Monday, January 20, 2014

Criminal Intelligence

Sometimes, Dear Reader, it really is a challenging task to remain of professional demeanour and straight faced when being told a litany of implausible tales.

Just the other day I was undertaking an investigation of a claim arising from three supposedly unrelated events on the same day where some chattels were damaged.

The claim was flagged for investigation because the claimant had called the insurer several times a few days previously, repeatedly enquiring as to whether his goods were covered while shifting house (they weren't). Then a day after moving he calls in to make a claim, well three actually.

I'm not going to go into detail on what the claim was concerning as it isn't particularly interesting or relevant - apart from one matter that was rather obviously false.

The claimant, one Tiberius Germanicus*, stated that he was in bed when he was suddenly woken by a loud band and a rush of water from the ceiling. The water cylinder that was on the roof allegedly had burst, for no apparent reason, flooding his room.

The landlord had allegedly sent around a plumber the following morning and moved the water cylinder into the house.

Okay, so when I went to interview Mr Germanicus only a few days after the incident, I commented on the lack of water in the room. His answer was that a friend with a carpet-cleaner had come over to help him clean up the water.

However, I noted at the time that there was no water damage or stains on the ceiling as you might expect, as well as the carpet being not only bone dry but having no evidence of having been cleaned in quite a few years.

Other inconsistencies were readily apparent, in particular that there was no evidence of a water cylinder, or any other object for that matter, having been affixed to the roof above his bedroom. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

So, in the middle of the interview, just as I was enquiring as to particulars of the landlord, Mr Germanicus hurriedly gets up and rushes into another room returning with his phone to his ear and in earnest conversation. Funny thing is I never heard the phone ring at the time (nor could I hear any ring tones when playing back the recorded audio from the interview).

It was his friend, Mikhail Gorbachev**, ringing to tell him that all three items had been fixed by him. So Mr Germanicus now wanted to withdraw his claims.


You mean that it wasn't just a pretend call from an imaginary friend so you could get out of what was becoming rapidly obvious, even to your reduced capacity, as a difficult conversation?

Actually, yes it was.

Of course, conveniently forgetting the name of the landlord or his contact details didn't really sell me the story either. I got the details from another tenant later and confirmed that not only had there never been a water tank on the roof, but neither had the landlord been alerted to any kind of incident at the unit nor had he sent around a plumber.

I think that rates an 'E' for effort.

* Not his real name
** While not his real name either, it is the name of another famous former world leader.    

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