190111. John Taylor, Lord of P.I. Lore.

This page discusses my experience with P.I. John L. Taylor of Solvang, CA.

I didn't believe, as an adult, in Santa Claus. But I had difficulty understanding that some normals lied pretty much every time that they opened their mouths.

I'm still naive. But the rest of it has changed.

On Friday, January 11, 2019, I displayed my naiveté again. The back-story is fun. I've told it different ways before. We'll go with matter of fact today.

This post discusses a P.I. named John Taylor in the San Luis Obispo, CA area whose business model, I feel, is based in part on fraud.

This is the John Taylor, P.I., who uses, or has used, the following website:


The website, and John's Web presence in general, are oddly threadbare considering that he's supposedly been in business for 35 years.

A closer look at what John has been up to over the years might be productive.

This is probably the John Leonard Taylor who used to be associated with addresses on Carlo Drive, Goleta, CA and multiple streets in Solvang, CA.

The identification of the middle name is preliminary and unconfirmed.

If it's the same John L. Taylor, P.I., eager to meet your Santa Barbara, CA research needs, it appears that he's a Junior. He's named, if the “L” is for “Leonard”, after a father or uncle born circa 1914.

Siblings, cousins, and/or uncles and aunts for John L. Taylor, Jr., seem to include Roberta, Beverly, Derek, and Janie.

If it's the same John Taylor, P.I., Solvang, CA area, perhaps these people will be able to explain how the enjoyment that John feels when he commits prosecutables crimes originated.

If it's not the same John, well, one step at a time.

DOB for the John L. Taylor in question is March 08, 1942, but this could easily be somebody else.

A company named Bomar, S.I., asserts that the PDF linked below provides license information for John Taylor. I haven't attempted to confirm this yet.


John Taylor has been a P.I. for a long time. His State of California P.I. license number is said to be 11313.

John Taylor, P.I., has no compunction, it appears, related to stealing thousands of dollars from hapless clients. As a note to John's peers in the profession and to attorneys, read the correspondence from John quoted below before you elect to comment.

Remarks to the effect that John Taylor's letters are protected in any way by intellectual property or other laws will be mocked.

One take-away is that most P.I.s who work on cases for individuals, and who aren't retired police officers, will lie to you and try to cheat you.

I've dealt with enough P.I.s to have a solid basis for the assertion.

There are, to be clear, good P.I.s and I hope to continue to find them. They're useful.

Retired police officers seem more trustworthy than average, but I think that most of them prefer pro-forma work such as process service to anything out of the ordinary.

P.I.s who are willing to go beyond pro-forma work assume, in some cases, that their clients are blinded by anger or greed and try to take advantage of the emotions.

If you don't keep an eye out, some of them will take you for all that you've got. The same thing is true of attorneys, but that's a subject for another time.

In most cases, P.I.s don't actually have “sources”. That's for TV shows. Instead, they buy standard data-broker reports and resell them.

Fair enough. But the profit margin isn't that high. The real money is in field work. And the easiest type of field work is surveillance.

Surveillance is profitable enough. But it becomes even more profitable if a P.I. mixes in a bit of fraud. It's a constant temptation to the lower-tier types.

Unambiguous fraud is one approach. A P.I. can go somewhere, take a photo to prove that they were there, leave, and claim that they spent hours on the job.

How is a client going to prove otherwise unless he or she hires a 2nd P.I. to conduct surveillance on the 1st one?

But the most common case is more subtle.

Some P.I.s press clients to approve surveillance when it's not essential or even relevant.

The P.I.s might actually go. It's easy money. It's not as though the work is difficult or, in most cases, dangerous. The P.I.s collect from $75 to $150 per hour — up to $1,200 per day — just to sit and wait for somebody who might not even show up.

This is fair if P.I.s are honest. But P.I.s, or some of them, turn surveillance into a racket. Here's a favorite quote that's applicable:

It is no Sin to sell dear, but [it is] a Sin to give ill Measure.
— James Kelly, 1721

I'll name a P.I. firm later this year that I feel might see surveillance fraud as one of the pillars of its business model.

A week before Christmas 2016, I talked to John Taylor, P.I., about a possible job for him.

The job was to confirm, for legitimate and reasonable purposes that were protected under U.S. laws, that my parents Jim and Grace Kiraly were physically resident in a house located on Twinberry Circle in Avila Beach, CA.

Technical note: Jim and Grace turned out to be resident in that house, but they relocated to Solvang, CA at the end of 2018. To download a related PDF, click on the following link:


My correspondence with John Taylor, P.I. was mundane at first. Here's one of John's initial letters. Note: John's misspellings are preserved in this letter and in other letters below.

Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:43:08
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: 038-20-8134 — JAMES FRANCIS KIRALY

See attached profile on James Kiraly. Keep in mind that this type of report are [sic] not always accurate or up to date. I ran the two property profiles and the Avila Beach address and the owner is listed as “Kiraly Family Trust”.

The Newport Beach profile shows David L. New as the owner since 2004. I did an occupancy search on the Newport Beach address and James Kiraly shows being there from Dec. 2015 to July 2016.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

As you have indicated the only way to confirm who is where is a knock and talk at the addresses. I suggest getting some vehicle license plate numbers from any vehicles in the drive to see who they are registered to. There always the chance cars are in the garage.

I don't see his brother Tom listed on Possible Relatives on the profile.

(Note from OldCoder: The preceding paragraph was based on a misunderstanding on John Taylor's part. Tom Kiraly was my brother and Jim Kiraly's son, not Jim Kiraly's brother.)

No charge for this little bit of information. Let me know if further is needed.

John Taylor

John Taylor, P.I., and I exchanged a few more letters. Then John sent me the following. In this letter, John introduces a new character, an “old law enforcement buddy”.

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 08:13:12
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: Avila

Quick follow up. I have an operative in Avila Beach, old law enforcement buddy, who took a couple of drive by checks of the address. No vehicles in the drive or on the street in front of the residence. Nicely kept gated community. Vehicles of course could have been in the garage.

John Taylor

It's interesting that the “operative” was able to do not just one, but two, drive-by checks. John suggested subsequently that entry into the complex was so difficult that surveillance was the only possible way to proceed. This, despite the fact the “operative” could apparently get into the complex whenever he wished to do so.

I responded as follows. Logistic paragraphs are omitted for the sake of brevity.

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:37:12
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Avila Beach proposal

John, thanks for this as well.

May I hire you and the Avila Beach operative to proceed as described in my Dec. 17 4:11pm letter? This was my letter responding to your initial report.

He'd make two attempts to show the photo I sent you to people in the residence, then visit perhaps 4 neighbors after the second attempt to show the photo to them. With luck, at least 1 neighbor would be home.

Regards, Robert

John Taylor, P.I. has cool informants

John Taylor, P.I., and I discussed possible approaches to the work. On December 28, John sent me the formal proposal included below.

In this proposal, John adds another character to the story, an “inside reliable and confidential contact”.

The “operative” mentioned here is John Taylor's “old law enforcement buddy”; i.e., a retired police officer or the like.

The “contact” is somebody who is eager to spill secrets to the police officer. Like Huggy Bear on “Baretta” or dozens of other supporting characters. Such excitement. It's just like on TV! :P

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:02:25
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: Quote for job

We have no problem taking on this assignment. I'm not sure I agree with neighbor contacts in this small gated community. It only takes one neighbor who is friendly to your parents who would call them when an enquiry is made.

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

My operative is very familiar with this complex and any door to door contacts are reported and he could be banned from further entry. His inside reliable and confidential contact lives across the street from your parents and has confirmed they live there.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

I would suggest the following:

1) We do a DMV vehicle ownership search to obtain description and Lic. Number of target's vehicle/s.

2) Conduct surveillance on the outside perimeter of the complex to observe the targets leaving. Attempt photos when they reach a destination if possible.

3) Once confirmation is made we can serve documents. Surveillance effort should start early morning in hopes they go someplace. Or if you know of any routine or habits that have. Church, dinners out, etc.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

As I quoted prior the hourly rate is $ 85.00 plus .50 cents a mile and minimal data expense. We generally request a retainer to start this type of investigation. I leave the amount up to you knowing the cost of the effort involved.

It could be a 10 or 15 hour effort depending on movement from the residence. We keep a log of time and expense. Any unused funds are returned.

Your thoughts?


Um. If John had an “inside reliable and confidential contact”, why did we need to do anything but talk to that person?

I responded to John's proposal as follows. This is just the relevant part.

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:48:44
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Re: Quote for job

If the “inside reliable contact” *has* seen my parents recently, would your operative be willing to visit just them [the contact] as opposed to the neighbors and confirm that they [Jim and Grace] are present?

Alternatively, would he be willing to negotiate with the “inside reliable contact” for whatever information that person can provide? I'd be willing to add fixed-rate payments for relevant information in addition to hourly.

I added the following P.S.:

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 23:54:17
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Updated proposal

Does this updated proposal work for you? Note: Everything will be paid for in advance.

* I'll pay to cover three people — You, your Avila Beach associate, and his “inside contact”. If we proceed, your time for this setup stage will be covered.

* The “inside contact” will provide a letter discussing what he or she knows about my parents' location and activities.

OldCoder continues:

Identification of church would be helpful. That's the primary place where they [Jim and Grace Kiraly] can be found and served that isn't behind a locked door. Price for the letter is open to negotiation.

I'd like, and I'll pay for, any information that isn't legally confidential and that may be useful in litigation. One example, in addition to identification of church, would be OCD behavior by my father, which he's known to exhibit in front of neighbors.

My assumption is that the “inside contact” doesn't have a fiduciary relationship with my parents, e.g., isn't their therapist, and can therefore talk freely.

OldCoder continues:

* Your associate will be paid to communicate with the “inside contact”, to photograph any vehicles, and possibly to visit my parents and confirm their presence.

If you need a specific reason for the visit, I could write a minor but formal letter to be hand-delivered to my parents. This might be useful, actually, as legitimate and reasonable misdirection.

* Surveillance for one specific purpose may be done as well. This part is to be discussed after we see what the “inside contact” has to say.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

This is where it gets interesting. John Taylor responded as follows. Note that he completely disregards the points about his “inside reliable contact”.

John jumps right back to the surveillance part here despite the fact that, if he has an “inside reliable contact”, surveillance is pointless and unnecessary.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 11:16:00
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: None

I have received all your email. Here is my proposal: We set up no more than 10 Hours of investigation time to attempt to identify and serve your parents at the Avila Beach address.

We will attempt photographs if possible before during or after observation.

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

You will receive a written report from me at the conclusion of the investigation including information from my confidential inside informants.

(Note from OldCoder: Note that John Taylor uses the plural “informants” here. He's expanded the number of non-existent inside contacts from one to at least two.)

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

From what I understand of your request is to locate and serve your parents either with legal papers or other written correspondents or both.

We keep it pretty simple in this business. It appears to me to be straight forward assignment. It appears their vehicle/s are most likely parked in the garage so we won't see them in the drive.

(Note from OldCoder: By “pretty simple” here, John Taylor means that it would be “pretty simple” to hit me up for $1,000.00 worth of surveillance without bothering to ask his “confidential inside informants” first if they'd seen my father.)

I can request a legal report from DMV for vehicles owned by the occupants of the house.

We set up surveillance at the entrance of the complex and wait for them to leave. They can be served when they reach their destination or upon returning to the house. We will attempt to photograph the event if possible.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

The following straight forward questions may be helpful:

1) Do they attend church? if so, what denomination?
2) Do they have pets, dog or cat?
3) Do they both drive?
4) Are they morning people?
5) Do they go for walks or other exercise?
6) Any known daily habits?
7) Any medical conditions, use of cane, walkers, etc.?
8) (John seems to have included nothing on this line)

Flat rate for this effort will be $ 1,000.00 to include time and millage [sic] and any data work.

(Note from OldCoder: John spelled “mileage” here as “millage”. It seems like an odd typo for an experienced P.I. who writes up a lot of mileage.)

John Taylor

O.K., I'm slow, but I'm not downright stupid :P

At this point, it was clear that John Taylor, P.I., San Luis Obispo area, was lying through his teeth. But I gave him a chance to straighten things out.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:26:24
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Inside contact

John, the following is worded directly, but it's intended to be friendly. If we can't come to terms, I'd still like to look at hiring you for other types of research.

Your associate states that he has an “inside reliable and confidential contact [who] lives across the street from your parents and has confirmed they live there”.

“Pretty simple in this business” is fine, but there is nothing complicated about a proposal to obtain information from the “inside contact” who your associate states exists, knows my parents, and has commented regarding them.

Why in the world would I agree to pay for surveillance that might produce nothing before I hear what an “inside reliable and confidential contact” with definite information has to say?

OldCoder continues:

You haven't even acknowledged that the “inside contact” should be asked if he or she has seen my parents recently as opposed to months ago. Isn't this an obvious step?

(Note from OldCoder: There was no “inside contact” who lived “across the street” from my father. John Taylor is believed to have committed prosecutable fraud.)

My proposal is the one that was sent at about midnight last night. If you'll work out a quote that you feel is fair, you'll receive payment in advance for a job that is “pretty simple”.

I'll also, most likely, pay for surveillance as well. But surveillance will be *after* I read what the “inside contact” has to say.

Otherwise, that's fine, and I hope to discuss other types of work.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

John Taylor, P.I., responded as follows:

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2016 08:50:50
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: Search

I will advise when my inside source has a visual on the subjects or any positive proof they are there.


At this point, I repeated previous offers to give John Taylor, P.I., piles of cash in exchange for nothing but evidence that he wasn't a liar and a fraud.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:39:00
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Offer of retainer

John, you don't need to invest any more time or effort for free. I'm offering to provide a retainer. We only need to agree on steps.

I'm assuming that your associate is trustworthy. He's a retired LEO or something similar, right? Most are by-the-book types.

So, the inside source presumably exists and is willing to talk. Do you doubt this, yourself?

OldCoder continues:

I'm offering to pay you, your associate, and the inside source for a letter from the inside source. I'd send some questions, the source would answer to the extent possible, and you and I would discuss surveillance.

(Note from OldCoder: If the “inside source” existed, why was John Taylor so reluctant even to acknowledge points of this type? He just kept dodging them.)

Unless any of the three of you has a fiduciary relationship that creates a conflict of interest, I don't see a reason not to proceed.

It's up to you. Feel free to point out anything I've overlooked.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

John Taylor's next to last letter is pasted below.

Other P.I.s, including former police officers, have laughed at the part about how John needs to buy his police officer friend a dinner so that the police officer's feelings won't be hurt. :)

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2017 09:15:42
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: New Year and next steps

The relationship between a client and an investigator is kind of like a marriage. If there is no trust there is no relationship.

Your strong indication that I fabricated information to induce you to pay me is very insulting to say the least. The normal procedure for most investigators is getting a retainer up front before any time or effort is put into the investigation.

(Note from OldCoder: I made multiple offers to pay John Taylor for his time. Even after I realized that he was trying to cheat me out of $1,000.00.)

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

I broke my own rule by doing some initial research and putting manpower into your case. I will take that lose [sic] and take my Avila Beach operative to dinner for his time and effort.

(Note from OldCoder: John's “initial research” was a standard data-broker report I'd seen before and that he most likely got for free as part of a subscription.)

(John Taylor also, most likely, invented a fictitious police officer who'd gone to Avila Beach on my behalf. If the police officer did exist, there was no Huggy Bear informant waiting impatiently to feed him facts about my parents. I doubt that dinner was an issue.)

With that said, I'm terminating any further effort in your cause. No need to respond to this email.

John Taylor

I wrote back and told John Taylor, P.I., that I'd be discussing the fraud which he'd committed online with others. John responded as follows:

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2017 11:04:14
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: Blog review and PI license

I have received your email and forwarded it to my attorney for review. Sorry our relationship didn't work out.


Two years later, I'm still waiting to hear from the “attorney”. It's regrettable. In such cases, I find attorneys to be a crunchy part of a nutritious breakfast.

These days, God, I love it when attorneys cross the line.

You can't touch the straight and narrow type. Harmeet Dhillon, I'm talking to you. The bottom of the barrel type... oh, that's mighty fine eatin'.

On January 11, 2019, I was referred to a P.I. who supposedly lived near Solvang, CA. The city that Jim and Grace Kiraly were supposed to have moved to a month before.

The P.I.'s name was John Taylor. But his phone number was 805-896-1613. The original John Taylor's phone number was 805-964-2089. So, it was probably a different John Taylor, right?

OldCoder <- idiot at times :)

I needed to get the scoop on whether or not Jim and Grace were still located in Solvang. So, I called the 2nd John Taylor.

The 2nd John Taylor was polite, but he seemed oddly nervous.

The issue wasn't that non-pro forma work was off-putting. We didn't get far enough into the discussion for that to be the case.

The 2nd John Taylor indicated that he didn't wish to take on a new research job. His statements were garbled due to agitation.

I asked him if I'd offended him somehow. I think that he said “No”, but I'm not sure.

The 2nd John Taylor hung up abruptly. I was puzzled. I speculated that perhaps Jim and Grace had been calling P.I.s in the area and asking them not to work for me.

Then the possibility that I'd been a fool occurred to me. It can be a useful realization.

I looked closer and found that both phone numbers, 805-896-1613 and 805-964-2089, had been associated, at different times, with a John L. Taylor, P.I.

I can believe in two P.I.s with the same first and last name in the same general area. But the same middle initial as well? Probably not.

Howdy, John L. Taylor. It was pleasant to chat with you, even if I wasn't aware of who I was speaking to.

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John L. Taylor, P.I. in Solvang, CA and San Luis Obispo area
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