Chris Cavallo Managing Partner CSI-Secure Solutions
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Chris. Your background and experience, for more than forty years, with Pinkerton’s and Wells Fargo, and with your own private investigations and consulting services firm, is second to none. Before we discuss in detail your specialty and focus in Insurance Fraud and Workers Compensation cases, please tell us more about your impressive background.
Chris Cavallo: I moved from NYC leaving a family business to be with my soon to be wife, Robin, whose father at the time was the Director for the State of Florida Division of Licensing. He convinced me that the best industry in Florida to be involved with was the Security and Investigations industry. Truthfully this was not a big leap from the other family business on my mother side of the family which were several Irish NYC cops. So, my father-in-law said I’m going to get you an introduction to the best companies in the Security/Investigations industry which was Pinkerton’s investigations & Wells Fargo Guard services, and I ended up working for both. I worked for Pinkerton’s investigations conducting background investigations, surveillance operations, and working as an undercover operative. I realized there wasn’t any long-term financial security working at that time as an investigator, so I decided to join the management training program working for Wells Fargo Guard service where I literally started at the lowest position available. I started as a security guard making $2.78 at Fort Lauderdale Airports which was the minimum wage at the time but quickly rose through the ranks in operations as a security consultant and eventually found my niche and became the #1 Security Consultant for 9 years consecutively which had never been done before nor after that I am aware of. After 9 years I left and my wife Robin and I in 1989 opened an Investigations business out of our twin daughter’s bedroom forming RSI Investigations/dba/Records Search Inc., a background investigations company specializing in airlines, technology and retail industries having such clients as Best Buy, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sun Microsystems, Intel, and IBM to name a few. Our biggest success was building the largest network of couriers, agents, and investigators over the USA. When we completed this task we had 2600+ subcontractors. 10 years later in 1999 a NY Investment Bank acquired RSI and rolled the company into a billion dollar+ company. We thought we would retire and travel the world but unfortunately a year later my wife Robin passed away which was a devastating blow for our family. I then formed Cavallo & Associates, a consulting company servicing the defense, security and investigations industry having clients and operations in the US, Central America, and Colombia as well as satellite offices in Europe.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com:One will read on your site, “With the on-going growth of insurance fraud claims in the US, the demand for experienced, qualified, and licensed Insurance Fraud Investigators is at an all-time high. Our clients are Anti-Fraud Investigation Units (AFIU), Special Investigation Units (SIU), Claims Adjusters, Risk Managers and Attorneys. CSI Secure Solutions has a team of highly experienced insurance fraud investigators who have helped resolve many cases where people or organizations try to benefit from deceitful claims.” Care to elaborate?
Chris Cavallo: The investigators that we use around the US for insurance fraud cases have either been vetted by me personally or I have used on prior assignments successfully or have been referred to me by other investigators that we have worked with before.
- There are 4.9 million workers compensation claims made each year by both private and government employees
- The typical workers comp claim is around $41,000
- The average cost of a workers compensation claim for sprains is $34,409
- Falls/Slips claims costs averaged $47,681 per claim
- Workers’ compensation costs to employers total $100.2 billion as of 2021
- Workers’ comp claims pay out more than $62 billion each year, $31.8 billion in cash settlements and over $31.3 billion in medical benefits
What are some of the techniques you use in resolving insurance fraud investigations?
Chris Cavallo: Surveillance is our primary service offering especially in workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. We also provide skip tracing services of claimants who have committed insurance fraud and once found we conduct comprehensive background investigations inclusive of in-depth social media Research. Often times with social media we can prove that the claimants we are investigating are exceeding their physical capabilities when they are supposedly injured or unable to have physical competency. We also may research during the discovery process documentation showing that the claimant has prior fraud cases associated with him/her. The attorneys and insurance carriers who retain our services may request that we interview neighbors, colleagues, associates and other employees known to the claimant that can give testimony relative to fraud being committed by the claimant.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: The headlines would have you believe that “employees”, and not “employers” are typically engaged in workers’ compensation fraud. This was quite interesting on your site, “in essence, workers’ compensation fraud can be committed by both workers and employers.” Please tell us more about this.
Chris Cavallo: Although the common cases we receive are for individuals/claimants, there have been times where our client has reports or raised suspicions that the company, not the individual is responsible for some type of fraudulent activity. The following are just three areas which in the past we have uncovered and investigated where the company is at fault, not the employee or individual:
- THE EMPLOYER CAN EITHER FOREGO CARRYING WORKERS COMP COVERAGE OR PURCHASE A POLICY WITH MINIMAL COVERAGE AND
MAY LEAVE THE EMPLOYEE AT RISK AND UNABLE TO PAY FOR MEDICAL BILLS
- FALSIFY RECORDS OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE INSURANCE CARRIER WHEN A CLAIM IS FILED
- GET KICKBACKS FROM MEDICAL PROVIDERS SUCH AS CHIROPRACTORS-ORTHOPEDIC DOCTORS TO EITHER MAKE THE INJURY WORSE THAN IT IS AND KICK BACK TO THE EMPLOYER
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: We understand that your investigation services are available throughout the USA in most states. Please tell us more about your network. Are Canada and Mexico part of the mix?
Chris Cavallo: We have APPROXIMATELY 40+ STATES WHERE WE HAVE RELATIONSHIPS with investigators as well as having agencies that help us in multiple states. We do have assets in Mexico and Canada as well, but we truly are spoiled here in the US when it comes to the flow of information and the ease to retrieve it.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: These testimonials about your services speak volumes about the respect and confidence that your clients have for you Chris and your firm. Care to mention any of your success stories?
Chris Cavallo: We usually work for the insurance defense attorney that represents the large insurance carriers such as:
- State Farm
- NW Mutual
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Beyond the Insurance Fraud and Workers Compensation space, we see that your firm provide investigation services in other areas as well. Please fill us in, Chris.
Hidden Asset Investigations:
This has become one of the most requested services that we offer whether it be here in the United States or outside the country. Most people are not even aware that when they open a bank account and signing a lot of forms they are probably not reading and do not bother to check off the “opt out” box so third parties cannot get any information about their accounts. Less than 4% of people who open a bank account request or check off the opt out clause. Now having said that there are very strict guidelines which we must adhere here to which is the GLBA (Graham-Leach-Bliley Act). Most of these requests are related to domestic investigations and divorce settlements and child custody where one party is wanting more money from the opposing party. The other area where we get these types of requests are usually in corporate investigations such as a CEO checking on his CFO who is being suspected of theft or one partner hiding funds from the other. The examples are too numerous to list. But yes, knowing how to legally navigate through the GLBA is critically important to us and the protection of our clients as well. It’s critically important to understand as well the that these types of investigative services usually cannot be used in a court of law. Theses hidden asset investigations are conducted for discovery purposes, so you and your client know before attorneys start using the power of the subpoena what the opposing side is trying to hide.
Employee-Violation of Non-Compete:
In 2022 we had nine occasions where an employer or business owner retained our services to prove some type of violation of the non-compete agreement that was executed between an employer and employee and/or two partners. Usually there is a geographical formula in most non-compete agreements for example: Let’s say an individual must be able to work even if in the same industry as long as it’s outside a certain geographic area. Not every non-compete agreement is written fairly and usually is even more restrictive than legally allowed. What the courts are looking for is financial damages either because the employee is stealing client lists or is making direct contact with clients under contract. I am by no means an attorney and I have a whole webpage dedicated to this subject, so always consult your attorney on these matters. I also have written multiple articles on.
Most clients are not aware but 90% of our business is outside of Florida in such places as New York, California, Texas, Nevada, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Virginia to name just a few. CSI Secure Solutions has established relationships with seasoned investigators that we have worked with over the years. Not only do we treat them well and pay them expeditiously, but they enjoy the repeat business that we give most of them. Our nationwide surveillance operators have either prior law-enforcement experience or have been surveillance operators for at least 10+ years. Each of our subcontractors is an extension of CSI Secure Solutions. Every client aside from digital film footage also receives a very detailed, well written and professional report in which each investigator understands that their findings on what happened is all detailed in the case file report they have delivered, and each Investigator understands that these reports are oftentimes used for testimonial purposes and at any point in the future the report and the investigator may be subpoenaed for additional testimony while being sworn in and under oath.
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com : We see that you are a member of the Florida, California, and Texas Associations of Private Investigators, Please tell us more about these professional organizations. Any other memberships, Chris, you care to mention?
Chris Cavallo: We are members of…
- Big Three: TALI (Texas), CALI (California), FALI (Florida)
- GAPPI (Georgia)
- ALDONYS (New York)
- ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners)
- Florida Bar
- Workers’ Compensation Institute
- Better Business Bureau South Florida
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: If I can change the subject for a moment Chris, we watched this very moving video: Introduction to The Robin Foundation. We applaud your efforts to turn your heart-breaking personal tragedy into a mission to help and save others. What would you like to say here about this very important work are doing with The Robin Foundation
Chris Cavallo: CSI Is my career; The Robin Foundation is my life and my exit strategy. Yes, we have lost my wife Robin and my daughter Stefanie to the disease of addiction which is not a subject most people want to talk about as there is so much guilt, embarrassment and shame that is associated with losing a loved one due to substance abuse disorder and/or mental health challenges. What people need to understand is that addiction is a brain disease. It does not matter what socio-economical background, race, creed, or religion you come from. Addiction has no favorites and there is no greater feeling than to help someone who is a hostage and suffering from this disease of addiction or alcoholism and guide them through the recovery process. Also, there is no greater gift in life than to change the direction or save someone’s life who is struggling from this horrendous disease of addiction, so this is why The Robin Foundation is so important to many in our community and is very personal for me.