Thursday, November 01, 2012

Reliability of Confidential Informants

Recently I have had a bit of an interesting experience in dealing with an individual who made an allegation (actually a series of allegations) against a former friend. The friend had made an insurance claim concerning her vehicle which had been stolen from her house several weeks earlier.

The informant phoned the insurer to state she had information that the claim was not legitimate and that the claimant had her own vehicle stolen in order to get money to pay off drug debts.

The informant was amenable to being formally interviewed, but as the interview went on I started having doubts as to her reliability, and motivation.

At first the allegations were only concerning the theft. I was told that the insured owed a considerable amount of money for her drug habit and had offered a couple of thousand dollars to anyone who could make her car disappear so she could make an insurance claim.

But then the informant started making other allegations concerning the 'character' of the insured.

  • She was being investigated concerning the sexual and physical abuse of her 12yo daughter who had been removed from her and put into care
  • Her parents were convicted fraudsters
  • She had been manufacturing drugs for supply and had been arrested and charged (the informant had shopped her in to police)
  • She was consorting with known criminals who were the type to have taken her car if offered money
Now while the allegations might be interesting, they may not necessarily be true. While I will keep this in mind as I conduct my enquiries, without corroborating evidence, they remain just allegations - not facts.

But later in the day I received more texts from the informant, who appeared eager that I take action against her former friend.

  • The insured's son was the one who took the car. He made an admission to someone (who the informant won't disclose) who told the informant.
  • The insured, along with her brother-in-law are planning to torch a house for the insurance payout
At this point, I'm thinking that the only thing the informant hasn't accused the insured of is spoiling the milk and obviously being a witch.

Personally, when interviewing the insured, I found her to be open and apparantly honest. She acknowledged her drug conviction but her version of facts concerning it differed markedly from that of the informant's (and should be easily verifiable with the police). She also mentioned the informant by name as a former friend who she had a falling out with and this person had a grudge and was making her life "a living hell".

Interestingly, the informant has a son with a string of vehicle theft convictions and also has a spare key for the vehicle that was stolen.

At this point I'm not ruling out the allegations made by the informant but, in the absence of supporting evidence, am tending to favour the insured. Also, I have a feeling that the informant may not be all that reliable and is pursuing her own agenda against the insured.

Should be interesting as to how this plays out.

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