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The Italian Job


We were contacted by a client in Yorkshire who wanted us to find out some information on an Italian waiter she had met on holiday. The waiter, Paolo, had told her he was divorced. After spending a month at the hotel where Paolo worked, out client told us that Paolo had asked her to marry him, and wanted to come over to Leeds to be with her.

After such a brief relationship, our client felt things might be moving a little too fast, and understandably had concerns about the true extent of Paolo's feelings and motivation.

She told us the name of the hotel where Paolo worked near Lake Garda, and the name of the town where he had told her he used to live with his wife and children. We had little information to go on, as Paolo had not revealed much to our client.

In these cases, our usual UK search routes are of no value.

We began with an OSINT search for Paolo (Open Source Intelligence). Fortunately, at Anderson Chance, we have multi-lingual researchers, and one of our team was able to conduct extensive research in Italian.

We also looked at social media for Paolo. He had no social media presence, but having been able to ascertain the names of his wife and children from our research, we were able to locate the social media accounts of his family.

This gave us some valuable information: the accounts revealed photographs of Paolo with his wife and children, which were less than a year old. They also gave us the name of a town near Lake Garda which was different from  that given to our client by Paolo.

We presented these findings to our client, but pointed out that although the photos seemed to contradict Paolo's story that he was divorced, they did not categorically prove that he was still living with his wife and children.

Our client decided she wanted definitive proof that Paolo was no longer living with his wife.

Our Italian-speaking researcher carried our further online research, and by looking at Paolo's family members, Italian trade directories, and Italian phone directories, came up with a possible address for Paolo and his family.

We then deployed an agent to carry out surveillance on the property and Paolo.  Our agent began by firstly attending the hotel where Paolo worked. He observed Paolo in the hotel bar, noticing that he was popular and engaging, particularly with the female clientele. He observed Paolo's shift pattern for 48 hours, as our client had told us that he sometimes stayed over  at the hotel.

Our agent noted Paolo arrived at the hotel each morning, and left each night, and was not staying at the hotel.

The agent then moved to the address we had given him for Paolo's family residence, in a nearby town. He carried out extensive surveillance over the next two days, and observed Paolo leaving the family home at 7am both mornings, and returning both evenings at 8pm. He also saw Paolo's wife and children going to and fro, and on one occasion, observed Paolo and his wife leaving the house together with their arms around each other at 9pm to go for a drink in a local bar.

Our agent sent over photographs confirming this, together with the detailed dated and timed surveillance record.

We compiled our report and discussed our findings with our client. Although understandably upset, her closing remark to us was that she felt she had had a lucky escape.