Investigations in Israel
Investigations in Israel
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Investigations in Israel


All the names in this article have been completely altered, and any similarity between the following characters and people in real life is purely coincidental.

A few months ago we were approached by old clients who own an investment fund operating in the United States, Europe, and during the last few years, in Israel as well. When the fund came to Israel, the owners asked to check the possibility of investing in an Israeli start-up company. The scope of the intended investment was approximately $3,500,000 - after the Israeli company claimed that it owned a patent for a machine that could generate energy in a new way.

The owner of the Israeli company visited many other countries around the world in an attempt to find investors and purchasers for the patent.  He met with, among others, the directors of investment funds. Yanir Levin Intelligence Advising - A Private Investigation Agency had conducted a number of profile investigations in the past for Israeli start-up companies, in order to provide a fund with crucial business information before investing any capital.

The information that we collected proved its importance and the directors of the investment fund (one of whom was an Israeli in his distant past) understood the importance of collecting business information before making decisions regarding investing resources.

We were asked to conduct investigations and collect information regarding the Israeli company and its owner, Shimon Birkenman (fabricated name). Investigators from our agency began collecting information about the company, through sources including internet databases.

We quickly collected a great deal of journalistic material published in a variety of media in Hebrew, English, Spanish, Russian, and other languages. To our surprise, we found publications regarding the expected release of the Israeli company in local stock market.

In addition, we found information and publications in the foreign press specifically reporting contracts that were signed in order to sell the patent to several companies in the Far East, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. 

We got the impression that Shimon Birkenman, the director of the company, was a marketer who didn’t rest for a second. After comprehensive investigations and tests that we ran through foreign investigation agencies, our agency gathered an abundance of information regarding Birkenman’s travels and colorful advertisements of contracts and cooperation agreements with energy companies around the world.

Simultaneously, investigators from our agency located the company’s offices in Israel and began conducting environmental investigations, undercover, in order to collect information from neighbors and acquaintances in the area.

We should mention that the company offices were located in the backyard of a private residence in an old residential area in central Israel, so it was clear that the neighbors would be able to supply information regarding the owner of the company, his family, and his past.

In such cases, while conducting investigations undercover, special care must be taken since the investigators do not know the person with whom they are speaking and his or her relationship to the subject - Shimon Birkenman. In these cases, sophisticated investigations and a great deal of patience are necessary.

Tests run by our agency revealed that a number of informants with good relations to our agency were living in the neighborhood. These were people who we had assisted in getting out of unpleasant situations and who “owed” us a favor. An investigator from our agency made telephone contact with one of the informants and set an appointment to meet him in a café in a mall not far from his residential neighborhood. During the meeting the investigator explained to that informant that we needed information about the brother of Shimon Birkenman. 

Our great deal of experience in conducting investigations and collecting business information has taught us that when using an informant, it is advisable not to focus him or her directly on the subject of the investigation, but rather to ask information about someone close to the subject.

Usually, the informant will uncover relevant information without being aware of the purpose of our investigation. Keep in mind that informants, even though they should be faithful, may sometimes “cross over” and expose our activity in return for money. Therefore great caution is required. 

After about two weeks, investigators from our agency had collected a great deal of information about the business activity of Shimon Birkenman over the past 30 years. We collected information regarding his family, businesses, financial situation, conflicts with the authorities, and more. At this stage it was decided that we would build a complex cover story and contact Shimon Birkenman in order to meet with him and take an interest in financially investing in the patent that had attracted cross-continental publicity.

In order to build the cover story, we changed the appearance of one of the websites we use in order to conduct investigations. This website is stored in a European country, and we use it frequently when the need arises to establish a “company” and present a convincing “business card.”  The website is built in a manner so that we can easily alter it for any purpose and any type of business activity, according to the needs of the moment. 

After rebuilding the website, we printed impressive business cards and enacted a European telephone line that provided a 24 hour answering service in a foreign language. Before conducting complex investigations, we do everything in our power to ensure that there are no wholes in our cover story. We assume that the subject of our investigation will check and try to confirm our identities, especially in cases dealing with start-up companies looking for investors for their new products or patents.

After we checked and re-checked our cover story, we made contact with Shimon Birkenman via e-mail.  Searching for our e-mail address through Google or any other search engine leads the searcher to our website, and that is our intent. In the message that we sent Birkenman, the investigator from our agency showed interest in the new product and asked to meet with Shimon in order to check the possibility of financial cooperation and investment in the product. 

Two days later we received a response. Shimon Birkenman asked to receive the details of the final investigator that we represent. Actually, in his request he showed an interest in our approach to him, but asked to know exactly who was behind the company we represented.

He asked that the owner of our company sign a confidentiality agreement form so that he could supply us with information and meet with us in the future as well. Shimon also asked to personally receive the confidentiality agreement with the original signature on it, and the contact information for whoever signed the document.

We were prepared for this as well, of course, and within a week Shimon received a signed confidentiality agreement and the contact information of the “company owner”. Of course, the telephone number that we gave him was an active number that any short internet search would lead back to our “offices” in an important European capital.

The wonders of technology. Less than 24 hours after he received the document, Shimon called an investigator from our agency, spoke with him enthusiastically, and set an appointment to meet him the next day at his office (the investigator was a “company representative” in Israel).

We customarily prepare sophisticated technical equipment, including a number of concealed photography systems and recording devices, in order to document important business meetings. The functionality of the equipment is tested from in preparation for the field investigations so that everything is ready for the meeting.

Professional investigators tend to cover all their bases and so a luxurious director vehicle was prepared, registered under the name of a local leasing company, so that we would be prepared if Shimon was a suspicious type. That’s how it goes - there is no room for error. 

The meeting was set for 10 am at the office in Shimon Birkenman’s backyard, in a residential area in central area. An investigator from our agency arrived there exactly on time. Shimon welcomed him kindly. He later accompanied the investigator to his office, where the two of them talked for two hours. Our investigator earned Shimon’s trust with surprising easy, and the two exchanged experiences regarding world travel. 

Shimon bragged about his connections with key figures in the energy industry around the world, and even presented some documents that were organized in binders and stored on shelves in his office. Since we knew that Shimon held several journalistic articles, various documents, and impressive presentations, we asked to get to the root of the matter. The investigator asked - Is your patent active anywhere else in the world?

Shimon didn’t answer the question and smoothly changed the topic of conversation. The investigator didn’t give up, since he had come to the meeting with two defined objectives. Do you have a signed contract to sell the rights for using the patent? Shimon understood that he couldn’t keep avoiding the investigator’s questions and turned towards one of the binders to his side.

A few seconds later he pulled out a few pages and presented them to the investigator. “This is a contract signed with the biggest electricity company in Thailand,” Shimon said. Our investigator read the document carefully, and immediately noticed that he was holding a few pages of a contract whose beginning pages were missing.

Despite this, the investigator cooperated and smiled. “This could be very interesting!” he said to Shimon, as he flipped through the pages in front of a concealed camera that was inserted into one of his shirt buttons. “When was the contract signed? Have you supplied the equipment to the Thai company?” Shimon claimed that a small share of the money had already been transferred to his account and that the product would be supplied within six months. 

“In that case, the product is not active yet,” the investigator asked severely. “Look, we’ve also received formal permission to use the product in a large resort city in one of the countries by the Black Sea,” Shimon answered.  The investigator maintained his line of questioning, and was seemingly enthusiastic. “There’s no way you’re talking about the Ukraine, right?” Shimon was surprised and a smile spread across his face. 

Shimon didn’t know that our agency’s investigators had collected a great deal of information about his brother, Haim, who had moved to live in the Ukraine a few years ago. Haim Birkenman was a colorful and well known character in the mid 1980s. Everyone who knew Haim knew exactly why he decided to move to the Ukraine. But Shimon didn’t know that we knew why, and continued speaking.

Shimon gave the investigator the name of his local contact person in the Ukraine, who was responsible for the contract to operate the product there. The investigator looked closely at the document and photographed it. “I’ve been around that area a lot,” he told Shimon. “There’s a lot of money around there”. Shimon’s smile spread wider. The investigator continued to collect additional information, including the documents presented to him by Shimon. The names of a few internationally known companies were included among the documents.

When analyzing the information gathered during the meeting with Shimon, we noticed that almost all the documents that were presented to us were partial. We gave the names and dates that we received to investigation agencies that we are in contact with in the Ukraine, Germany, Thailand, England, and others for testing purposes. The information was checked and we soon found out that the data was biased and unsubstantiated. 

Unfortunately, we could not reveal the full web of evidence that was collected at the end of the investigation that we conducted. Approximately ten days later, a picture was painted of a pretty serious con artist. Although we revealed his ploy and presented a full picture of his actions to our clients, in the near future or even at this very moment it is possible that someone who had taken interest in the revolutionary “product” received forged patent certificates from Shimon, and was impressed by the presentations and publications in the press.

Shimon built a well-oiled public relations system, invested in developing contacts in the right places, and made sure to pay key figures in return for publications of one kind or another. At first glance, it all seemed real and attractive. This is proven by the fact that Shimon got to meet with key figures around the world, and get impressive stories published about his patent. The foundation that he built was, and still is, a potentially successful honey trap. Shimon forgot one thing.

He didn’t take into account that someone would penetrate into his inner circle, turn his world upside down, and follow his every move. Shimon did take into account that in order to attract investors, he would need to invest a considerable sum of money in building a professional platform that could be used for making impressive presentations. The kind of presentations that would impress even the directors of an investment fund, whose name we will not divulge.

Shimon traveled around the world and used a well-oiled publicity system. We collected approximately 30 various newspaper reports presenting his revolutionary patent.  He forged patent registration documents in at least two countries. 

Shimon used a sophisticated and clever system intended to squeeze a few million dollars out of a sucker or two. He had a lot of “guts,” and used a great deal of thought. Our investigators felt a great deal of satisfaction when they completed the investigation and presented the conclusive report to our overseas clients. Fascinating investigations and the cracking of a special sting operation. You don’t investigate interesting cases like this every day.

As far as we know, Shimon is continuing with his “activity” and may have even caught a fish or two in his net. When we asked for our client’s permission to report Shimon’s activities to the Israeli law enforcement authorities, our request was declined. Our clients wanted to maintain their discretion and we followed their request. Bear in mind that the idea behind the aforementioned story is true, with some of the names and events changed in order to protect the details of those involved. 

Private investigators from the Yanir Levin Investigation Agency specialize in collecting business information and conducting complex investigations as a preliminary stage in negotiations or financial investments. The information that our investigators collected in the aforementioned case saved our clients from losing a great sum of investment money. We would be happy to hear your opinions and answer any questions through our website’s Investigation Forum.

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