!
3 years later being prosecuted as a criminal case! Since this was a criminal case, evidence MUST be preserved. At the time of my potential retention from previous experience with this firm, they don’t even consider a very popular after market option known as remote start when determining how a reported stolen vehicle was last driven. Because of their serious incompetence people are denied on their insurance claims and commonly face criminal conviction if they don’t have me representing them!
Remote start in the north is so the owner can start the engine up to 300 feet away without having a key in the ignition. It totally bypasses any factory transponder system making extremely easy to steal! In the south, remote start is used to have the a/c cool the car before getting in. Without taking this option into consideration the expert’s conclusion can be dead wrong as I proved in another case with these goofs to get my client paid! In fact, their competence is highly questionable in yet another insurance claim denial in Rhode Island, in which the S.D. Lyons forensic locksmith never did a forensic examination on the ignition lock or keys. This clown stated in his report because the shroud was not broken, there was no attempt to steal the car! How about that a forensic locksmith examining a reported stolen vehicle without ever examining the lock! This is only some examples to illustrate where the term “forensic” and self imposed is a blatant fraud and insurance companies contract companies like this in order to have reason to build a case of fraud against the insured with the imagination to build a sometimes believable motive for the purpose of denying the claim and possibly referring it for prosecution,
Ignorant insurance investigators, lawyers and prosecutors believe these goofs to be experts and since they believe it, they can convince a jury with that expert with the title in name only that he determined the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s key. Of course I am the bad guy destroying their party! Too bad! The truth destroys them every time!
Back to the case–As stated, three years later the case is being prosecuted as a felony. I asked the potential client attorney some questions. Is the vehicle still around to be examined? No. Well, we have, actually the prosecution has a huge problem! Is the ignition lock available for inspection? No. What about the object that was jammed into the ignition the forensic expert speaks about in this report? No. Is anything retained for evidence of the installed remote start i.e. the module, wiring harness etc? No. Is the broken transceiver available? No. OK, let me get this straight–the expert can testify on evidence he viewed and worked with, but I am given nothing to base an opinion on and you want me to testify right? Yes! I told her to go directly to the prosecutor and tell her to dismiss the case! She actually asked me why? This is the type of dumb ass defense attorneys that are out t5here! There is no evidence!!!! The evidence was not retained! God, I hope criminal defense attorneys like her don’t defend homicide cases! She had the nerve to tell me the prosecutor won’t drop the case. What case? She doesn’t have one! No evidence! Crime scene also not documented!
I was supposed to get $750 for drafting a report which she never paid me, but I drafted a quick report noting the incompetence of the expert and the evidence not available. The attorney told me the report was not in the format she wante4d. The judge did not like one expert criticizing the potential opposing expert’s methodology. Well in my view, that is a judge that should not be on the bench. My report was professional and made no personal attacks but emphasized the lack of retention of exculpatory evidence and the apparent lack of knowledge of this forensic expert. Even the state investigator was concerned and asked the expert privately if the vehicle was equipped with remote start if it would effect his conclusion. He said no.
How was this car stolen? from my vast experience with remote start and auto theft this is what i believe happened. This vehicle was not secure. The drivers side wndow was stuck in a partially down position where someone could reach their arm inside and unlock the door. the thief got i9n. The first thing they do is look under the dash for an alarm, tracking device etc. and in this case he found a correctly encrypted ignition key! This like all vehicles came with two keys when purchased new. When the owner said he only had one key and that it had remote start5 I knew where the second key for this car was! It was located under the dash attached by either a wire or a key holder. After market remote start in most applications requires a programmed key to be located under the dash. In essence having the key anywhere in the care attached to the remote star6t bypasses the factory transponder syste,. even the antenna the transceiver can be broken from its mounting 6mm from the ignition lock and the engine will start. one can force rotate the ignition lock or remove it and successfully steal the car. In this case, the thief found the key, put it in the ignition lock and drove away, Wow have no idea what happe4ned to the car the three weeks it was missing but it was recovered parked abandoned. during that time someone without 5he key may have attempted to steal it which would explain the4 broken transceiver where the engine would not start, Atany rate equipped with remote start and stolen, all bets are off determining how it was last dri9ven. But then again S.D. Lyons would not have had the opportunity to examine and charge a hefty fee for bull crap to be used in a criminal trial. that is the last I heard from this incompetent attorney and I do not know what happened to her client who was obviously wrongly served. For all I know the client was wrongly convicted of a felony with no evidence to support the prosecution. Its happened before!
I may put up the Chad Tredway story out of California next who has the company North American Forensics West. Another fraud in my opinion who has no documented experience in auto theft repair, auto repair or even locks and keys, yet his opinion again with no evidence has gotten claims denied and insureds convicted of felonies!