181209. Are Jim and Grace Victims of Title Fraud?
I'm concerned about my parents, Jim and Grace Kiraly. It's been reported to me that they might be the victims of Elder Abuse in the context of Title Fraud.
For those who might be able to comment, here's a link to a PDF that provides some updated information related to Jim, who seems to have relocated to Solvang, CA:
A screenshot of part of the PDF is provided below.
A private investigator, Keith Krasnove of Corporate Security Investigations, has visited the Kiraly house at 6329 Twinberry Circle, Avila Beach, CA on two occasions that I'm aware of recently.
The context was a wellness check. A police chief had commented to me, previously, that this might be a sensible check to conduct and had considered handling this for me himself.
The house is in a gated community. The community is sometimes referred to as Avila Estates, but the correct name is apparently San Luis Bay Estates.
There are two gates into the community. One of them is a “front” gate located next to Blue Heron Realty.
The “front” gate includes a guard-house which is open until 9:00pm daily. It's apparently the same schedule 7 days a week, but this isn't confirmed.
The 2nd gate is a “back” gate located next to a fire station. That gate uses buzz-through and/or RFID stickers.
The Realtor's office was under the impression that visitors are required to use the front, or guard, gate. However, I was told by one guard that visitors may use either gate.
If visitors weren't allowed to use the back gate, why would buzz-through be supported? And what would happen after 9:00pm when the guard-house closed?
I'm the one who “gathered” this information, to use a term from the 2012 to 2013 Gag Order Cases.
I hadn't had much experience with “gathering” this type of information prior to the cases, but I seem to have improved.
My understanding is that Keith parked near the rear gate, waited for somebody to open it and drive through it, and followed them through before the gate closed.
It sounds simple, but a lot of P.I.'s don't want to go to the bother of getting through the gate, so they'll press you to pay them thousands of dollars for “surveillance” instead.
“Surveillance” means that a P.I. will park outside the gate and wait for hours to see if a subject happens to drive out. In such a case, the P.I. can follow them and gather information.
One problem with this is that the P.I. is likely to lie about conducting surveillance. You'll pay thousands of dollars. In return, they'll go there just long enough to be able to prove that they were there.
Another problem is that there may be two gates, as there were in this case. How is surveillance supposed to work, then?
But the real issue is that, if you've identified a residential address and you'd simply like to confirm physical presence or do a wellness check, surveillance is absurd.
In this case, a P.I. needs to just go through the gate and
knock on the door. If you ask a P.I. to do that and he or she presses
for surveillance instead, you're dealing with a fraud who is hoping
to steal thousands of dollars from you.
My favorite gated community story has to do with a P.I. who tried to convince me to pay him for surveillance by stating that he had a “reliable informant” in a gated community.
It was the same Avila Beach complex that Keith Krasnove visited later on and, in fact, the informant supposedly lived next door to Jim and Grace Kiraly.
“So,” the P.I. said, “they're confirmed to be living there. Pay me thousands of dollars for surveillance and we're sure to get results”.
“Um, fool,” I replied, respectfully. “If there's a reliable informant living behind the gate, why would I pay you for surveillance? I'll pay you to talk to the informant instead. But he doesn't exist, you lying piece of sh*t.”
Actually, I spoke more casually. There's more to the story and it's
pretty funny. I'll post the details another time.
Another favorite gated community story is about a courier who told me that there was a special way to clap.
This was in Texas. The subject in this case was my brother Tom Kiraly, VP of Hanger, Inc. It turned out to be a moot point because Tom lived in a gated house as opposed to a gated community. But we didn't know that initially.
“Clap with the right rhythm,” the courier said, “and the gate will open like magic”.
I remain literal despite all that's happened. All that I've learned. So, I believed him. When he realized this, he quickly explained that he was joking.
That guy was great. I'd hired him to deliver a birthday card and a bottle of wine to Tom. Tom didn't seem to be home, so I told the courier to keep the wine for himself.
On December 6, 2018, Keith and a partner, Jackie Hermo, noticed that a door at the Kiraly house was unlocked. They entered the residence without instructions from me to do so. Keith explained subsequently that this was out of concern for the safety of my parents.
Keith and Jackie found the house empty. Photo:
“We then went to 6313 Twinberry and spoke to a man and woman. The man identified himself as 'Jim Lawson'.”
In separate communications, Krasnove elaborated that “Jim Lawson” had represented himself as a “real estate agent”, that other neighbors had done so, or both.
He wasn't entirely clear about who had said what. But, close enough.
“He [Jim Lawson] acted very suspicious and said James and Grace Kiraly were going to Texas to be with one of their sons. He then went with me to lock your parents' home. He said the home was being sold for $759,000.00.”
This doesn't seem odd so far. Jim and Grace might have talked to “Lawson” about the possibility that they'd move to be near my brother Tom Kiraly, a son who resides in Austin, Texas.
Jim and Grace have apparently moved to Solvang, CA, instead. The fact that “Lawson” got the two destinations mixed up may not be significant.
Or Jim may have instructed people to lie about his doings or whereabouts. But that doesn't add up, because some neighbors, at all of Jim's addresses over the past decade, have been positively chatty.
But Krasnove added:
“We ran a data base report of 6313 Twinberry Circle Avila Beach CA to attempt to determine whether the resident was 'Jim Lawson', the name given to us by the man who had the keys to your parents' home. The data base report that we obtained did not list Jim Lawson as a resident of that address.”
“We then attempted to verify that James Lawson was licensed as a Real Estate salesman in Avila Beach or any place near Avila Beach.”
“We found that there was no James Lawson licensed as a Real Estate salesman in any area within a reasonable distance of Avila Beach.”
“Since the person told us that his name was 'Jim Lawson' we searched the California State Real Estate License site and found no person by that name was licensed in California.”
Krasnove summarized as follows: (edited for spelling and length)
“The next door neighbor who had the key apparently refused to give his real name. His wife and he acted very suspicious. In addition, he told us a false story saying that your parents were buying a house in Texas to join your brother, when in fact they are in Solvang, California.”
“We therefore believe that your parents may be the victims of Title Fraud.”
Krasnove provided this FBI link as a reference:
He closed by asking me to pay him hundreds of dollars in advance to look
more closely at the situation.
So, Tom, Ken, Riane, etc., what do you make of all of this? Is somebody trying to lighten Jim's and Grace's wallets by $759,000? Or is this just a case of a shady P.I. diligently attempting to fatten his own wallet?
Keith Krasnove, FWIW, is an interesting character.
My first choice was a police chief who was in the process of transitioning to P.I. work. He'd have been able to get through the gate.
He talked about possibly just climbing over it. This is apparently legal under some circumstances; if a police chief tells me that, I'm inclined to give some weight to the point.
But the police chief dropped out due to being a controversial figure in that area. He decided that he'd better stick to mundane cases until he'd completed his transition.
So, I talked to Krasnove.
Krasnove definitely isn't inexperienced or run of the mill; that's why I hired him despite signs of potential problems.
But he does seem shady. And he made an unusual threat on December 4, 2018 which strongly suggested that he was a con man.
I realized that my money was going to disappear without a trace. So, I made a gentle attempt to explain to Keith that it might be polite and appropriate for Corporate Security Investigations not to steal from me or to threaten me.
Keith and Jackie made the final visit to Twinberry Circle two days later.
Letter to Keith Krasnove
The December 08, 2018 letter that I sent to Keith Krasnove has moved to the Corporate Security Investigations review page. To visit the page, click on the following link: