by Junella Weiss
What is Due Diligence? Part 1: Textbook definition is 'an investigation, audit, or review performed to confirm facts or details of a matter under consideration.' Another definition is 'the care that a reasonable person exercises to avoid harm to other persons or their property.' Professionals define it as: 'an investigation or audit of a potential investment consummated by a prospective buyer. The objective is to confirm the accuracy of the seller's information and appraise it's value.' It is used most often in: law; real estate; business; partnership projects; warranties; environmental; operational; insurance; customer reviews prior to using/buying a product; HR; financial institutions to name a few.
Why and Who? Everyone and anyone should do due diligence prior to any dealings. In these transactions, many times both the offerer or the offeree are both 'green' to how to conduct proper business and this is a key ingredient for anything contractual. Nowadays it is expanding to both landlords and tenants. There are many outlets to support landlords, but how many tenants get into a financial sink hole because they were not aware repairs would not be done, mortgage payments wouldn't be made, etc. It should be a way of life now.
Our business is expanding and launching into this area as we have seen over the years a huge need for it. I have gone so far as to ask for a Due Diligence on myself so that I could mitigate any risk or questions before they come up. It's wise as people often point fingers but don't come to the table with 'clean hands'. Here are a few examples of what we have seen:
A real estate duo removed a standard clause from a purchase contract so that unknown to the buyer, it would accumulate userous interest over time. The buyer had been pressured by the seller to sign off on an inspection and any right to legal advice or counsel. By the time the buyer realized something was very wrong, and that this was very illegal, the interest had accrued to over $550,000 over the asking price. This was extortion and fraud. They should have lost their brokerage license. In addition, they had told the buyer to do a slow closing over time, they'd require all deposits to be made out only in the sellers names and not the brokerage. Turns out the sellers were the agents and the buyer had no ownership or purchase power and lost not only their money, but money friends and family had helped them with for deposit. Further to that, the sellers neglected to report damage from a community flood to their insurance broker and when the buyer (who in the interim was also a tenant), moved out, the seller committed insurance fraud and tried to blame the tenant for the damages, including accusation of theft of furniture to which the buyer had legally bought from the seller, and damages to which had been neglect for years by the seller. Multiple times the buyer questioned the status of large deposits that were made to them and it was met by the seller over the lease threatening to force the buyer to move in '24 HOURS!!'
A couple from a small town remote community, extorted funds from an older couple and committed acts of fraud, involuntary confinement/false imprisonment, blackmail, threats and harassment, negligence, malicious intent, slander, userous terms, elder abuse to name a few. They depicted themselves as 'truth seekers and supporters of elder abuse' to cover the indecent acts and crimes they had committed. They offered unknown to this couple to help them in a time of need, and demanded almost 1000% interest with blackmail terms. This went on for years and when they were sat down and confronted, they resorted to other nefarious and malicious acts including a public community post in an attempt to shame and humiliate them into submission. At one point, the wife of the young couple, drafted a 'confession contract' and invited friends and the elderly couple over to 'negotiate' terms. They held the older couple there against their will and threatened to punish and humiliate them if they did not sign. This is blackmail and involuntary confinement. The couple refused to sign. Eventually, their greed got the better of them and they contacted various parties and the feedback from many of these individuals who have since stepped up to testify against this young couple, was that the wife put words of coercion in their mouths, tried to blackmail them, coerce them into saying they had an experience they had not had. Eventually this led to them connecting with like minded criminals and they formed a hate group to cover up the crimes they were all being confronted on. The husband was caught on record when he provided a confession that he lied on his claim, in front of witnesses, yet they continued in their lie. Over half of the debt was paid prior to the settlement, but the couple played the system, had it withheld, in hopes of extorting further cash reward. This young couple lied to all their legal counsel and broke multiple agreements including an NDA, and continue to attempt to bribe and blackmail anyone who will not conform to their demands. Including mockery of good pastors and their pastoral children on multiple public platforms. UPDATE: The parties went into a mutual voluntary settlement, to which was more than half paid. The wife chose not to wait while counsel provided the proof of payments and fraudulently filed the consent to judgment in her own community. She then proceeded to post the judgment with her fictitious community post and has now legally defamed and slandered to which multiple lawsuits are now in process. It is important to note that when parties decide to settle to save further legal funds, it is not an admission of guilt. It is an attempt to keep the peace and be fiscal. This couple's goal was to continue to blackmail, humiliate and extort money that they originally demanded and attempted to extort and will be met with swift action. The actual full accounting and counter suit will be formally filed with the courts and attached to this couple's actions so it can be public notice.
A man who was a good family friend, had offered to assist a woman and her family in some difficult legal issues she had with malicious parties. He himself was known as a good moral man and much of their communications were verbal commitments and agreements. He had expressed his own business debt and needed his bank to cover cheques for him for very large debts to which he had no money to cover. He later told them he had it covered and convinced them that if the couple, parents of the woman, put one of their properties up for collateral, he would help them with the legal fees. This seemed risky but they trusted him. Unknown to the young woman, the couple were contacted separately and denied legal counsel, and pressed hard to sign over their property for collateral and could 'buy it back on paper' when they could repay the debt. This was very unusual and didn't feel right. But they knew this man as moral and integrous. So they did. Years later, and after they settled, through due diligence, it now appears he had essentially taken the rights of the property from them to provide his own bank as collateral on debts that he had no money for and had his bank illegally cover for long periods of time, without this couple knowing that is how he solved his own financial crisis. Due to their faith, they felt it only right to acknowledge they had a debt, and did not fight. They hoped in time he would too be honourable and that was not the case. The property was seized and he proceeded to slander and defame their names and this attracted the attention of other parties with same intentions.
A domestic violence issue where a woman had to free herself from her husbands abuse acts and control, and the husband (the woman's 2nd husband), in his narcissistic need to control, fabricated a lie that his estranged wife had 'fled to the USA and married a man and changed her identity and committed identity fraud, and had the cell phone company call him to tell him as she changed her number. He eagerly spread and made up this lie without vetting the details, to every family member, their pastor, their friends, and destroyed her name and reputation. Years later, they connected to make peace and he saw her sign a document while they were visiting. And it hit him that he had the circumstances all wrong. In that moment, he confessed that what had actually happened was: when she had called to protect herself and remove her cell phone plan from his, the cell company had to ask her standard security questions. The questions were: where was your honeymoon to which she answered the location in the USA. He then asked her to sign new documents to authorize her own cell number, and it turns out her name signature looked like 'Julie Weu'. But that was not her name. It was this husbands interpretation of her signature. The cell company called the husband(as is their obligation) to inform him she separated herself from his account. And he made up an entire malicious lie and accused her of an illegal act. When he found out the truth, he sat on that truth and obstructed justice by not coming clean and admitting he jumped to conclusions. This lie spread to the pastor of the couples former church and a man from that church, moved to another community and spread this lie to other parties.
A son to a couple and step brother to a woman, offered to help her make a life change in a dark time. Unknown to her he had played on women's sexuality and was indecent to many, including her. Also unknown to her, his offer to help was not something he could do, and he took money from the company he worked for, without their knowledge, and used it. He had apparently done this a few times. When the woman began to experience further sexual harassment, and stated she was not comfortable with it, he bragged about his financial indiscretion and became abusive. He tried lying to his employer, but they saw through his claims as it had happened before. To spare her step father embarrassment, stress and heartache, she spoke to his employment and said she would pay it to spare him any legal issues, and to protect her step fathers fragile health. She however held him accountable and he proceeded to spread lies and misinformation about the situation, her and his parents to protect his crimes and reputation.
A small community pastor, spread misinformation about one of his elderly patron couples, and their child, and attempted to force them to confess to a fabricated and malicious lie, or he would announce from the pulpit his biased beliefs and force them to leave their church community. He proceeded to abuse his presence and authority upon arrival to their property, which is borderline involuntary confinement, and forced them late at night to let him in as he wouldn't leave, even though the husband had just had very intense cancer surgery and tumour removal. These claims were not true so they would not conform. He followed through and had one of his leaders spread this false gossip from his pulpit and he is now liable for all damages from the misinformation he spread and had others spread. His information did not come from real facts or truth, but from one of the previously mentioned crimes above that were committed against this family.
An older woman and her daughter, made themselves known to an organization and ensured they were held in high regard. The one had a securities career past and abused her authority within this organization and breached confidentiality about a member. These two then preyed upon this young family and ensured they were there to offer support and help when and if needed. They were asked at one point, as they had sold themselves as trustworthy people and wanted to be involved in this young woman's business. Days later they created a scenario that did not exist and it created financial flow issues and panic for this woman. Details and conversations were twisted and they used their power and position to be heard. This went on for years even though they had been paid. They lied on their court claim and made untrue and malicious accusations and apparently demanded she be removed from being an active part of a role she played. Years later, the young woman learned that they had not stopped being slanderous and they were resorting to name dropping key individuals to make themselves sound important and make people believe their story that they could not let go of, and were key ringleaders in a web of lies and spin off issues that they supported people on as revenge on this family and woman. The ultimate crime, out of desperation to be considered a hero, they attached this fabricated claim to one of the woman's children's credit bureaus and destroyed this young persons financial future before they even had an account and life. When confronted, they then proceeded to state they did not feel comfortable with this young person to cover their ugly behaviour. They bullied this woman for years stating she wasn't accepted or loved and went to great lengths to abuse her banking and securities privileges and shared confidential info that was not theirs to share nor factually or legally correct.
A couple from a small town, whom had years of domestic abuse, affairs and indiscretions, lied about an innocent and common glitch and to date, still appear to hide behind it. They helped a single woman and her family get to one of her children out of town grads, and had her book the flights. A glitch in the system happened and because this woman could not have financial over compensations in her job, and she feared her husbands reaction, she allowed him to accuse their friend of using their card without permission. The system to which the card had been used to book the flights, had auto saved it as a default card, even though it had been deleted and shown to the couple it was deleted. To protect her job and marriage, she allowed him to form an accusation that was not true even with the admittance and apologies of the company that wrongly authorized it as a 'auto pay default'.
We have seen people defraud on their taxes and embezzle from their own companies and try to place debt blame on someone that owes money to them to get them out of a tough spot. We've seen children cut off, humiliate, blackmail and threaten if their parent will not follow along with their revenge or lies. We have seen attempts of colluding and coercion.
Did you know that if you are threatened to do something 'or else', this is a felony? This is blackmail and if you are forced to stay against your will this is involuntary confinement and also a felony. Each scenario above hold liability both criminally and civilly.
These are just a few of the many examples that we have come across and experienced while forming this company. There is a need for every single person to always be diligent, aware, and know it is ok to stand up for themselves.
There's a verse my dad always said and it was 'my people perish for lack of knowledge' Hosea 4:1.
Did you know that if a claim is filed in court, it is not the full story or 'the truth'. It is one persons version of the truth and sadly, many times, people resort to fabricated lies as they attempt to use them as tools to humiliate, degrade, and slander someone. Additionally, many people are so devastated by being sued that they don't even read the claim, sometimes for years and have no idea what lies they are actually fighting.
Our services cover, include and aren't limited to:
landlord/tenant due diligence
pre and post court claim due diligence
relationship (yup! even this)
mergers and acquisitions
organizations and charities
Your reputation and income making ability is worth protecting, so please, reach out to us if you have experienced anything like this and we will connect you with our team of experts and assist you in getting back on your feet and over coming adversity! Stay tuned for Part 2 in the coming weeks.