Infidelity means big business for private investigator - FOX 13 News

Infidelity means big business for private investigator

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The scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus highlights how difficult it is to eliminate an electronic trail. Despite that, a Duluth private investigator says that a lot of people throw caution to the wind when it comes to infidelity.

In our fast moving electronic world, lonely wives looking for love online is big business for private investigator TJ Ward.

Ward, who has been a private investigator for three decades, says 40 percent of his business is related to infidelity cases which have increased with the bad economy.

Ward says in the last five years since the economy tanked, infidelity cases for him have increased 20 percent. He's not sure if that's because of more opportunity on the net or stress from job losses, or perhaps both. But Ward says cheating spouses often get caught because lawyers uncover their electronic trail emails and text messages.

"Technically if you delete an email off your computer, no it's still there. There's an image and the thing is blasted on your hard drive," said Ward.

Ward says he works with forensic experts who backtrack electronic activity, much like the government has done in the Petraeus case.

Mike Pernell, who is married, believes infidelity stems from selfishness. Katie Bloom, also married believes it's something else.

"I think it goes to the same thing for women, women are looking for something more that they're not getting out of their relationship," said Bloom.

Whatever that empty space is, as long as cheating spouses are looking to fill it, especially using technology, Ward will stay busy.

"Once we get a court order or we get an attorney involved that has access to the computers by either one of the spouses, we take that computer and image it and we find things," Ward said.

Ward says the only real way to destroy the messages is to destroy the hard drive.

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