Author Topic: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.  (Read 5079 times)

Offline Docwatmo

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Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« on: March 02, 2010, 06:33:21 AM »
    This is a long story.

    My wife’s sister has been dating a guy (Really good guy) for the last 3 or 4 years.  This guy has an old girlfriend who is a psycho stalker.  She has been using pre-paid cell phones to text and call and harasses him, the SIL, his best friend and his mother for 2+ years.  She has called DHS and CPS on the SIL.  They have had drug dogs through their house several times (Always comes up negative) and she has called his work every day for the last 6 months to report him as a drug dealer and other stuff (Anonymously) to the point where his work let him go because they didn’t want to deal with her calls anymore.

    She has broken most of the Iowa Stalker laws.  But because of the anonymous phone usage and whatnot, the police haven’t been able to do anything and the DA (In Linn County) won’t push for a court order to get phone records or anything without at least 1 legitimate piece of hard evidence that it is her along with a physical threat which she has not made.  

    They have recorded phone conversations but no proof that they are her other than that the SIL’s boyfriend recognizes her voice (Which the Linn county DA says is not good enough).

    What makes this even more troubling is this woman has a relative (We believe it is her niece but don’t have the full name yet) who works for US Cellular and this relative has deleted voicemails and phone call records off of all USCC phones that this woman has left messages on (his, the SIL’s and my wife’s, his mother and the friend).   (The mother is in Chicago so there are some interstate communications fraud legalities involved also).

    The Linn County DA won’t do anything about that either because nobodies life has been threatened.  As an IT professional, I know what capabilities the USCC system has and I know that a court order could pull the info needed to prosecute the girl at USCC who is committing intrastate and interstate communications fraud (She did cross state lines electronically to manipulate a phone out of state in IL).  But we need to get the ball rolling.  I also believe (Could be wrong but I can’t get confirmation from the phone vendors) that the GPS location of each call on the anonymous phones is tagged with each call.  So if they get a court order allowing access to the calls from a particular phone (Or received by the cell phones), they can map the location the anonymous phone calls have come from and see if a pattern emerges (Like she is sitting in her house making these calls).  But will have to wait on that.

    I was lucky, because this woman sent a text to my wifes phone.  I am friends with the county Sheriff in my own county and will be taking a package of information along with all the info compiled by the others in this case to him.  He said he will talk to our County DA and we’ll see where we can go from here.  

    This woman has already gotten a good man released from a job he has worked for 33 years as a model employee (They have started the ball rolling on that one separately, looks like they will offer him early retirement rather than fire him).  She called them 2 times a day for 8 months and his work finally got tired of the harassment.

    If we can get one single piece of solid evidence against this woman would there be any possibility of getting her indicted on a Class C felony for stalking?  And if we can get one conviction, we have 5 others willing to file charges also in separate cases.  Our goal is to put this woman away for as long as possible.
    She even called the cops and had them come out to the in-laws house on thanksgiving by telling them we were cooking Meth in the garage. (Turkey, yes, Meth No).  This has gone on for 2+ years now.

    Now, my question here is, what more can we do (Inside the law) to help ourselves.
    These are some of the things we are currently doing.

    • We have logs going, recording dates, times phone calls etc.
    • We have made contact with the local police and Sheriffs office to ensure that any anonymous calls coming in about us or our address will be noted.  So if she calls DHS or something, they will have a record beforehand that it is fraud.
    • I’ve called and talked to local businesses with security systems that monitor our streets to ensure they are getting video and it would be usable by us.  (We have a great neighborhood and I have 2 local businesses down the street that have cameras that cover some of the access streets to our local area as a gas station which indoor and outdoor video in case this woman stops for gas or snacks, and they are all willing to let us use whatever video we need) just need dates and times.
    • Any Texts, voicemails or phone calls are being forward to NON USCC phones and recorded offline so that the relative cannot delete them.  (We are also recording dates times of these for use in filtering access logs by USCC when they gain access to their IT and process logs.
    • I’m installing two street cameras and a door cam tonight to track vehicles driving by and show anyone at the door. (Going to tie the door cam into the TV (Which we only use for rented movies anyway) so that there is a constant picture of the front yard available and recorded).
    • I have notified my work of this and all parties are prepared to record any phone calls coming in on this matter as well as dates, times, caller ID info etc.
    • I’m not really worried about physical security as this woman doesn’t pose a physical threat to me at all and my wife is intimately familiar with the Ruger and has already adjusted (and really likes) the new Remington 870 youth 20 gauge because it fits her so well.  She is perfectly willing to use the self defense mechanisms we have available at home.  But again, this woman’s MO doesn’t include physical contact.  So physical threats are at a minimum and I’m not too worried about that.
    • Will talk to the DA later this week about no contact and restraining orders and just how ineffectual or useful they may be and what other options we have.



My goal is to stop this woman as quickly as possible before she causes us any kind of grief like she has caused the SIL and her family.  If she calls CPS on my family, I will be upset in a manner that I don’t normally reach.

Any advice or ideas, particularly from those familiar with the law and this kind of activity would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 06:37:09 AM by Docwatmo »

Offline KYdoomer

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 07:19:19 AM »
Doc

I've had no direct experiences of this magnitude.  I can tell you that everything I've read says that restraining orders and confrontation make these situations worse, not better.  The person is trying to elicit a response.  Its like a drug to them, the bigger the response the bigger the high.  I know this is going to sound contrary and if it upsets you then tell me to go F off but this lady is unstable and the best thing you guys could do is ignore everything that doesn't threaten your (collective) lives directly. 

As soon as she sees that her actions have no effect, the action-reward cycle will stop and she'll realize that she's wasting her time and will move on. 

Again, I don't mean to upset you and I don't speak from a great deal of experience but that seems like the only logical solution ATM.

J

Offline Dr. Horrible

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 07:20:47 AM »
Just my 2c: One thing to make clear in a nice way to the DA is that if he won't take action, you may be forced to go to the media. If he's up for re-election this year, you might want to stress (nicely and subtly) that his opponent might take advantage of such an oversight on the part of his office.

(This presumes, of course, the local media hasn't already been co-opted. One city near me has a DA with decades of incompetence and corruption which is only now being uncovered because he's retiring.)

Might also be a useful bargaining chip with his employer. If he doesn't like the retirement package they offer, they get some free "publicity" re: their role in the fiasco.

Just what I'd try. Not legal advice. Just be sure you don't say more than you can prove and that you can prove everything you say.

Offline grog

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 07:23:34 AM »
Don't suppose you can get her physical description of this person, get it circulated with seeking information on a person of interest who is making fraudulent phone calls to federal agencies (a crime) to all vendors in the region and to immediately call 911?


Sorry but that is all I can come up with and keep it on the side of being on the good guy side. The argument could be made that with her buying the cards and making these calls could be considered a threat to state / county security in that it takes away resources that could be used for real crimes and from the repeat actions of such agencies, is there a way to perhaps get a complaint against the departments that keep showing up and finding nothing for say harassment?




Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 08:43:53 AM »
KY, no problem or offense at all.  I understand the psychology behind stalking and your thoughts and agree whole heartedly with you. 

This woman has made my Sil's life a living hell, imaging having drug sniffing dogs going through your house (Even though it comes up negative).  They took her girls away for a day while they did interviews and other things because of anonymous tips to CPS (Child Protective Services), really traumatized the girls and the mother.

She wouldn't bother me at all, I don't give a crap what others think, if they see cop cars outside of my place and drug dogs in and out of my house, so what.  I could give a crap,  I know i'm right and haven't done anything wrong.  Thats life, I obey the laws and cooperate fully with law enforcement.  Its an inconvenience but in the long run no big deal.  My wife on the other hand is terrified of this kind of social stigma.  We are heavily involved in the community.  PTO, Scouting, School Cadre, school and community events etc, etc.). 

Its our good name at stake and all it takes is one rumor, no matter how untrue, unfounded or uninformed (Drug dogs at Doc's house, lets not ask them to chair the next PTO event etc).  That is what is most disturbing. 

I am getting emailed a packet with all the details (Car info, license number, photos of the person in question etc, along with logs of activity) today so I like the idea of circulating her information locally.  Could really help ensure the lack of credibility of any erroneous reports.

Since we are on the fringe of this persons radar, I don't think it will go far with us so its probably moot but I'd rather face a problem head on and be proactive, then just sit by and wait for something to happen.  Just my personality type (Yes, its gotten me into trouble before LOL).

I don't have contact with the Linn DA, but I will have direct contact with the DA in our own county.  We are lucky to live in the county seat, so we are only 5 blocks from the courthouse, very convenient for us.  My ultimate goal is to have enough protection in place prior to an event to head it off before it becomes a problem.

Thanks

Doc




Offline JerseyVince

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2010, 09:41:19 AM »
Doc, I  would give the FCC a call and explain your concerns about the tampering with Cellular call records and info. The FCC takes that kind of tampering very seriously. And I'm sure the company wants no part of a FCC investigation with the FBI sniffing around for scraps

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2010, 10:09:37 AM »
Jersy, Great idea,  I was wondering how to pull that portion into it.  Now I have a place to start.

Thanks

Offline volwest

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2010, 11:04:03 AM »
Without going into it...i have some experience with "that", and our family ended up suing for harassment, but every case is different.

First and foremost, record everything.
Every conversation as you are doing, but also take pictures and/or film the searches and anything that disrupts your lives. Documentation is key to harassment charges and this kind of behavior.
Each entry should be appointed a behavior, such as phone call, property damage, letters, threats, following, Email, gift, non-violent threat, assault, defamation/slander...with the date, time and witnesses. The intent here is to establish a pattern of behavior that can be used effectively by the prosecutor.

You can also file for a restraining order, since criminal mischief has occurred.

You can also pursue defamation of character depending on what you have on tape...although it is notoriously difficult to prove in court.

No matter what, do not engage the individual. As it was mentioned, responses can reinforce the individual's behavior. Although not responding can also generate "a spike" in the behavior much like a child who is ignored and steps up its game with a louder tantrum, generally, behaviors that are not reinforced tend to decrease. Resist the urge to respond, to follow or as it is called "reverse stalk".

Simply hang up and change phone numbers if you have to. (we ended up moving). It might be a pain, but it is what it is, and it shows your level of maturity, and your intent to resolve the matter in a mature way.

All of this can take years to resolve. Remain patient and reasonable. I would not try to "force the hand" of the prosecutor as it was suggested. Keep communicating with the police and the community, be polite and understand that this process is just that...a process.

Good luck.

Offline Ann

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2010, 12:03:10 PM »
Do you have the resources to hire a private investigator?

I realize they aren't cheap, but an outsider might be able to get to something you can't.

Just an idea.  I have never hired one myself, so I don't know how good an idea it would be.  ???

So terribly sorry for the stress!

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2010, 12:16:45 PM »
We are on the fringe of what this woman is up to so we may not see any more stuff our selves (But since the Sil and boyfriend are moving, we may be the only targets left).  Unlikely but possible.

No resources for a PI,  But again, I don't think we'll need to go that far ourselves.  I'll post more when I get the rest of the info from the other parties.


Offline KYdoomer

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2010, 01:19:50 PM »
Well no matter how you go, I hope everything works out.  Just be aware of the threat of violence (as I'm sure you are).  Unstable people do unstable things.

J

Offline survivininct

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2010, 07:02:12 PM »
Could sue for harassment, threatening, loss of love of my wife, emotional abuse, etc, etc... - at the very least, the clown will have to hire an attorney, which costs money..

Offline Truik

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2010, 07:15:27 PM »
If someone is modifying phone records, their employee ID should be tagged to the activity on that account.

Have an attorney request all records of the affected phone accounts and have them determine and identify any and all activity on the accounts by the employee and/or any office friends of the employee.

It is a serious offense from what I've seen and the minimum reaction is termination, greater penalties include jail time.

I've never seen a system where the phone company's IT system didn't track all access and activity on individual customer accounts.

'my two cents.


Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 08:00:49 PM »
Exactly Truik, that is why we are waiting on a subpoena for the phone records from the telephone company.  (The other county wouldn't subpoena the records but we have much better people in our county and they are planning on subpoenaing the records in the next 48 hours).  USCC has been completely uncooperative in this matter.  They refuse to cooperate until they are ordered by the court. 

Because this girl did her stuff on data in Iowa and Illinois, she broke a few federal restrictions on interstate fraud.  So its probably only a matter of time before she ends up in jail. (With any luck).  Depending on the results of the whole Phone company thing, I may still get the FCC involved.  But it may not be necessary now that the locals are on it. 

The ball is rolling much faster now than before.  Hopefully a resolution will be forthcoming.

Offline Gray Ghost

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 10:42:46 AM »
You may also consider looking into hiring the services of Gavin de Becker & Associates. The cost may be high, but this is what they do.

Offline Grimjack

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2010, 11:41:50 AM »
I think you might want to have a sit down with the local PD and CPS. In no way is an anonymous call probable cause to get a warrant or to remove children from the home.

Either they had more info than they are saying IE: it wasn't anonymous or they overstepped their bounds, or they asked and were given permission making it a consent search.

Here is a link to one of many articles on the subject:http://www.criminallawblawg.com/2009/10/anonymous-tips-alone-may-not-a.html

Offline PreperationH

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2010, 12:17:24 PM »
If you or some one else has a bit of time to spare, you could look at:

http://search.legis.state.ia.us/nxt/gateway.dll/ic?f=templates&fn=default.htm

It's a bit complex for a novice but you would be able to go to your local DA/Sheriff/Law Enforcement with the ability to quote the criminal statute that she could be charged under.

Offline Uncle Bob (he ain’t right)

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2010, 12:29:15 PM »
Have a sympathetic police officer get close enough (in a store or other public place) to her that when he dials the number that the text is coming from he can see her and maybe hear her answer it. That will be evidence enough to get the ball rolling.

It must be a LEO do this. Your testimony is not enough.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2010, 12:53:35 PM »
This has been going on for more than 2 years (In fact I believe the first contact was almost 4 years ago), They have all kinds of "Circumstantial" and "you said/they said" type evidence, tons of reports, logs from all parties involved, etc, etc.  The only thing that the Linn DA said was stopping them from pursuing it was the lack of a "Threat". 

The local PD was in contact with the Linn PD and has all the info they have now.  Since this case affects 5 different family groups (and 9 or 10 people contacted) and all  have reported this woman, they must have come up with something is my guess.  (The Local PD said they would subpena the phone records today).  Not sure if they are getting records for the the anonymous calling or the trak phone, or if they are getting records in relation to the USCC employee who was doing unscrupulous things.  I'm sure they will inform us when they get to that point.

Thanks again everyone for all the advice. 


Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2019, 08:30:36 AM »
Hey - Doc, ever get a resolution on this?

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Have a problem, could use some ideas and advice.
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2019, 12:54:56 PM »
Yep, I forgot all about this.  She ended up getting caught and fired, and prosecuted.  I don't know what the eventual sentencing was, but haven't heard from her since.    9 years now?  Wow.  Time flies.