Monday, October 22, 2012

Santa Clara County Complaint

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Ms. Deborah Lightfoot

Division of Consumer Services
2005 Apalachee Pkwy.
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Dear Ms. Lightfoot:

I am responding to a complaint filed with your office by a former client Sonya Gingras. Ms. Gingras reported that she was the victim of fraud. To substantiate her  complaint, she has supplied Internet complaints from other former clients purporting to show corroboration for her complaint. Ms. Gingras' complaint is the 2nd complaint received by your office where someone has pointed to Internet complaints against my company,, to defend a false allegation . Accordingly, I feel that it is best that I address not only the complaint made by Ms. Gingras but also the complaints she alludes to in support of her allegations.

About our company has been in business for approximately 25 years. We assist approximately 1000 victims of alleged police misconduct a month. We receive referrals from the Justice Department and several domestic violence shelters across the country. In our  25 years history, we have had 10 Better Business Bureau complaints and three arbitration hearings. We have prevailed in virtually every Better Business Bureau case that has gone to a hearing. At least half of the complaints made against our company were by clients who had received pro bono services. When services were discontinued the clients made complaints. Because we have limited staff some cases must be terminated. Other complaints were made because we determined the evidence in the case proved the police misconduct complaint to be false. I believe that the complaint of Sonya Gingras falls in that category. An objective evaluation of the evidence in the case shows that the complaint is undoubtedly false.

Gingras Case Background
Ms. Gingras contacted November 4, 2012. She reported a complaint that her son, Matthew Gingras, had been assaulted by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's office after his arrest. Ms. Gingras alleged that deputies from the Sheriff's office savagely attacked and beat her son. She supplied our office with police reports recordings and other evidence. She asked for an expert witness opinion and report. She was told that before a report can be written, her case would have to be reviewed to test the integrity of her evidence and evaluate the credibility of her witnesses and her son. Ms. Gingras was told that I would personally interview her son to question him about the facts in her complaint made on his behalf and to verify that he was in fact a victim of assault.

After making a payment for the preliminary investigation, Ms. Gingras refused to allow her son to be interviewed. Ms. Gingras abruptly abandoned the investigation just before interviews were to be scheduled with her son. She asked for a refund. Though it is not our policy to refund payments for consulting services, we gave her a full refund.

Three months later,  Ms. Gingras contacted our office a second time stating that she wished to now pursue a civil lawsuit. She told us that she was having difficulty finding a lawyer to take the case. She asked if our paralegals could assist her with drafting documents and doing legal research. She was quoted a fee for a preliminary investigation and a paralegal review.

After paying the fee, I contacted Ms. Gingras. I told her that I would need to speak with her son. Mrs. Gingras scheduled four appointments with me and her son. Each time her son failed to call into the conference line number we supplied. On the 4th try, I called him directly. He did not answer his cell phone  - with my nearly a half a dozen call attempts. When I told Ms. Gingras that his failure to speak with investigators was unacceptable, she scheduled a final meeting. But, again at that meeting her son did not show up. Instead, Ms. Gingras showed up in his place and provided the facts included in the video below. It was evident that Ms. Gingras' son was evading an interview with our investigators.

After a thorough review of documents we retrieved from the Sheriff's office, it explained why Ms. Gingras' son did not want to be interviewed. Though Ms. Gingras is adamant about her son's innocence, police records totally contradict her son's story. Police reports we reviewed for an investigation, show that the police conducted a substantial investigation into Ms. Gingras allegations after we filed a complaint on her behalf more than 6 months ago. The Sheriffs’ Department told Ms. Gingras that they had video of the alleged assault. The video proves that the assault did not take place! Evidence we have reviewed corroborates the Sheriff's position that Ms. Gingras' son was not the victim of an assault.

Rather than accepting that her sons complaint is false, Ms. Gingras continues to advocate for her son. She goes on relentlessly claiming that he was a victim of abuse in spite of evidence to the contrary. Now, after mounting a failed Internet campaign against the Sheriff office, Ms. Gingras has turned her attention to Her claim that she was the victim of fraud is baseless, false, and made in bad faith.

Ms. Gingras has now mounted her own Internet campaign posting negative reviews on our Better Business Bureau page and filing complaints with the Tallahassee Police Department, the Florida State Atty. Gen., and multiple other offices of government officials. 

In closing, I wholeheartedly believe that her complaint against is false and is based on her dissatisfaction with our examination of her son's case. This neither warrants a refund for services rendered nor does it warrant an apology for aligning with the facts & the truth of the case.

Other Internet Complaints

As referenced earlier, there are nominal Internet complaints about on the Internet that I want to address primarily since Ms, Gingras cites them in an effort to substantiate her complaint. I will take them in order of their submission:

Internet complaints

·     In 2005 was contacted by Mary Lou Hoerster of Fredericksburg Texas. Ms. Hoerster reported that her husband was attempting to kill her and that the local police chief was assisting him. Her story proved to be a fraud. We made more than half a dozen trips to her home and Fredericksburg looking for suspects. She has lambasted us on the Internet claiming that she was the victim of fraud. She is also litigious. She has filed lawsuits not only against but against her prior private investigator and her former lawyer. The police chief sums up Hoerster's motivation for her complaints in the call recorded below. 

Ms. Hoerster's lawsuit against our company was dismissed in 2012 by a federal judge.

·    The second complaint is from Dennis Obado. Mr. Obado was arrested for selling cocaine by the New Brunswick New Jersey Police Department. He contacted claiming that he was being stalked and followed by the police after his arrest. We found nothing to support any of his claims. After requesting an expensive undercover video unit to record his comings and goings, Mr. Obado refused to return the equipment and then claimed that he was the victim of fraud. We went to arbitration with Mr. Obado and agreed to refund his money after he returned our camera equipment. At a court ordered mediation the equipment was returned and we refunded Mr. Obado $1500. But, less than a year later, Mr. Obado contacted me again asking that I pay him a 2nd $1500 - though it was not part of our agreement nor was it ordered by the court. He threatened to make Internet complaints if I did not pay him a 2nd time. We did not pay him. His Internet postings can be found on ripoff report and 3 other online consumer websites. My conversation with Mr. Obado's father will give a much different impression of his complaint. We suspected that Obado was suffering from a mental health issue. When we reported our concerns to Obado's parents they refused to confirm or deny our suspicions.

·     With regard to complaints submitted in the last 12 months to the Better Business Bureau each case has been decided in favor of Though service refunds from the clients totalled nearly $12,000, after a review by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), was asked by an arbitrator to pay 1 client $100 to close the case. The remaining balance, $11,900, initially in question, was not deemed to be refunded.

·     Lastly, Tammy Wells, the client below requested a refund of nearly $8000. However, she failed to show for the arbitration hearing that she had requested after we supplied recordings of what actually transpired to the arbitrator. This client also went into business with one of our terminated staff. 

      We subsequently discovered that this former client and former staff person created a webpage competing directly with my business. The motives and intent here are obvious.

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