Thomas G. Martin appeared as the guest on the podcast The Heart Matters with Life Coach Louis Morris.
Listen to the full podcast here.
A transcript of the podcast follows:
Tom: Hey Louis.
Louis: Mr. Martin! How are you?
Tom: Doing fine. That was a Cecil B. DeMille Production. I have Anchor on my phone, it was just a while to get to you.
Louis: Okay. All right, well that’s excellent. Is everything all right?
Tom: No, everything’s fine. Yeah, I was set up in the studio. My staff put together a little studio in my house since the virus and I was hoping to do it that way. But this is fine, I’ve got good reception here on the iPhone.
Louis: Good. Yeah, you’re really good on this one. All right well let me reintroduce you to everybody. This is Thomas Martin. He is former FBI agent and supervisory federal agent at the U.S. Department of Justice. Now he is the owner and founder of Martin Investigative Services Incorporated in Newport Beach, California. And you can find all of the podcasts that he has appeared upon and videos at martinpi.com. Now, I wanna start with this, I looked at a couple of videos. I watched the Valentine’s Day video. Are you familiar with this one?
Tom: The one in the bar where we actually were doing surveillance and – yes. Yeah.
Louis: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Tom: It’s a very popular video.
Louis: It’s very popular and I know why, I know one of the reasons why it’s very popular. It reminded me of this show called Cheaters. Are you familiar with this show called Cheaters?
Tom: I’m very familiar with Cheaters, yes.
Louis: Okay, yeah. So, it reminded me of Cheaters without the sexual video. That’s what I thought about when I watched this video. So, what Valentine’s Day was that?
Tom: That was Valentine’s Day, I believe it was 2007 or 2008. We’ve done so many. You have to understand, Louis that every Valentine’s Day the TV stations, the radio stations and now even the podcasts try to get onboard with hey, what’re you doing? And those days, Valentine’s Day, we do 20 to 30 different surveillance depending on when Valentine’s Day would fall. If it falls on a Friday, that presents a lot of problems for people who have a wife and girlfriend or a husband and etcetera. So, because one of those days, especially Valentine’s Day, you’re gonna have to spend that with generally your lover.
You can make up an excuse for your spouse, but your lover’s probably not gonna buy not being with them on Valentine’s Day. So, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s pretty easy and as you saw from that video, which is on our YouTube channel. I think we had 21 surveillances that day and that TV station that we were doing, the first 15 or 20 minutes we had completed about 4 of them and all 4 were caught.
Louis: Okay, now that’s a strange dynamic that a person would be able to make an excuse for the spouse but not for the lover. I mean, how is that possible?
Tom: Well, I think what happens is, let’s take 80% of our clients are women. So, let’s take the most obvious is that a woman comes to us. She says my husband’s not gonna be with me on Valentine’s Day. He’s made some phony excuse, he’s gonna be going here, there, somewhere and I think he’s gonna be with his girlfriend. And so that, although it doesn’t rub very well with the wife, there’s not much she can do about it because he’s simply not gonna be there.
And don’t forget, the lover of the husband has a little bit of power. She can say, if you’re not with me I’m gonna tell your wife. Or, if you’re not with me on Valentine’s Day, I’m going to cut this relationship off or I’m going to blackmail you or whatever card she wants to play. So, it’s not unusual at all. I mean, they always bow to their paramour or lover.
Louis: Okay, so just explain to everybody why you chose to be an FBI agent.
Tom: Well, it sometimes gets confusing because the three-letter agency but when I first started out way back when, I thought I would become a federal agent. So, those days it was FBI, Bureau of Narcotics, ATF, Secret Service, on and on and on. And the one that appealed to me the most in those days was the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs thought the FBI was a great outfit and I applied to both. I ended up selecting to go to the Bureau of Narcotics, one because they paid $500.00 more a year. But the main reason is that I thought it would be more exciting to be part of the crime, not that the FBI and some of these agencies aren’t great.
But if you’re in the Bureau of Narcotics, what your listeners would now know as the Drug Enforcement Administration. So, they’re going to give you a gun, a badge, a credentials and sometimes even bullets for that gun and then you’re gonna work undercover throughout the United States, maybe travel to some foreign countries. That was pretty appealing to me at 22 years of age. The problem I had is I looked like a cop.
Tom: So, you’re not gonna buy a lot of dope if you look like the man, as they would say. So, I had to assume different roles. And I thought it was a great choice, I never ever doubted that was the best choice for me and I got to work almost three years undercover in Hawaii and California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Louis: Okay, how did you deal with the danger of these assignments? Because that’s pretty dangerous stuff there.
Tom: It sounds pretty dangerous, and it can be very dangerous, but keep in mind one thing, Louis that if you’re a federal agent and you have unlimited amounts of resources and money and time. We have unlimited time to set these deals up. And we have enough fire power to take over a small country and we have some of the most elite people that are gonna be out there guarding you or doing surveillance on you. So, as long as you understand that the average bank robbery in this country is $300.00 or $400.00, they’ll put a bullet in you for $10,000.00 in a heartbeat.
So, you wanna try to target the people that you’re buying the narcotics from as what we call Class 1 Violators. These are people that’re supposed to be a little more sophisticated, maybe from the Medellín Cartel in Columbia or the Mexican Mafia type narcotic people in Mexico or wherever in the world they’re at. And so, you control it. You say, I wanna meet you at Caesar’s Palace at 1:00 in the lobby. You bring the dope; I’ll bring the money. I’ll show you my money, you show me your dope and then we’ll exchange, and we’ll go on our merry ways.
So, it’s pretty controlled and if the wheels every come off it, I never really felt threatened. My biggest thing was not to make any mistakes verbally and to continue to make sure they thought that I was a world class dope peddler myself and not a federal agent.
Louis: How did you become the supervisor at the Department of Justice? What was that process?
Tom: The process is, you start out as what they call a GS-7, is the entry level for most DEA, FBI, IRS and Secret Service guys. And that’s the pay grade that you start at and you then progress, usually in year or two-year increments from a GS-7 to a 9, to 11, to a 12 and then to a 13. And that takes a process of generally five to seven years, depending on how successful you were. So, after that 5 to seven-year process, then you can put in for what they call a GS-14 supervisory position.
And you can imagine, of an agency of say, let’s just say 10,000 agents, how many people are trying to get to that level because as you go up, the amount of money that you’re making increases obviously and the prestige of you now being a federal agent is certainly an honor for me. I’ll always look back fondly on it. But when you become a supervisor, then you have maybe 25 or 30 or 40 of those agents under your supervision, but more importantly, they’re now your responsibility. So, once you have that supervisory role now, when they go undercover you gotta make sure they come back home.
And so, it took me about five years if I remember correctly and I became a GS-14. And I had great people working for me and had a group in Los Angeles on the streets. I ran the Los Angeles airport for two years. A job I would do for free. Non-stop, 24 hours, dope coming in, dope leaving. And we arrested some fantastic organized crime people down to, we even arrested a nun, the same nun twice. So, it was a fun process to go through and once you become a supervisor you then stay out of the way of the agents who themselves now are trying to buy dope, move up the ladder and become supervisors themselves.
Louis: Okay, what was the deal with the nun?
Tom: We had a nun come through, actually in a habit. Actually, something they would wear in a convent and she came from Bogota, Columbia and we had an informant that told us that she was carrying, and she was carrying two kilos. A kilo is 2.2 pounds of cocaine. And she came through the line very nonchalantly. Had we not gotten a tip, we probably wouldn’t have pulled her in what they call secondary and then we told her, Sister Mary. You can do this the easy way, or you can do it the hard way. So, you can either take off that habit and give us the dope or we’ll find other ways to get the dope. But you’re not leaving here today and that dope’s gonna be with us.
Tom: The sad part for her was, the very sad part is I think she was a little naïve, that she thought she could bring this amount of cocaine in and she would make herself, as a mule, quote mule, maybe $10,000.00 or $15,000.00. That’s probably a high figure in those days. The sad part, about three months later I was sitting in the office and I get a call from one of my guys and he said hey, Tom. You better get over here, Sister Mary is back. Well, she wasn’t dressed in her habit. This time she was in street clothes.
Tom: And we actually had her, she was meeting two other people that were actually bringing the cocaine in and they were meeting at the Hyatt Hotel, a very famous and large hotel at the L.A. airport. So, myself and two other guys, we went into the closet of the hotel room that we knew they were gonna be in and that they had registered in. So, when they came in, they were all giddy and laughing until we opened the closet door and out, we popped. And so, I asked Sister Mary, what is wrong with you? I mean, you’re already facing 15 or 20 years and she goes, I needed to get this dope into L.A. so I could sell it to pay for my attorneys.
Tom: So, unfortunately her trial was a very short one. She actually got an attorney that, he was an okay guy, but the odds were just stacked against her and she was actually given 25 years. And at the federal level you gotta do usually 90%, so she had to do way over 20 years. So, that was not a picnic for Sister Mary by any stretch.
Louis: Being that you loved it so much, why’d you retire?
Tom: Well, I retired because I had to. I got hurt and got injured a couple times and sometimes those injuries, even though they’re taken care of and you have your surgeries and you do everything that is necessary, sometimes those physical limitations when you’re jumping around with a gun and chasing people down or kicking doors down or doing surveillances for long hours… the medical staff and both the DEA doctor and my doctor agreed it’d probably be best. So, at the time I felt pretty sorry for myself. I moped around for a couple weeks until I figured out okay, I got two young kids and a wife and all three of them wanna eat so I better get my butt in gear and find another occupation.
And interesting, a lot of people don’t know, the government, once you’re in the government roles as what they call an 18-11 Enforcement Agent in any of the three letter agencies, they have to train you to make sure you make the same amount of money. So, they wanted me to go back to school to get my doctorate or become a lawyer and all that stuff.
And I said listen, I’ll sign a waiver that if my business fails, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to give me any money. You don’t have to do anything. And you certainly don’t need to retrain me. And so, one I got the government away from my business. I didn’t have them looking over my shoulder. But it was a great incentive because I couldn’t fail, right?
Tom: There’s no way I can fail. And you might think it’s oh, because if I fail then I’m gonna have to go out and wash trucks or get some other type of job that I’m maybe not qualified for. But it was more that I said I would be successful. I didn’t wanna go back to the government and let them know that I wasn’t successful. So, I opened my shingle in 1981 with an empty rolodex and a phone that didn’t ring and no business. And so, what I decided to do was, kind of a nice tip for people is, whatever genre of business you decide to go into. I decided I would contact the newspapers and the TVs, and I would do stuff for them for free.
So, I would do a background investigation if they were doing a story on somebody, I would do that. I might do a few hours of surveillance. So, I got to know a lot of people in Southern California in the press and TV and radio. And still, some of those people are my friends today. In fact, the gentleman that did the story on Valentine’s Day for CBS, Dave Lopez, is still a very good friend of mine and I’ve known him for 40 years. So, it was a good way to break in when you didn’t have any business, to try and stir it up. And so, one thing led to another and as they say, after 40 years, we’re an overnight success. So, there you go.
Louis: Did you get hurt out in the field?
Tom: I did. I did, yeah. I had on the job injuries, which is very common. I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me. I mean, I think there were 33 guys in my class and maybe 15 or 16 of them have disabling injuries. I mean, some are in wheelchairs and some are on walkers and some suffer all kinds of different injuries. So, it’s not a job for the faint hearted and even though you try to control every situation as best you can, I can remember one of the best firearms experts that I ever knew in the Department of Justice. Across all the lines. He was left-handed barricade, right-handed barricade.
Whatever your situation you put him. He could shoot a .45, a 9mm, .38 five or six shot and his pattern on a target was just like you were 2 inches away from it, that’s how good he was. And one day he was working undercover and two or three of the bad guys just came up and shot him right in the back. Without warning, just shot him right in the back and thank God he survived. But unfortunately, he’s partly in a wheelchair and partly in walkers and that was some 38, 39 years ago. So, yeah. It’s just as dangerous as you’d think it could be, but you can also, as I said previously, you can try to control your environment so that you limit the exposure that you’re gonna have.
Louis: Okay, tell me about Martin Investigative Services. How big is it? How many people do you have on your staff?
Tom: Well, when I first started out obviously, I didn’t have anybody and the nice thing about the agency today, as in 2020, is when I started to get a little business, that was after about two or three years if I’m honest. I could handle most everything by myself for the first couple years but then I needed help on a surveillance, or I needed help in doing interviews in corporate America where we’re trying to find out who’s stealing time, money and product.
And so, the nice answer, where am I gonna find these people? Because in those days, Louis there weren’t many private investigators around. There were no real role models. And I would think that in the 1980s, there maybe were I would think 5,000 or 6,000 in the whole United States. Now, today there’s 100,000 in the United States.
Tom: Now, how many are making a living at it I’m not quite sure. But what I was fortunate, is I was able to go back and pick from the people who taught at the FBI academy, who taught at justice and treasury. Because I did that for four and a half, five years. And that’s supposedly some of the best of the best, is that after you work as an agent undercover, become a supervisor. Then you’re sent back to teach the agents coming up. Those are supposedly some of the better people and those are the ones that I cherrypicked in the agency.
So, we have – well, we have everybody sitting at home right now with the Corona Virus, but on our heydays, we had up to 48 people working out of five different offices. And all of those are generally from the three-letter agency that we’ve mentioned a few times. And that’s how the agency grew and it’s very fortunate for us, it’s recognized now as one of the top agencies in the country.
Louis: What’s your biggest source of income as far as investigating? Is it the cheating spouses, is it the lost and found? I mean, what’s your biggest source of income/
Tom: Well, the simple answer is there’s four pillars in our business and the four pillars each on their own represent 25% of our business. So, it’s equally divided between corporate America, where we go into a large company with 100 employees and find out who’s stealing time, money or product. The next pillar would be attorneys. Civil, criminal, probates, trust attorneys. Then the next group would be the insurance company. Doing everything from insurance fraud to worker’s comp. And then the fourth pillar which represents the final 25% is the public.
So, most people, and that’s why I think I get this question a lot and how you phrased it, which is pretty typical. Because most people think we’re in a trench coat with a fedora, with a pipe looking around the corner. And that’s fine. And that pays the bills and we’ve probably done 25,000 of those in the past 40 years. But that represents only 6% of our business. And so, you really make your money in corporate America. And we’re a very transparent agency. Most private investigators that get on TV or radio, they watch too much TV and they try to be cloak and dagger.
And we tell exactly what we charge. For marital surveillance for example, we charge $150.00 an hour working 4-hour minimums. When we go into corporate America and we’re interviewing and interrogating people, we charge $300.00. So, you tell me? You’re a street-smart guy and you’re business savvy, where would you direct my troops to? Where you’re getting twice the hourly rate.
Tom: So, you don’t have to go to business management school or have a degree in management to figure out that maybe the $300.00 is better than the $150.00.
Louis: Which one did you have the most fun at? Let me ask that question. Which one is the most fun for you?
Tom: Well, I think the best spill, if your listeners or anybody is thinking about becoming a private investigator. And it’s a great career, we need a lot more qualified people and we need a lot more women and we could use a lot more minorities in both categories. Now, having said that. The best skill to develop, and this is not something you can go to a seminar or go to school, but the best characteristic when I look at 10 candidates that I’m gonna pick from, the one thing that I look for is the expert in interview interrogation.
So, my biggest enjoyment is sitting across from somebody in a setting in corporate America. And they think we’re some goofy PI who doesn’t know his ear from his elbow. And within five or ten minutes I can tell you, or shorter, whether this guy’s telling the truth or not. And withing 15 or 20 minutes, I can get him to say he probably shot Kennedy, even though he’s not old enough to shoot Kennedy. So, it’s that skill set to be able to look at somebody, gain their confidence and say hey, I’m gonna find it out eventually because I’m street smart and right now in this room, I’m the smartest guy in the room and I probably have evidence on you.
So, that’s the part I enjoy. That’s the part most of the top-notch private investigators …it’s a little more challenging but not as difficult as being out sitting in a car. I mean, if you’re on a surveillance in a marital surveillance, you can sit there for 10 hours and you get to pee in a coffee can. So, it’s more like Columbo than it is Magnum, I can tell you that.
Tom: So, you have to put it in perspective. So, if many of the law enforcement people now that’re transitioning to become private investigators or don’t wanna do 25 years. If they’ve got that interview and interrogation skill, they can make some serious dollars in the PI industry right now.
Louis: All right, now where do you get this training from? This ability to be able to read people. Does this come before you become a agent? Do you learn that while you’re training? Is it a psychology thing? What is it?
Tom: Well, that’s a great question. When I became an agent, I don’t think we mentioned this. I spent my college years in a seminary trying to figure out if I wanted to become a Catholic Diocesan Priest. So, I left the seminary, went back and saw my cousin in New Jersey, and I ended up working in New Jersey. Teaching school in Patterson, got involved in Harlem. Taught there on the weekends, saw drugs. I was pretty naïve. I mean, not smoke and not drink and not doing any drugs. I didn’t know cocaine from heroine in those days.
And so, then I said, maybe my lot is maybe in law enforcement and being able to go down that particular road. And so, I had no skill set. So, if you don’t have a skill set and you’re listening to Louis’ show right now, you’re exactly where I was many, many moons ago. But you garner the skills by being on the street and putting yourself in positions of being undercover. Doing surveillance, talking to informants, debriefing people. And slowly but surely after a year or two years, you start to get this sixth sense of being able to be a truth detector.
Now, after about five or six years of this, the Justice Department thought I had some kind of skill set so they send me to a special school and training where I became what they call a Department of Justice Profiler. And you always see that on TV and radio. And that in itself is a couple more years of training and doing this information. So, one of the ways they describe it is that if I sat across from say one of your listeners or let’s take yourself and we were engaged in talking. I know that you’ll talk about 120 words a minute or so. I know that Louis can think probably 1,000 words a minute.
So, when I’m giving you questions or I’m asking questions of which the vast majority I already know the answers to, but you think you’re slicker than I am and you’re gonna try and go down a road that’s not gonna be truthful. I can tell generally after the first question when you don’t answer it in five seconds, I know you’re lying. Because if you don’t come back with a question, because if you have to think of that answer, you’re not gonna know the question I’m gonna ask you. So, it’s people like that who even some are fairly street smart.
Now, there are street smarts people who’ll come back and say hey, I didn’t steal the money. I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that, I didn’t do this. And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna have a mono on mono and see who’s gonna blink first. So, in those cases, which is very rare, you’ve gotta have some evidence on them. Especially, I’m talking in the private sector. So, yeah. I sometimes, I think I said a couple weeks ago, it’s like what you do. I’m sure that when you first started your podcast you were an okay, please forgive me maybe you were great. But let’s say you were an okay interviewer.
Tom: But I would say now you’re probably 100 times better after doing your podcast for a while. I mean, it’s just natural common sense, right?
Tom: So, the same thing happens with interview and interrogation except when you get to the top one or two percent of the agents that do that, that’s a very small club.
Tom: And it can be a little bit of luck. I mean, I won’t lie to you, a lot of people think that my Irish background and the ability to BS has helped me in this regard. But I take that as a genuine compliment. And so, for me the fun, to get back to your question, there’s nothing better than going in and helping a company who’s employees are stealing them blind and getting them to sign a declaration, under the penalty of perjuring the laws of whatever state we’re in, that they stole whatever they did. Money, product, time. So, it’s a pretty interesting occupation to say that lest.
Louis: Now, I mentioned the last time that we talked that the show that I watch on TV is FBI. I love this show, a Dick Wolf show, right? So, is it like that? They have a jock, what they call a jock, and then they have this, what is this guy? ASAIC, and he’s telling everybody what to do. Is that how it is, is it like that?
Tom: Well, I think the premise that you just said is a good way to start. The actual show and the banter is not very realistic for the vast majority of supervisors. So, let’s just say that we are in New York City or Los Angeles and what those agencies will have, any of the three letter agencies will have either a SAIC or an ASAIC. SAIC, that’s S-A-I-C, that’s the word SAIC, it stands for Special Agent In Charge. He’s probably a GS-15 or 16 and he’s in charge of the whole office. The ASAIC that you see in your show, he’s the Assistant Special Agent In Charge.
He’s probably a 14 or a 15 under that person. So, keep in mind you just don’t join the DEA or the FBI and say hey, I’d like to be a SAIC. Don’t work like that. You’re gonna spend 10 or 15 years as a grunt and you’re gonna pay your dues a long time before you get to that position. So, hopefully you remember when you were a GS-7 on the street doing hours of surveillance or working on Christmas or following a car on Thanksgiving. And maybe not making your kid’s little league parties, whatever. Okay, I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that’s the nature of it.
So, you remember all the good times and the bad and all the mistakes that you made so when you get to be what you’re watching on TV, you’re not gonna use the banter that they’re gonna do that or they kinda Macho Man and Jocko. Every once in a while, you find someone like that but guess what will happen? If I’ve got 40 FBI or DEA or IRS guys working for me in a group and I’m gonna turn around and be a horse’s behind. How much effort do you think they’re gonna put in? How much dope are they gonna put on the table?
How many people are they gonna arrest? That dog don’t hunt, as we say in the Department of Justice. So, I had a very simple philosophy and I think whether it be the dope peddler that I was trying to arrest or the people that were under my supervision. A simple rule for most of them is look, you do your work. I will take care of you. I will promote you. If you don’t do your work, if you’re a slacker. There’s leaners and lifters. If you’re gonna be a leaner, your butt’s gonna be out of my group and I’m gonna get rid of you and I’m gonna try my very best to demote you.
So, don’t have any crying spells when I try it because you know the rules. And that worked really great for me because when I first started out, I had a couple very hardnosed, way back when from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Most of your listeners have never even heard of that. These were the 300 guys that started the FBN in the 60s. And these were guys that would hold people out of, supposedly, hotel rooms 16 floors up until they confessed. I mean, these were pretty tough guys. Little crazy, but pretty tough hombres.
And so, when you learn from those type of people, you learn some things not to do and some things to do and you hopefully bring that in as a supervisor because there’s no better job than being a supervisor in the federal government of federal agents because generally they’re pretty world class people, not that we don’t have a few knuckleheads that get in there. So, that’s very important, just remember where you came from. Other than that, I think the show’s pretty realistic. It does give the hardcore of the day to day operations. But the banter, not gonna happen in real life.
Louis: Now, tell me about these 20 signs that a person is cheating their spouse can detect on the spouse. Just give me a few of them.
Tom: Okay. Well, all 20 can be seen on our website. We don’t need emails; you can post it on the thing. It was in our first book which you can read online for free. But I think the biggest one we say of the 20 is that if your mate comes home at night smelling and looking better than they left in the morning, you probably got a problem. And these are things that’re common sense. All of a sudden they’ve got their iPhone, or their cellphone and they don’t want anybody to touch it and they never leave it.
Tom: And they seem to always be on it. They’re glued to the phone. And then all of a sudden, your husband or your wife has a nine to five job that they’re working until 10:00 at night. Sometimes going to the gym, buying jewelry. All of a sudden there’s hang ups at the house or there’s less sex in the bedroom. And just, we call it in women, it’s an unbelievable thing that God gave them, it’s called women’s intuition. Because when they call us, they generally know what’s going on. In men it’s called a gut reaction, and, in both cases, I mean if we were to do 100 surveillances, we catch 97% of the people.
So, when somebody calls my office and talks to one of my investigators they already know, they just want finality. Now, so fast forward to April of 2020, the whole ballgame has changed because now there’s not a lot of room for excuses. Everybody’s in their houses and all of a sudden, somebody has to make an excuse. Well, I gotta go to the office. So, wait a minute. Your office is closed. Well, I’m gonna go and check on a phone that’s remotely call forwarded. What? Doesn’t make any sense.
Tom: and I think what you’re gonna see is once we get back to the new normal or whatever the normal is gonna be. I think this forcing of everybody to be together with nobody being able to get out, get some relief and being around the kids and schooling the kids and all these pressures that’ve come on. I think you’re gonna see a spike in divorce cases and I think that’s gonna happen the summer of 2020. And we’re gonna monitor that because I’ve gone on a few shows and I think it’s gonna happen. So, we’ll see if I’m correct.
Because the spike generally in divorces, they start right after Superbowl Sunday and they go steady incline all the way to Thanksgiving. So, generally February to – and it’s a consistent line. There’s no month that’s even more or less. It’s a consistent line. But I think whenever we get back to people going back to offices and stuff, I think unless people can be a little more considerate and be forgiving and forget all the banter that went through and I hate you and you’re this and you’re that and dropping F-bombs everywhere. I think in the summer you’re gonna see the divorce rate skyrocket in this country. But we’ll see.
Louis: How’s the reopening going in Newport Beach? How’s it going down there?
Tom: On March 14th I sent everybody home and to be honest with you, we were cooking with gas. I mean, we were doing just fine and one thing to know in our business, when the economy goes up, our business goes down because people aren’t doing bad things, everything’s great. When the economy goes down, our business goes up. But right now, it’s at zero. Where we would get 100 calls a day or texts or emails to the offices, we’re probably getting five, maybe three of those are wrong numbers or hang ups. It’s just that it you go back to those four pillars we talked about. I mean, corporations, there’s no need for them to have private investigators. They can’t even pay their employees.
Tom: Same thing with attorneys. I think maybe 15%, 20% of the attorneys that I know that’re single persons by themselves or a two-man office, I don’t know how they’re gonna recover. And then you take insurance companies, well they’re fat, dumb and happy. They’re making money over fist and they’re not having to do anything. No claims, no nothing. No accidents, etcetera. And then the public’s inside so our benefit, although there’s not too many places better to be in the world than Newport Beach where many of us live, we’re like my barber. We’re like your hairdresser, we’re like the guy who runs the deli. It’s stopped.
And it wasn’t a trickle or a flood that went to a trickle and then stopped. On March 14th it just stopped. And I don’t see it as a proverbial saying goes nowadays, it’s not gonna be a light switch that goes back on. I think most of the top-notch PIs will be okay, it’ll start coming back and people will start doing things and they’ll need our services. But it would be a really hard time right now to start a PI business, there’s no question about that. Or any business for that matter.
Tom: But the top guys will be fine. Just like the top guys in any field, the cream will rise to the top and…
Louis: Okay, so what is Governor Newsome saying about reopening? What’s his timeline?
Tom: I think all of the governors that I’ve listened to, I mean they use the words testing and the words safety and I think that’s probably pretty smart.
Tom: I think the biggest thing that president, any of the governors and some of the mayors. I think the first city or county or state that pulls the trigger too fast and we have a resurgence of the virus in your area. In other words, you had 400 people die, 500 people die a day like in New York and some of these places even more. And all of a sudden now you’ve got the curve coming down and now you’re down to 300, 200, 100. People going to the hospitals are less, etcetera, etcetera.
So, now let’s all go to the beach, let’s all go to the restaurants, let’s all go to the ballgames, let’s all go have hotdogs and blah-blah-blah and sit next to each other at the hockey game. That’d be great but if there’s a resurgence and that number starts to go up, those politicians will be dead in the water because they own that.
Tom: China can own the virus, okay. If you believe what you read in the paper and I’ve been to China. I’ve been to Shanghai, I’ve been to Beijing, I’ve been down the Yangtze River. I’ve had many cases there, so I know what I talk about when I talk about the Chinese. I don’t have any information about what happened in the laboratory in Wuhan, but I have my own opinions of what happened.
Tom: And at the end of the day, I just hope we don’t go back too soon.
Tom: That’s all. I mean, I’d love to be working. I’ve still got fire in the belly, all our guys do, and gals and we’d love to be out there working just like everybody else. But I don’t wanna go back and then have to redo all this, another six weeks of this stuff and go. So, I think take your time getting back there and doing all the stuff we all wanna do.
Louis: Yeah. All right, Tom. Tell me what you got coming up. Are you working on the book?
Tom: I wrote my first book, If You Only Knew, which is online for free. People can go to investigatorconfidential.com and that’s there for reading, it’s still applicable today. A lot of good stuff in there. And then my second book, which was called Seeing Life Through Private Eyes, that came out a couple years ago and is on Amazon now. But I think, for lack of irritating some of your female listeners, I’ve always said, writing a book I guess is sometimes like giving birth. It’s something at the time you may not wanna do again. That’s what I said the first time and the second time I did it, but I think I’m done after two books. They’ll say author of two books on my tombstone…
Louis: Okay, well what about the autobiography?
Tom: Well, there are people that’ve come to us, other private investigators and they want you to do what they call a memoir.
Tom: And I just think the effort to go into that, which would be two or three years, I don’t know that I wanna spend my time. And I’ll be brutally candid with you, although we’re at the top of the game when it comes to PIs and very fortunate with good people. I don’t think there’s a lot of people who really give a rat’s behind about reading Tom Martin’s memoir. I don’t think. I’m just saying. It might make an interesting story but as far as the effort, Louis that you’ve gotta put into it. I mean, when I wrote the last one, you get a book agent, then you get a publisher, you try to get a distributor and then you get your agent to send them this.
Louis: Right. It’s a lot.
Tom: It’s a lot of work and a lot of rejection. I mean, yeah. Yeah, I sent in my first chapter, they sent it back like I was a third grader in school with red marks and all this and I don’t know, geez. I’m a pretty good writer. But it’s a humbling experience. So, the last one, one of my guys thought of the title of Seeing Life Through Private Eyes and that kind of says it all. There’s a lot of good cases in there, there’s a lot of personal stories and people that I’ve run into over the years. And we have a lot of famous people as clients, but we don’t publicize it.
Tom: In fact, many years ago I went up against Anthony Pellicano and he was a very well-known private investigator in Los Angeles, and we fought against each other in different sides and he just spent 18 years in prison for wiretapping and all kinds of other things. So, sometimes if you’re fortunate to be in a business and you get somebody like a Johnny Carson, who’s deceased obviously, who was a client of mine and you can say that sometimes if there’s no restrictions. But while he’s your client you can’t say that.
Tom: Or a guy like Severin Wunderman who ran the Gucci stores and the Gucci empire. You don’t keep clients like that if you publicize them. So, that’s what I think. I mean, I could write a great book on all of them but then I would get my but sued.
Tom: So, we’re probably gonna leave that alone.
Louis: Yeah, probably. Well, thank Martin. I appreciate you coming back on man, so we can get this thing right. Yeah. Yeah, I appreciate it.
Tom: Well, thanks for having me.
Louis: Let me tell everybody again, it’s Martin Investigative Services Incorporated. He’s in Newport Beach, California. If you wanna see any of the podcasts he’s been on or any of the videos or anything, go to martinpi.com. I appreciate you coming back on, Tom and I hope everything gets back to normal soon because it’s getting warm. It’s already warm there but it’s getting warm up here, too.
Tom: Well, thank you once again for having me and I hope you and your staff stay healthy.
Louis: All right, thanks Tom. Appreciate it, man. Bye.
Tom: Bye-bye. Bye.