Auto Theft and Forensics V Last Key Used In A Reported Stolen Vehicle

About us and the forensic locksmithing venue of last key used in a reported stolen vehicle. This summary will give everyone the reason that examination of ignitions is quite questionable, performed by people that have never been tool mark examiners, do not understand metals and varibles to be considered, and some have no documented auto mechanical experience are extremely dangerous to insureds submitting an auto theft claim.

Insureds: Accoring to the insurance company and their vendors, our vehicle is unstealable without your key. You w ill now be investigated for fraud.

Of course, if we follow the money, and take into consideration all the theft claims denied every day across the US by all the different carriers throughout the USA each and every single work day over a years time, that is serious money they did not have to pay out. If you had nothing to do with the theft, they don’t care as they are turning your life upside down!

It all starts at the claims department after you have given your recorded statement. The claims person looks up your vehicle and finds it is equipped from the factory with an anti theft transponder, making the vehicle unstealable!

The claim is referred to SIU (Special Investigations Unit) commonly ex-cops. The claim is suspicious because again, the vehicle is unstealable. However, the investigator can’t recommend denial on a hunch and needs hard fact!

He gets this hard fact by going to the insurance company’s vendor lists and looks for a vendor that specializes in forensic locksmithing, or is an engineer, or claims to be an expert in auto theft.

These vendors are unvetted as to if the examination processes they use are scientifically verifiable, or are published and accepted by peers. There is no error rate as to how many times their opinions are right or wrong, but none of that matters, as long as they are an independent company that can’t be linked to the insurance company. This way, the investigator can state it was determined by an independent forensic firm that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. (inferring the insured’s key)

To make this statement without question, the expert will cut copy and paste information gleened out of a factory service manual as to the description and operation theory of the transponder system in their report, making it sound like the system cannot be penetrated.

This report is gold to the investigator. Not only does it put a faceless expert accusing the insured of fraud, but also give the green light for a very intense, intrusive investigation on the insured for finacial motivation in order to get rid of the vehicle.

The investigator uses what they may refer to as facts, that is usually assumption and innuendo esablishing a fictious motive. In fact, sometimes the investigators creative writing is so good, they actually believe their theory as fact!

Please do not misunderstand, insurance fraud with auto thefts is a very big problem, but everyone with a factory anti theft system on theiir vehicle is lumped into the same catagory, and there is in my opinion far too much faith and confidence placed in their experts!

Prosecutors think they have a slam dunk with circumstantial evidence. The circumstantial evidence is un-based net opinion, assumption and innuendo on the part of their star expert masqueraded as fact! I chalk that off to blatant ignorance and arrogance on their part!

In the event that an insured is denied on their auto theft claim, they try to find an attorney that will believe in them. Part of the insrance companies methods here is smoke and mirrors. They claim to not know anything about theft and forensics and that is their reason for the independent expert.

Unfortunately, the attorney sees the word “Forensics” they correlate it with real forensics. I guide the attorney through this misinformation.

Our Approach


We are “the only game in town” if you will. The insurance experts in the area of forensic locksmithing only work for two entities. Their clients are insurance companies and law enforcement. They do not supply services to the insured or to defend criminal defendants. We work for anyone looking for the truth.

If the forensic locksmith decides to go to the “Dark side” as attorneys call it, working for insureds (Plaintiffs) they will be black balled immediately and will receive no more assignments from insurance clients or law enforcement.


We on the other hand welcome this work and we have extreme abilities that enable us to build a successful defense against the forensic locksmith,  enginner or whatever they claim to be attacking the methodologies employed, the flawed conclusions and their statements in their reporting.

We have real life experience with stolen vehicles with 20 years of exclusively repairing theft recovered vehicles. Most don’t! We have written for years for peer review and acceptance about forensic locksmithing. We have done scientifically verifiable testing in order to establish error rates on examination processes.

In fact, we even provided a 1,350+ power Point slide training program out on the subject. The testing process as for the like kind amount of samples was found to be valid by the head of the firearms and tool mark division with the FBI and also the US Army Crime lab located in Georgia at the time to be scientifically acceptable. Granted, they knew nothing about steering columns or ignitions, but our goal was to determine if we used enough examples for testing  to set a standard.

We also applied standardized examination methods. In other words, every recovered non- burned theft recovery was tested step by step the same way. We set the protocol that should be followed on each and every vehicle. However, the forensic locksmith evidently felt they had a better way. We advocated for removal, disassembly of the ignition lock. Then the tumblers were examined under a microscope at varying magnifications from 10 to 30 times. The keys went through the same process and the tumblers would be compared to the keys for identifying tool marks.

Instead, the forensic locksmith in a report we recently reviewed in a criminal case had microscopic photos of the key to wow a jury, but there was a problem. The intact ignition was never removed from the vehicle, or disassembled or examined under a microscope, so basically, the jury would have only gotten only half the puzzle. In fact, unless the keys were inserted into the ignition and the lock was rotated, which was done, there is no way without disassembly to know that the tumblers had not been swapped out from the factory original specifications!

Unfortunately, this is common to the type of services that are performed nationwide by forensic locksmiths serving insurance companies across the nation. There is no science performed. No consideration as to how the vehicle could be stolen without damage to the ignition lock cylinder.

Every vehicle computer must be interrogated either with a factory or an after market key programmer. Why? Most vehicles when interrogated will display as to how many keys are programmed for the vehicle. Let’s say the forensic locksmith is given two keys at the time of the exam. Now the computer is interrogated and the key programmer reveals there are 4 keys programmed for the vehicle. Then it is the investigator’s job to find out if they can account for those 2 missing keys. Do forensic locksmiths use this process? Very rarely! Better yet, if the forensic locksmith used this process on one vehicle he examined, why would he not do it on all that he examined? Why would he deviate from a standard?

Instead of going to the work of removing the ignition, many times for expediency a lighted magified scope is inserted in the key way. This method removes about half the points that a microscopic examination would be capable of. We are also left with believing what the forensic locksmith states he saw in the key way, because there are no pictures like those taken from a microscope. Key to tumbler comparison can not be accomplished either. This process takes 5-10 minutes to perform compared to the hours required for a microscopic examination.

These are just some small examples and attorneys trying to use these instances without an expert to assist you, will have created issues for themselves on follow up.

The point being, is that we are experts on the experts. The forensic locksmith is just a tool used by the investigator so they can be authorized to build a case of financial motivation on the part of the insured for the purpose of denial.

You have heard the addage “Follow the money.” That is all you need to do here. Who pays the investigator? He or she is required to build as many of these suspicious claims as they can, otherwise they will be out looking for a job. There have been instances at the end of the year that the Special Investigation Unit may be honored for saving $30 million in claims payment that year. The Unit get a bonus check, which is sometimes divided by the investigators. In this situation, one could say they are getting a commission for their investigations. I am not saying this is the norm, because I don’t know one way or the other, but I have seen it happen.

Let’s look at the forensic locksmith–He is hand icked by the investigator from the company’s vendor list. How did he get on the vendor list? Was his methodology vetted for scientific validity? Of course not! One thing that insurance companies like with the forensic locksmith vendors is court experience. The problem with this is that it was never considered why did they have to testify? Was it because their report was questioned by a plaintiff attorney because of ambiguous statements? Defense attorneys feel confident in them, because when unopposed by a qualified expert, the jury will believe whatever they have to say.

Where the problem comes in is when they are opposed. We supply the questions for client attorneys for deposition and cross. These are not regular questions and go to their methodology employed in their examination. Their flawed conclusions. Yes, we are hated by the opposing experts, because we are so meticulous! Hey, they are supposed to be the experts determining the last key used in reported stolen vehicles. Even when the vehicle was not recovered!

The bottom line to all of this, if your theft claim has been denied and you have an attorney, have them contact us. We provide amazing expert witness services on auto theft and forensic locksmithing.

If you are being prosecuted for fraud or arson on your vehicle insurance claim, have your attorney contact us. We will travel to any of the contiguous 48 states to testify on your behalf once retained.


I consulted on this article. It relates but from a different angle




Auto Theft Claim Investigations/denial

Welcome, you actually believe the forensic expert can determine it was your key last used before the theft?


The insurance companies are playing the percentages and figure that most won’t fight these  auto theft claims denial cases, there by pocketing the claims cash they did not have to pay to profit!

Fight them if you are innocent! We eviscerate their “forensic” experts that have accused you of insurance fraud by inferrence!

This is like anything else I write, a long read, but filled with information that is nowhere else! Thank you for your time!

As the insured, once your vehicle is stolen, you are required to contact the police immediately and submit a report of theft. The second thing you need to do is contact the insurance company and notify them of the theft. Directly after the vehicle is reported stolen to the insurance company, you will be required to give a recorded statement. The statement will be a list of general questions you will be asked and I will give some examples:

  1. what time did you notice the vehicle was no longer where you had parked it last?
  2. Approximately, ho many miles were on the vehicle at te time of the theft?
  3. Are there any identifying indicators on the car (i.e. dented or scraped fender, license tag number, wheel style, etc,)
  4. Do you have any enemies?
  5. If there is a lien on the vehicle, ae you current with your payments?
  6. Who else other than yorself had access to your keys for the vehicle?
  7. was the vehicle in good mechanical condition?
  8. Do you have receipts for any work done on the car?
  9. Have you told anyone your car was stolen?

These are just some examles, but be aware you must be truthful, because it is difficult to repeat a lie, yet the truth can be told over and over again.

Also be aware that there are many mechanics to an auto theft investigation, and the answers you had given may be addressed at another time during another recorded statement, or an examination under oath (EUO). An EUO is a deposition not assigned to a court case and is part of a fraud investigation. It is sworn testimony, which will have a court reporter and possibly a lawyer representing the insurance company with a caveat. It has been my experience that often times the insurance company does not want to pay the over-inflated fees an attorney will charge, and in this case, the investigator will be asking you questions. It’s more cost effective that way, because the carrier is already paying the investigator.

You will find that the vehicle if recovered (and commonly if not recovered), will have an independent foresic examiner examine the ignition on the vehicle. Or in the case the vehicle is not recovered, the forensic locksmith will render an opinion as to how the vehicle was last driven using utter specualation and his imagination, without physical evidence.

See, from the time the claim is submtted with the vehicle being equipped with an anti-theft transponder, as far as the investigator is involved, they are already looking at the insured as submitting a fraud claim, because they are taught such vehicles can’t be stolen without the insured’s key. So as far as the investigator is concerned, you are a liar and they need to prove it from the conclusions of the independent forensic examiner, before he or she can proceed with a potential denied claim. The investigator cannot just call the insured a liar without proof! That is the reason there is so much emphasis on the key word “independent!”

The independent forensic locksmith, engineers or whatever they hold themselves out as have not been vetted by the insurance company for the quality of their work. They are put on the vendor list and procurred in these instances. There is nothing independent about the forensic examiner. He has a vested interest in the outcome of the claim. If his reports reflect favortism for the insured they will not be serving insurance companies in that capacity long!

The insurance investigator may or may not tell you forensics is going to be performed on the vehicle. What the investigator does not tell the insured, is that they can have their own expert at their expense present at the time of this forensic examination. Many times destructive testing is performed. They may take the ignition apart, but like putting toohpaste back into the tube, the evidence has been tampered with advertantly or inadvertainly. Without an insured having their own expert present at the time of the examination they are already at a disadvantage as it relates to the claims investigation.

In my opinion based on over 20 years opposing the insurance forensic experts, there is a tremendous amount of deception. Innuendo and assumption are used as facts! The use of a general one size fits all conclusion is common on about 98% of these cases. Combined with the claimed forensic title, the ignorance on the part of the lawyers, the jury and the judge, is used as an advantage to the expert. After all, the combination of these factors, serves as a losing case for the insured.

The insurance defense opening argument may be that the insured’s key was required to start and drive this vehicle. The vehicle is equipped with a very sophisticated anti-theft system and as our defense will demonstrate, the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. It will be realized that the insured was upside down with his loan on the vehicle. They owed far more than the vehicle was worth. In order to just walk away from this liability the insured purchased “Gap” insurance to cover the difference between what was owed and what the vehicle was worth. The carrier has used due diligence to go over and beyond in the investigation as to how this vehicle was last driven, by the use of an independent forensic examiner.

Our case is rock solid illustrating that this was not and auto theft claim, but in fact a fraudulent claim was submitted!

(There are many variables in these cases, but I used an example that the reader of this article would understand. If the insured has anything in the past, such as a non-related felony, tax issues or anything else that can strengthen the case to a jury, it will be exploited to illustrate the insured was of very highly questionable character)

A tremendous amount of auto theft claims are denied. The insurance company plays the percentages here. Most of these denials are not contested, not because the insured had anything to do with the theft. The insured can commonly find it very difficult and expensive to retain an attorney.

Very few attorneys nation wide have little competence in fighting thee denials. Some when reviewing the denial letter stating that forensics was applied to the vehicle, may find that the potential client appears to be guilty as charged. In these scenarios, the insured is trying to suppport a negative and will have to convince the attorney they are absolutely innocent, and sometimes that falls on deaf ears! It can be extremely frusterating to retain an attorney in these matters.

I have heard of attorneys wanting to charge $10,000 and up just to take these cases. In these situations, I recommend to keep looking and don’t give up. The insured should be looking for a contingency arrangement. This means that the insured pays nothing unless they prevail. The attorney will get a certain percentage of monies when the insured prevails. These attorneys are out there. Onee just needs to spend the effort!

Since everyone assumes that opposing that insurance independent forensic expert is going to be a difficult task. You know you are not guilty, but the case they have built against you, there is no way to fight it. These people just go away, without realizing their credibility and reputation have been successfully attacked and recorded at ISO (Insurance Service Office), which is an exclusive database to all carriers. Your name is listed forever as committing fraud! You cannot get your name removed, even if you win a case! We have ways to protect the client in these instances. Lawyers know the law. I know auto theft claims protocol like no other!

These denials are built on a house of cards. I remove the forensic card, and the house comes crashing down! If innocent, one should never give up! Lets say your claim was valued at $15k. That is $15k the insurance compan did not pay out. Multiply this times 50 states and Canada, each and every work day.  Auto theft claim denial is a perfect science!

A vast majority of the forensic experts in the auto theft field in my opinion are frauds and cannot support a conclusion with any certainty! We take no prisoners and have no mercy on these forensic experts! We are hated and feared when we oppose them!

The extremely common conclusion by these so-called forensic experts is that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. Amatures like the defense attoneys acually believe science was applied to render such a conclusion and that the insured’s key was last used to drive the vehicle.

If we were really dealing with forensics, we would not have the ambiguous conclusion that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. We would see a determination if the last key used was the insured’s every day use key, or less used second key was the last key used. Key of the proper type can be anything! It can be the insured’s key, the thief’s key and many variations! In my view, auto theft claims investigations are truly a scam to be used against insureds!

Insurance fraud is quite common, but unfortunately, innocent insureds get painted with the same brush!

In court, as experts we swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet these forensic experts tell half truths all the time. Do they get caught? Absolutely, when we are retained as experts opposing the insurance company. The caveat though is that if they don’t have the correct defense team, they won’t prevail!

We certainly do have insurance fraud in these denials, however the fraud may not fall on the insured!

My CV (resume) is on this site for recview. Compare it to the so-called forensic expert’s background represent ing the carrier. My backgrounfd, training and experience is all real!

My opposition has gone to great lengths to destroy me and put me out of business, with no success! I even had a court case in which I was opposing the same expert on the same subjects for previous years and he was always on the losing side! Yet, in Dane v Geico, Las Vegas in 2011, I even ran into a very frustrating situation! The presiding judge told about 40 lies about my background training and experience in auto theft! She disqualified me from the case and I never had the opportunity to face my accuser! She did demstrate her utter incompetence though. She had stated I was never recognized as an expert in auto theft and forensics. It might have been a good idea at the time to check the nation wide database for vendors for Geico at the time. I was listed as and auto theft and forensic expert!–Duh!!! I was disqualified 9 months before I was even deposed on the case! The purpose for a deposition is to find out about my training, background and experience and how it relates to the case at hand!

How could she disqualify me without knowing anything about me? Exactly!

Now, I could have addressed each line of lies from the judge line by line, but I did not have to. 66 days before this state judge disqualified me, I was fully qualified in auto theft and forensics in a New Mexico federal court! Better yet, that case wasn’t just published on Westlaw, but the entire case is found on the Internet!

My experience with judges has always been a positive until this event! That is the only case that I was ever disqualified in, before and after during my career.

Don’t let the insurance company intimidate you! Obviously, there is no way anyone can guaranty that you will win your case. However retaing an attorney and us take your odds of prevailing from 10% to 95%!

Some may look at it as only a $5k case. You can’t look at it this way as some lawyers not familiar with these cases do. Depending on the state, there are punitive damages as well as compensatory damages, which can dramatically effect the value of the claim. Although not the norm, 10 years ago involving a hundred thousand + mileage Toyota which gave the case little value, the clients were awarded $250,000 each, plus $8,000,000 on appeal!

If you are charged criminally and are unfortunate enough to have a public defender, and concerned about how you could possibly afford us, not a problem! Most Public defendors have access to money to pay our fees. We have served as vendors for the counties and states commonly. The state or county picks up our costs. Many are not aware of this!

In the event you are charged with insurance fraud and we prevail, that can be where the real money is! Malicious prosecution!

We train the client attorney to everything they need to do to put on a winning defense in auto theft claim denial cases. About 95% of the court cases on my CV, we prevailed in! That says something!

Please feel free to contact us at: or 1-866-490-1673.


Factory Installed Vehicle Electronic Anti-Theft Systems- Ineffective!

As consumers it is my opinion we have been defrauded. All of us, whoever has bought a vehicle with an anti-theft system installed in the vehicle from the factory. They are not effective in most cases!

We have been told as to how sophisticated electronic security is. It was a big lie! These systems offer little to no protection against a professional thief! However, with the vehicle being protected as such, we fall prey to overzealous insurance investigators in an effort to deny a theft claim. Why? Because many are taught these vehicles are “unstealable.” Some are more difficult than others, but many currently employed from diferent popular makes and models are anything but secure!

Dealers will tell you how secure their system is, but they have a vested interest in selling or servicing the vehicle. When not using a so-called certified forensic locksmith for answers, insurance companes and engineers do like the average person and go to the dealers for information about their anti theft system and or components. The truth of the matter is dealers may represent the manufacturer for the vehicle in question, but they can only give you answers that the manufacturers supply.

Case in point: The Los Angeles case Greines v Ford. The expert engineer designed the Securilock (PATS) with emphasis on preventing hot wiring, even though tha method of theft was no longer applied after 1968 when locking steering columns were employed. The forced rotation of the ignition lock, and breaking the ignition out of the housing was considered. When totally designed, the engineer had enough confidence to state if the vehicle was equipped with the transponder anti theft system, it was virtually impossible to steal the vehicle.

Of course he did not figure on a mere mechanic that repaired theft recovered vehicles for 20 years, who did not have the academic degrees he held was capable of making him look totally stupid! Manufacturers try to keep technicians dumbed down and do not tell them about any potentential issues, if even the engineers are even aware of them. In this case, I studied the Ford wiring schematic from a Ford service manual for the vehicle in question. I spotted a potential issue with a relay for the transponder under the hood. Ford was so caring, that the circuit could not be back fed and burn up anything by insalling a diode which allowed electricity to flow one way.  Since the system was controlled with a standard Bosche relay, I knew I could circumvent the system by crossing terminal #30 and terminal# 87. In essence “Hot wiring” the system. I tried my theory out on three vehicles at a junk yard. It worked. I wet to LA and did the same on the client’s attorney supplied vehicle. It also worked. I supplied to three peers in different locations across the US. My bypass worked on every Ford built vehicle tested! I wasn’t an expert on Securilock. I was an expert at defeating that generation of Securilock! I am a true expert in auto theft and just apply my skills for court.

Yet, my bypass method was never addressed as a diagnostic issue in the manual and I found it srange that it wasn’t. Not the bypass, but the issues associated with the relay and subsequent wiring.

The auto makers are giving the consumer a false sense of security and in my opinion these vehicles equipped with electronic security are extremely easy to steal by anyone that has access to the Internet!

Look at the fools at Chrysler–Two teenage kids just playing around, not really realizing the crime implications, hacked into the entertainment systems cause 1.4 million Chryslers to be recalled. It wasn’t just Chrysler, GM also had issues with their wifi. Remember the saying that locks were meant for honest people? Well, that saying applies to electronic security too!

The insurance company employs vendors that may call themselves forensic locksmiths, engineers, forensic mechanics whatever. Most are not up to date with common methods of theft.

The edge that these so-called experts have had is that most are fortunate enough not to oppose our team. In order to steal many of these vehicles does not require a sophisticated amount of electronic knowledge and the only knowledge required is to where to get the equipment to circumvent the security of these so called anti-theft systems.

It has been my disappointment that the experts I have opposed that had inferred the insured’s key was the last one used, as to just how little they know about the subject. Or in the case of going against an active locksmith that serves insurance companies the dishonesty he applies to favor his client!

The Process of Investigation

Once the insured submits a recorded statement, the claims rep will refer to the (Special Investigations Unit). The SIU will assign the vehicle to be examined by one of the experts referred to previously on the vendor list. Since many don’t have a clue as to how these vehicles can be stolen, they rely on the factory theory of the description and operation of the transponder as found in a service manual. Other experts rely on information supplied by the dealer. The problem is that the dealer is merely a middle man for keys and locks, because the conventional key as we know it is made by a sub contactor and so are the locks. The manufacturer of Ford, Chrysler and GM did not make key and locks!

Then we have the elaborate electronic key fobik like in Chrysler products that appear to be highly sophisticated that plug into a socket in the dash for the ignition.

We also have push button start with a perimeter sensing for that is located in your pocket or purse. The door automatically unlocks when you come up to the vehicle with the fob. You press a button and the engine starts.

Bottom line, these experts are examining reported stolen vehicles, implicating the insured was involved, because they have no clue as to the ease of stealing one of these vehicles. The expert will state based on “a reasonable degree of scientific certainty ” the vehicle was last operated with a properly programmed key.

The question then, is how did they arrive to this conclusion which launches a full-scale investigation on the insured for fraud!

When it is stated that the conclusions were based on scientific certainty, what science are they referring to? Did they consider the common methods of theft? Well, if one does not know those methods, they are hard to rule out!

I am going to list some examples, yet it applies across the field. Many of these experts do not even have key programming machines or a laptop with the correct software like many locksmiths do. In other words, assumption and innuendo is replacing fact. Speculation from the expert is treated as fact. It boils down to the expert being incompetent and his professional opinion has no basis, and he is just supplying his own opinion with no basis.

2008 Ford Flex—expert has determined it was last driven with insured’s keys. He lists that the dealer can get the key cut code from a VIN and cut a key. He also states only a dealer can electronically program a key with a 10-minute delay before another key can be made. The problem: All this equipment is available on the Internet for anyone. It is stated this equipment is very expensive denoting a thief would never purchase it.

Here is real life! A thief would probably steal this equipment, but expensive is all relative. If you could buy a key programmer as a thief for under $500 and it not only would make keys for the Ford Flex, but a variety of makes and models, that would be an extremely good deal!

The same goes for cloning a key. Keys can be duplicated electronically in seconds! About that 10-minute time delay behind making a duplicate electronic key on a Ford, the Flex and other Ford models can have that delay bypassed and it only takes a minute to generate a key!


Chrysler Products with their key fobik that takes the place of an ignition key. The time it takes to reprogram a new key fobik is less than a minute and the vehicle is down the road! The skim Module can also be swapped out with some other components quickly! So that $50K you just spent for that new Dodge pickup basically has nothing to protect it!

BMWs-This highly sophisticated EWS system, I have made my own working key for in about 2 minutes!


What is the problem here? The reliance on electronics to protect our vehicles from theft. Computers are obsolete in 6 months, and that period is tightening to 3 months. Yet, the manufacturer relies on electronics from 20 years ago. If you have a GM PKIII, that system first entered the market in 1997 on the Buick Road master and Cadillac Catera. Very few major changes since! One does not even need a key programmer to generate an electronic key on that system!

It takes roughly 3 years from the drawing board to sale of the vehicle. In other words, no matter how secure the system was, when sold new it is obsolete!

In 1997 the manufacturers went to rolling codes for their remote key fobs to lock and unlock doors, 3 years after the aftermarket had that technology. Now, these vehicles are commonly unlocked by a thief and the cops are stumped! They were led to believe this was impossible. In 1997, it was, but we are in an electronic world and the expert needs to know everything possible before rendering an opinion that will make him look foolish in court as it happens to the opposition so often with my intervention!

This is why I am hated in the industry! Experts take it personally when I illustrate they have no idea as to what they are talking about!

I bypassed a 2011 Ford F 150 in a criminal case in Arizona. The expert saw my video and was asked, what about that? Is that possible? His answer was pitiful. “I never saw that before!”

OK, because the prosecutor and expert are incomptent idiots as well as the USAA investigator that interviewed the insured/defendant, why is it that the person has to go through being demoralized in being charged, having to come up with fees to pay for and attorney and an expert to defend him, as well as turning his life upside down?

Had he not had me on his team, the DA would have gotten a conviction!

There are ways in the after market of reading the cuts in a door lock to make a key. A good locksmith can make a standard key just by looking at the photo of the key as can a thief!

There are so many things we address that the insurance experts don’t know or are too dishonest to address them!

Insurance companies, it time you start paying attention to your experts reports in these matters. If you question something, you can always contact us at 1-866-490-1673.

We actively serve insurance companies, plaintiffs, criminal defense throughout the US.

Insurance defense attorneys aren’t going to be able to open with the statement that the vehicle is unstealable, because that argument will be destroyed!


© Copyright 2017. Rob Painter All rights reserved

Announcing the Opening of a Chicago Office For Insurance Investigators!

We have exciting news for insurance investigators in the Chicago market!!!
We serviced Chicago from 1992-2009 for the SIUs in the examination of reported stolen vehicles. At that time, relocated to Dallas.
Our Major competition I was told will no longer be doing this work in the Chicago area.
We are opening an office in Chicago. We already have highly trained people and we will be there to take up the slack!
Our strategic advantage is that we have worked for both sides of the issue with huge success!
All we are looking for is the truth. We don’t care who the conclusion favors.
One year a while back while defending a client nsurance company, the plaitiff attorney thought he was going to paint me as an insurance advocate. It must have sucked to be him in an area he thought he had me in because it was so common fo insurance experts to defend client insurance companies.
Going after my credibility the question was, what is the percentage of defense clients you take into comparison to insureds/plaintiff cases?
My answer was quick and concise–95% plaintiff clients!
That was going to be his main issue he was going to ellaborate on, and with that percentage of plaintiff/defendant cases that year, proved I was not just a rubber stamp for insurance companies.
Being that the courts look at me as unbiased, I have been court appointed as a umpire in the settlement of claims.
Our company does not use ambiguous language in our reports and our methodology is standardized.
My court record- For the last 25 years and the examination of thusands and thousands of vehicles, my reports have only been questioned in court 3 times. 2 went in our favor. The third, the jury did not care about forensics and got emotional feeling sorry for the insured that was making payments on 2 repos.
No one in my fields of auto theft fraud and forensics has a record
even close to mine! In fact, insurance Certified Forensic Locksmiths are in court all the time defending their reports unsuccessfully across the country!
I have plenty of court time, but it is not to defend my reports.
Until I saw there was no benefit in it any longer, I was the most credentialed in my field! Areas I was competent to testify in with my background of restoring theft recoveries to pre-damaged condition for 20 years, left me with extreme experience in locks, transponders,electronic security, air bags, driveline, interior components, transponder bypass, fire debris analysis, ignition analysis, forced entry and surreptitious methods of break in.
My experience in locks and keys is superior to any certified forensic locksmith! I have been in the lock/key manufacturing company in Milwaukee, in which I learned every operation it took to make a key and lock componentds from raw stock. I am not aware of anyone in my field that has such knowledge! I have also been qualified to testify on the origin and cause of vehicle fires.
In San Fransisco, I was the lead forensic examiner in a homicide involving a reported stolen vehicle that was used in a driveby shooting and then burned!
My people have been trained from my experience along with their own germane background!
We anticipate being available for assignments in Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit Sept 1, 2017!
One other advantage-we know the insurance investigation process on auto theft claims and have training available to keep you out of court!
Thank You,
Rob Painter
President-Auto Theft Claims Master

SIU Investigation, EUO (Sworn Testimony)

Insurance fraud is a major problem and it is no different in auto theft claims. There are as many financial motivations as there are reported thefts. The problem though is these claims are not based on their own merits, and it is far easier to target all insured’s with the same brush.

The insurance fraud investigation that the investigator is doing applies an element of fraud in the investigation that gives the company a great advantage over the insured. In my view, insurance companies have basardized the facts with assumption and speculation perceived to be fact.

Also known as preponderance of the evidence!

In order for the auto theft investigation to proceed the investigator needs an expet to determine as to how the reported stolen vehicle was last driven.

The investigator goes to the company’s vendor list and hire a Certified Forensic Locksmith. Does this mean he is licensed by any state entity as an expert in auto theft or forensic locksmithing? No! It only means that he paid to be a member of an association and that he took a test, which then awarded him a certificate. In the case of CFL however, the certificate should come into question because the certifying entity the IAIL (International Association of Investigative Locksmiths) no longer exists and it hasn’t for

What purportedly seperates the experience from a forensic locksmith over that of an ordinary locksmith?

A CFL by description has the ability to apply his knowledge as that of a locksmith to disassemble an ignition lock, examine the components under a microscope and compare identifiable tool marks from the supplied keys to the tumblers. He has the ability to memorialize his findings by photos taken from the microscope which are included in a report for his client the insurance investigator. He alledgedly attempts to eliminate hypothese related to a thief driving the vehicle as compared to the insured that has a key for the vehicle.

Other duties are to be called to do depositions and to testify in court.

For those not aware if you have an auto theft claim, the insurance company has rigged the game against you!

I was a contributor for the in the 90s. This article that I contributed to was introduced about 1999 and still holds true and the insured would be well off reviewing it.

This is truly a scientific process that has been played hundreds of thousands of times throughout the US and Canada. It is a game for the insured known as “You Can’t Win!”

The investigation questions have been sanitized and sanitized again. So much so, it is almost robotic for the claims handler and the investigator. Yet, how many times has the insured been under a special Investigation on his/hers reported stolen vehicle? Once?

It is extremely common from my over 20 years of experience to hear the standard answer from an attorney that took one of these cases. I would ask as to how many auto theft claim denial cases have they handled. The usual answer is “This is my first one.”

OK, lets look at the odds here. You as the inured have never been through an investigation with the carriers ultimate denial. The attorney has his/hers first case of this type. You are up against a process that has been used hundreds of thousands of times throughout all carriers across the US and Canada. What is your teams odds at prevailing?

How many of these claims have I been involved for the insurance companies and against the insurance companies? Thousands!

What do I know about the auto theft investigation process? Please keep in mind, I am learning everyday, but I am highly profficient in the investigation process, including the questions asked of the insured and the correct way to answer them, not the way the average insured would attemp to. After all, they are innocent and have nothing to hide. Actually, the investigator really appreciates this attitude, because it assists them in building their case of denial.

Now, I am not a lawyer and I never give legal advice, however I share my experiences from these investigations and the one thing the insured is not told in a civil situation such as this, where it is required known as Miranda rights when being charged criminally. That is everthing you say will be used against you!

Let’s say that when you give your recorded statement, the estimate that the vehicle was found missing was about 7 pm. You state that in your recorded statement. Over the week you were talking t some friends and you realize that you didn’t notice the vehicle missing at 7 pm because you were with them until 9 pm. You contact the insurance company to correct the record. No big deal right? To the insurance company, you have just lied to them! It’s very difficult to change any statement, because no matter what you are told that they want to pay the claim, blah, blah, blah, it’s a lie, because the investigator’s work performance is graded on how many investigations they do, and better yet, how much money they saved their employer by denying a claim!

So, from the very begining, the insured is looked at as dishonest. Now, what would make me say that? Investigators are commonly indoctrinated that all theft claims are bogus. Some are fraudulent, while others are not, but the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is mainly comprised of ex-cops that believe no one! THe vehicle reported stolen is equipped with an anti-theft transponder system making the vehicle unstealable. Since deemed unstealable, the theft claim by default now enters into a fraud investigation.

The burden of proof is on the carrier, but not the reasonable doubt threshold or clear and convincing threshold. In civil cases they are required to meet the very flimsy threshold of preponderance. This means that inuendo and assumption are used to make it appear as though the insured submitted a fraudulent claim. It does not mean they have to prove it was a fraudulent claim.

Motive: Many insureds will ask themselves or the attorney in which you are suing the insurance company, where is the motive?

The motive is based on the wild imagination of the investigator. Remember that credit card or car payment 6 months ago there was a dispute as to whether it was paid on time or not? Well, there is your motive! You needed the cash the insurance company was going to give you for your totalled vehicle!

The only problem (unimportant detail for court) that you the insured was not going to be the benificiary, the lien holder was! It sounds better with the insurance defense attorney telling the jury the insured would get the cash for the vehicle, because this plays into their motive!

Possibly, when you were purchasing your vehicle, the finance department at the dealer stated that you needed to get gap coverage for an extra charge. Most insureds when buying a vehicle, especially when new are so excited to get it, they barely pay attention to what the finance manager is hitting them for. Just so you are aware, in California some finance mangers make up to $60-$70,000 PER MONTH! They are the ones that will sell you “spiffs” like extended warranties, after market accessories, and gap insurance.

Gap insurance is very common because the dealers rip people off on their trades when the current vehicle they owe more than the vehicle is worth. The gap covers the difference between the actual cash value of the vehicle and what is owed on the vehicle. Gap insurance to an investigator is a red flag, because it is figured the insured did not want the vehicle anymore and can walk away from the debt free and clear.

Other red flags are if the vehicle is only missing for a short period of time, recovered in close proximity of the theft scene or recovered burned, these are huge red flags.

If no broken glass is found at the scene, the insured must be lying about the theft if it was lacked as the insured stated. I love using this analogy- A locksmith has to get into the locked vehicle quickly. How many times do you think a locksmith throws a brick through the glass to enter a locked vehicle?

What the investigator is doing is taking a negative view on the theft claim. Where insureds get into real trouble is trying to defend themselves, and no a lawyer cannot protect you. This is not a trial and the lawyer has no standing. Besides, insurance companies are not intimidated by lawyers, because they have their lawyers dealing with insureds lawyers every day!

The insured is in a hole and they keep digging, commonly they think they can get the claim to settle. If that were true, you wouldn’t be under investigation. So often, the insured and sometimes their attorney screw these investigations up so bad, no one can help them!

I consult the insured through the claim including when they are required to give sworn testimony. We have hundreds of hours of sworn testimony up against some of the most ruthless and unprofessional lawyers out there. We have survived, but we also learned a lot, with no one but ourselves learning.

Over 90% of the claims that were scheduled for denial, we got paid!


We will be adding to this page, so stop by frequently.

Forensic Locksmithing-The Big Lie!

Posted by Rob


Stolen Vehicle Claim Denied? The Forensic Locksmith Key of the Proper Type the BIG Lie!



Blatant ignorance fuels the Forensic locksmithing profession by design. The less you know and the more assumptions you use thinking the Forensic Locksmith knows about car theft, the more disadvantaged you are at falling for this scam that has permeated throughout our court system for years with lies and half-truths.

Key of the proper type being last used is a catchall that no forensic science is required to solve. The unknowing believe because the Certified Forensic Locksmith makes this claim, the last key used was the insured’s in the reported stolen vehicle. This conclusion means they have no clue and they know the jury and the opposing attorney will assume these three little words mean the expert through experience training and background had determined the insured’s key was last used it the ignition.

What is the error rate in using the conclusion key of the proper type? 0 or 100% if the ignition lock cylinder is not damaged, key of the proper type fits. Was it the insured’s key? Maybe. Was it a thief’s key? Maybe. Was it a newly cut key? Maybe. The conclusion fits all scenarios, but what it does not do is specify the exact key last used. To infer the key(s) tested were the last key used to drive the reported stolen, and insinuating the insured’s key was last used to link them to the theft is junk science!

The only way with 100% certainty one can state the last key used, is that it has to be found in the ignition lock at the time of the exam!

OK, what about tool mark determination? Marks caused from picking, newly cut keys. These marks are subjective. There is assumption portrayed as fact that the use of a newly cut key will leave marks in the ignition lock. The assumption is that rough edges will be a newly cut key. If the locksmith or thief does not want binding, they are going to smooth out those rough edges.



Is a Certified Forensic Locksmith Really Qualified Under Federal Rules of Daubert When it Comes to Rendering a Conclusion About the Last Key Used In the Ignition?


For close to 20 years the Certified Forensic Locksmith (CFL) has been qualified to render an ambiguous general conclusion that the reported stolen vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. To the courts, this conclusion commonly went without question with the assumption that key of the proper type was the insured’s. Over the years, thousands of these claims report conclusions by the CFL went undisputed when a plaintiff attorney or criminal defense attorney did not have an expert to refute these outlandish conclusions!

The first problem:

  • It is assumed that the expert with the CFL title used a standardized examination protocol of the ignition or vehicle to arrive to this so called “Scientific” conclusion that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. In reality, this conclusion is a one size fits all generic conclusion, which means there was no internal damage to the ignition lock cylinder. This conclusion does not require someone with any technical training to reach. This only means the examiner had stuck a key in the ignition lock and rotated it to the ON position. Something that just about anyone over the age of 10 knows how to do that ever rode in a vehicle, watching the driver perform to start the engine! Or, if the CFL didn’t have keys for the ignition lock at the time of the exam, would peer into the keyway with a lighted and magnified scope and observe no damage to the inside of the ignition lock cylinder. This too, does not require great technical expertise and anyone trained what to look for in about 10 minutes would know how to discern damaged from non-damaged! Yet, because the CFL advertises that he is a forensic scientist, he can testify that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type!
  • The problem is that these experts meet the Daubert standard because of ignorance> No, I am not calling judges stupid. I am just saying that they can’t be knowledgeable on every subject and there is simply no enough time for the court to realize that they are being played.

In a Vior Dire, the expert is questioned on how long he has been a locksmith. Since he has been a locksmith for over a decade or longer, he is qualified by the court as a very experienced locksmith. When questioned about his training and experience as a certified forensic locksmith, he will revert to stating he had taken investigation locksmith course and that he took a test to become a certified forensic locksmith. The problem with this is that this does not give the CFL the experience needed in auto theft, yet the judge will qualify him on being able to tell the difference from a legitimate theft and an owner give up. All by examining the ignition!


Examination Standards

  • There are some throughout the country that use very questionable examination techniques, and there are those that use a pre-prepared report in which all they need to do is change the personal information and the type of vehicle and their report with its pre-determined conclusion is ready to go in minutes!

The questionable, common sense can be applied. One would think standards are applied in every examination. If you are removing the ignition on one vehicle, disassembling it to perform a microscopic examination internal components, it would be assumed that the next vehicle and the next vehicle are handled the same way. If one vehicle is subject to an electronic interrogation of the vehicle’s computer system to determine how many transponder keys are programmed for the vehicle, it would be assumed that each examination requires this.

If the key depths are determined, then one would think that all vehicles are subject to the key examination.

Here is the issue—In forensics, it is required that all true science to be applied is that the exam be performed so that it can be replicated by any other forensic examiner in the field of auto theft and forensics. Currently, because there is no scientific methodology employed on each vehicle, the process used by the CFL is not scientific. This is why they use the generic conclusion of key of the proper type. If this was truly scientific as in once was, a specific key being last used in the ignition would be stated. Was it determined if the vehicle was driven last with the first key, the insured’s second key, a thief’s key? These forensic examiners clearly don’t know and key of the proper type fits in every claim in which the ignition lock was not damaged internally.

If the ignition lock is damaged, it is easy to say that the vehicle was not successfully compromised. Now think about it, a professional thief is experienced, but without catching him, the unfounded motives cannot be stated as fact as they currently are. Motives like a thief would not burn a vehicle, because the valuable parts are not removed and that would be like burning money to a thief! The very first thought that comes to me on this story, is what if something went wrong in the thief’s plans? Burn the vehicle to conceal DNA and finger prints is a good real life answer to that!

The vehicle may have been parked in a gang infested area to cool off because the thief suspected the vehicle had a tracking system like Lojack installed. This is commonly done and the thief waits 24 hours or so to pick up the car since cops didn’t find it. It is very common for gang initiation to set cars on fire. Instead, assumed fact is used to say the insureds was responsible for the burn in order to total the vehicle and get an insurance check to pay for the vehicle.

Then we need to consider what fire background does the forensic locksmith have. The ignition lock components are commonly transformed and is in no condition for a forensic locksmith to render a conclusion on the last key used unless he reverts to stating the last key used was a key of the proper type. While this statement may be true, it does not specify the exact key last used. It is assumed as a fact, that the last key used was the insured’s, yet it is not proven scientifically if the last key used was the insured’s first key, second key, or a thief’s key! Key of the proper type is not a scientific conclusion. It is merely a general statement used to accuse the insured of being the last person to drive the vehicle. In essence, what we have here is people titling themselves as “Forensic” that apply no replicatable scientific methods to reach these conclusions! Because the courts are ignorant on these matters including the attorneys, these guys have gotten away with their unfounded conclusions due to this ignorance! I am very successful in refuting the misrepresentation by these forensic locksmiths nationwide.

I show that these forensic locksmiths should be questioned with a high degree of scrutiny because most times they supply a generic conclusion that required no scientific methodology. The CFL holds himself above other, yet a regular locksmith could make the conclusion that a reported stolen vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. How can that be? The ignition lock is not broken, tampered with and the key rotates the ignition lock.

We will put this in an analogy that even attorneys can understand. The expert is an active locksmith as well as making determinations on reported stolen vehicles for the insurance companies. The CFL is dispatched to a lock out. The owner has lost their keys. The CFL arrives at the vehicle and has opened the locked car in less than a minute, doing no damage to the door lock, the weather stripping around the door or he will be sued for doing such damage. Yet as a CFL when examining a reported stolen, he concludes there is no signs of forced entry, causing question to the insured’s statement the vehicle was stolen. The CFL generates a new ignition key and depending on the vehicle and the programmer used, the CFL can generate a new transponder key in 12 minutes and a Ford in 10 minutes, just as an example. The new key is tried and it starts the engine. What is the name of the key the locksmith just made? It would be known as the key of the PROPER TYPE!

Is that the owner’s key? No, that key was lost! There is also assumptive reasoning when it comes to tool marks on new keys and what they do to the ignition lock. It is said that the recent use of a newly cut key can be ruled out because it would leave marks in the tumblers (wafers that don’t tumble in most automotive locks). This conclusion is not scientist but speculative. A good locksmith will remove all the burrs from a new key (Known as Buffing) before inserting the key into the ignition, so such marks from the use of a newly cut key may even be there!


Last Key Used

This again is all hyped and the truth of the matter is last key used unless using the generic statement that the ignition was last rotated with a key of the proper type is employed. Last key used is expected from these CFLs to be exacting like the first, second or thief’s key. Since the exact specific last key used can almost never can be determined, and since key of the proper type is not scientific, then why do CFLs get away insinuating the last key used was the insured’s? The highly questionable “Forensic” title that they use. In the court system, it is assumed that all forensics requires college degreed people or at least that they have used scientific methods to reach their conclusions based on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. Even though the CFL states such in their report, where is the scientific certainty in offering a generic conclusion that can fit any circumstance no matter the methodology employed?


Some of these Expert Forensic Locksmiths get even more ludicrous

There is the phenomena of determining the last key used without physical evidence. How can that be a valid scientific conclusion? That accentuates to point as to how bogus key of the proper type is.

A vehicle is reported stolen. It remains unrecovered. The expert never turns down an assignment. He will take the case! His report addresses the type of anti-theft system as to the description and operation theory as taken directly out of the factory service manual. The purpose is to make it appear as to how difficult the vehicle would be to steal. In order to address this, they will describe the expense of key programming equipment as they do in other reports, as if this is required to steal one specific vehicle. What they don’t address is that if a relatively cheap aftermarket programmer is purchased assuming the thief didn’t steal it, in the case of GM, will be able to make keys for all GM vehicles depending on the software. The same holds true for Ford, Chrysler etc. There are programmers that can program keys for multiple makes and models!

In court, the CFL may state it would cost $6,000 to make a key for a specific vehicle, but this is a highly over inflated price and it is already addressed as to how economical it is for a thief with an aftermarket programmer. There is a Chinse version of a programmer that can make transponder keys for Fords, Hondas and many other vehicles available to anyone on the Internet for $125.00!

My machine I bought for BMWs and some Mercedes cost me $350.00 in 2012! I could make my own Smart key for a BMW! Since, the product has gotten even more versatile and easy to use.

The forensic locksmith will go on about the security of the ignition lock in the unrecovered reported stolen vehicle. As to the conclusion on an unrecovered reported stolen vehicle, it just happens to be that it was last driven with a key of the proper type! All this without examining the vehicle for forced entry! The ignition lock cannot be examined by the expert and in some cases, the keys were lost in the mail and could not be examined. The vehicle’s computer cannot be interrogated and the vehicle could not be examined, but the expert knows the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type! These denied claims actually go to court!

Here is a very germane question then: If the forensic locksmith expert has the ability to determine as to how an unrecovered stolen vehicle was last driven, then why bother performing physical examinations on locks and keys? Why bother if the predetermined canned answer of the key of the proper type being last used?

Is it only for the purpose of having some reports filled with photos for occasional credibility?

The forensic locksmith knows that the jury will take his testimony like gold, because after all, his title is “Forensic.”

More Nonsense From Different CFLs

Since the courts hold these experts in such high regard, it is assumed that proven scientific methods are employed. Let’s take the recent criminal case on the East coast.

The CFL, describes the key cuts and match them to the factory specifications for the vehicle. He examines the keys, noting that one is missing. He states in the report he has one primary, and one valet key, meaning the second primary key is unaccounted for. He states that the vehicle can have up to 5 keys programmed for it. He goes to extensive length to examine the keys at 10 and 30x magnifications for tool marks consistent with key duplication efforts. The conclusion to his report is that the vehicle was last driven with a key of the proper type. OK, but here is a major problem and illustrates the fraud that key of the proper type is: The premise for the CFL is to examine the keys and compare to the ignition lock cylinder for identifiable tool marks. After all, the key mates with the ignition lock for the vehicle. No one can question that. Yet, when the other half of this examination duo went to the vehicle, here is your super forensic examination of the ignition lock. He inserted the key into the ignition lock and rotated it. He never removed the ignition lock to perform a microscopic examination on it. The transponder system could no be interrogated due to fire damage. The factory security system could not be checked! Yet, this half shod forensic examination was used in a criminal case to accuse the insured of fraud!

© Copyright 2017 Rob Painter. All Rights Reserved.

Refuting Forensic Locksmiths on Stolen Vehicles

This Article is About Refuting Forensic Locksmiths on Stolen Vehicles.


They say I stole my own car and denied my auto theft claim.

Ins expert claims my key was last used to steal my car.

Commonly these experts Use hyperbole, guesswork, innuendo and masquerade it all as fact. Afterall, since no one understands the process of forensic locksmithing, as well as not knowing auto theft methodology, it’s a cake walk to tell the jury and lawyers anything they want without being challenged!  We change all of that!

Posted by Rob


Now, don’t be confused and believe this is sour grapes against competiors! These are no competitors and merely opposing experts. There is a very big difference there!

These auto theft claim denials are a house of cards built around the forensic locksmith. Once I remove the forensic card, the house of denial comes crashing down!

The problem with attorneys is that they see the term forensic applied to locksmith, they assume they are dealing with highly trained professionals. The insurance companies want opposing attorneys to believe that. It is simply not true!

I don’t know how many remember Ted Mack and the amature hour on TV? Every case I challenge them, the carrier should realize what a liability they are!

It may sound like I am pounding my chest and bragging. Not true–my 20 year court record supports I am that good and they are that bad!

I am an expert witness in auto theft & forensic locksmithing. I also am an expert in Vehicle fire origin and cause. I have qualified as an expert in 23 states, federal court numerous times in both criminal and civil arenas.

This information is for attorneys across the nation opposing these experts.

Denied Stolen Vehicle Claims or Insurance Fraud Cases–1-866-490-1673

It is very common to see auto theft claims denied and they are based around the forensic locksmith’s conclusion inferring the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s key. I am an expert in tihs area. I am also an expert in the insurance investigation process either denying these claims or used by the prosecution (as probable cause) with over 20 years experience.

As an expert in forensic locksmithing and auto theft. Currently looking for cases in the DC, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Florida  in which Robert Mangine’s company North American  Automotive Forensic Consultants serving as Expert Witness Service for insurance companies and the prosecution.


I am not only an expert on the processes of forensics in these cases, being a long time instructor on the subject. I am also an expert on forensic locksmith companies having many of their reports for comparison illustrating that different methodologies are applied, yet the conclusion is exactly the same! This is not scientifically plausible, unless the conclusion is just a generic one size fits all, which then could be argued as misdirection and deflection.

  1. I have been extremely effective refuting these firms!

Ohio and Midwest A-1 Forensic

Mark Ames of A-1 Forensics Based in Toledo, Ohio.

Serves Ohio and Midwest as a Forensic Locksmith with Ryan Ames.

Plaintiff and Criminal Defense Attorneys, if you are opposing these guys, you need me!

They serve Erie, Progressive, American Family, Grange and many other insurance carriers.

My trial prevailing side score against Mark Ames is about 10 for 10. Tactical advantage-I have been the instructor of Forensic Locksmithing for close to 20 years. I have commonly written on it. Designed a 1,350+ slide training program vetted by the FBI and the US Army Crime Lab in Georgia. Not only do I know the subject far better, but I have reviewed over 100 of A-1 Forensics reports and designed a spreadsheet for examination standards that there has been no effort by this firm to follow. In other words, an ignition lock may be removed, disassembled and examined on one vehicle. Yet, the next 5 there is no attempt to apply this process. On a transponder vehicle, the transponder system may be electronically interrogated. The next 10 aren’t. There is no rhyme or reason and one then needs wonder as to how conclusions are the same from vehicle to vehicle! That is unless there is in fact no scientific methodology employed and the forensics before the court is just a big scam!

This firm examines reported stolen vehicles that are recovered burned, but to my knowledge neither Mark or Ryan have ever had a fire and explosion certification or a vehicle fire investigation certificate. They are locksmiths and Forensic Locksmiths.

I can successfully refute them with my  background in auto theft and forensic locksmithing! I base that statement on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty!

Of course their conclusions are based on a reasonable degree of locksmithing certainty, whatever that is!

Another interesting phenomena about this firm, is they don’t even need a vehicle to determine how it was last driven! Not recovered-they must use the physic friends network for their conclusions! Yes, they actually supply conclusions without the use of physical evidence!


VMAR an engineering firm out of Phoenix that services California. Incompentent!

Garret Engineering out of Los Angeles has some incompetent Forensic Locksmiths.

There is a company in California operating as North American West. The Forensic Expert is Chad Tredway.

He examines vehicles that have been reported stolen and applies his magical forensic process to the igntion. When he bought the company from Robert Mangine years ago, also included was the cookie cutter reports he uses. These are premade reports in which, only the specific detals have to be changed! This expert has never been a locksmith, nor has he been an auto tech, and has never been involved in the repair of theft recovered vehicles. Yet! He determines as to how a reported stolen vehicle was last driven without the use of science!



George Plackey of PDQ Forensics is another forensic locksmith, with no fire certifications that examines reported stolen, recovered burned vehicles. He has since left the business, but denials because of his reporting are rampent. Call us!

He also examines recovered thefts and offers reports inferring insured involvement.

He claims he can determine tool marks because he has been a locksmith for over 20 years. He covers the Chicago Metro area almost exclusively for all insurance companies. My Chicago guy can refute him rather well!


Another forensic locksmith that examines reported stolen vehicles for insurance companies for the purpose of inferring the vehicle was last driven with the insured’s key.

The last case I had against him was a total burned Toyota. He staed he could not determine anything with the steering column because of the fire damage. He claimed he did not recver the ignition.

He then stated that the vehicle couldn’t have been driven without the insureds key, because it was equipped from the factory with an anti theft transponder system.

He had no evidence to opine on. He was not aware my client had a after market remote start installed before the theft, there by any reference about the factory transponder was moot, because it was bypassed for the remote start.

This would have been a good lesson for S.D. Lyons that when all evidence is destroyed by fire to render the findings inconclusive.

However, for more than a decade, the insurance companies have used unvetted (No check to see if their conclusions are scientifically valid) independent forensic locksmiths as a straw man. The investigator can and does say “We had the ignition examined by an independent forensic locksmith” who in essence, to keep assignments rolling in, is going to write a report favoring their client, not the insured.

People lose their jobs and licenses because of these questionable accusations! The investigator looks good though, because when they are done they have dreamed up the financial motivation needed to deny the claim!

Some insurance companies pay the SIU (Special Investigation Unit) bonuses at the end of the year. Say the insurance company did not have to pay $30 million in claims that year. The SIU Department might get a bonus check for $10,000. Sometimes that is divided up by the investigators. I am not saying this practice is common, but I am not saying that it isn’t. I don’t know. I can say I have been involved in cases that did occur!

These auto theft fraud cases  are built around the forensic report from the investigator’s hand picked expert! Then a case of financial motivation is manufactured wth the investigators imagination, and the claim is denied accusing the insured of misrepresentation.

Yes, fraud is a very serious problem, but I have demonstrated that all misrepresentation is not always from the insured.