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April of 2011 Edition

A Message from J.J.,


Included with this issue are the new 2011 Court Directories for Harris County and surrounding counties, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston and Brazoria.

We made a diligent effort to document accurately all the changes in the Judges and Court Personnel as a result of the November 2010 Election. Please call Lisa at our office should you need more Court Directories.

I would like to personally thank Robert Fickman, Lori Gooch, Gary Polland, Phillip Hilder, Kate McConnico, Stanley Schneider and Robert Morrow for new client referrals.

There is no doubt that this year will be challenging as usual. You will notice later in the newsletter we have made some additions to our staff that will allow us to continue to deliver work product in an accurate and timely basis on our diverse case load.

Inc. Magazine Article

In February I was interviewed by Inc. Magazine on how a Private Investigator could obtain intelligence on competitors for business clients.

We covered a number of topics during the course of the interview, which involved cold calling, surveillance, Internet research, identification and interviewing of former employees and even dumpster diving to obtain discarded information. The author of the article seemed to really like the dumpster diving portion of the information, which of course is the least glamorous.

I was informed that the article was going to come out in the April issue, but I had no idea what the author was actually going to write. Inc. also requested a photograph, which they were going to run with the article.

The magazine came out last week without my photographs. It took me a while to look through the magazine to find the article. There it was on page 80 entitled “Garbology 101” Burt Helms, the Senior Writer for Inc. quoted myself and Richard Horowitz, an attorney who works on Competitor issues. I found I was accurately quoted quite a bit during the article, which encompassed half of page 80 and all of page 83.

We all like to be memorialized for finding the kidnapped victim alive, solving the Murder for Hire mystery and other glamorous investigations. As I was told by an associate, any article with your name in it was important, even if it was about garbage.


Carey Wellmaker left our firm after 10 years of service “to follow her path.” Carey was a dependable and result oriented member of our staff, who will be missed. We all wish Carey the best of luck in her new endeavors.


One of our attorney clients managed to back his car into this parking space near the Federal Courthouse. The individual who owned the white Mercedes behind our client’s car flagged down a Police unit and told them that our client had broken his right front headlight and had refused to provide insurance information.

The Officers were more focused on our attorney client than inspecting the car damage that could not have possibly been done at that time. As the conversation escalated, our client was arrested for Failure to Give Information.

Bob Loper represented our client in court and was able to get the case dismissed at the first setting. A very infrequent type of victory.

I have withheld the client’s name in order to protect the innocent. I still want to know how he was able to maneuver his car in that parking space.



Efrain Gutierrez, a former associate of Cindy Klein at the FBI, has agreed to come aboard as an Investigator.

Efrain was a Special Agent with the FBI in the Houston Office from June of 1987 to May of 2001. Efrain led investigations in drug, white collar and foreign counter intelligence cases, that resulted in the prosecution of numerous defendants and the seizure of millions of dollars for the U.S. government.

Efrain served as a squad investigative team leader, SWAT team member and was a certified undercover agent. Efrain also provided security during international events, such as the Atlanta Olympics, the Montana Freeman Standoff, The G8 Economic Conference and other major national events.

Efrain also supervised 20 language specialists and translators and helped develop new procedures that included timeliness and accuracy of translated material.

After his tenure with FBI, Efrain was a regional director in Mexico and Central America for a security company that specialized in business operations, evacuation plans, security assessments and personal protection for management and employees for Inc. 500 companies doing business in Mexico and Central America. More recently, Efrain has been a teacher in the Katy Independent School District for Spanish Instruction.

Efrain brings a very diversified qualification package, which will certainly assist us in continuing our quality efforts in criminal defense. Efrain’s corporate experiences will be invaluable in helping us with the growth and investigation of corporate clientele.

Robert Randle

investigator-robert-randleI am happy to announce that Robert Randle came aboard as a Field Investigator at the beginning of February this year. Robert possesses a Bachelor of Arts and is a retired school teacher, having taught at Willowridge High School from August of 1989 to June of 2010. Robert also was an assistant football coach and possesses a great deal of experience in dealing with juveniles.

Robert brings a set of skills to our organization that enables him to work in the field with our younger defendants and witnesses. Robert has shown a talent to set these individuals at ease and obtain information that we need to meet our case goals. Robert’s initial assignments have produced great results in areas of town that would be considered challenging to say the least.


We have just developed a handbook for corporate clients that simplifies the complicated structure and legal issues regarding the backgrounding of potential employees.

The booklet also explains the nuts and bolts of background investigations, the type of information that can be obtained and how the information can be interpreted in making a decision on whether to employ the prospect or not.

Businesses suffer thousands of dollars in financial loss, inventory loss and employee morale when hiring individuals who have not been properly backgrounded.

We have found on many occasions while conducting corporate investigations, that the suspects stealing from their employers have criminal history not identified prior to their placement.

Money spent on thorough backgrounds always save an employer money, legal fees and morale problems down the road.

Our comprehensive booklet will be provided to any requestor free of charge.


  • Your lawyer tells you that his last good case was of Budweiser.
  • When the Prosecutor sees your lawyer, they high five each other.
  • Your lawyer picks the jury by playing duck duck goose.
  • Your lawyer tells you that he has never told a lie.
  • A prison guard is shaving your head.


  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Government Housing Fraud Investigation
    Houston, TX based Attorney Daphne Pattison represented an individual who was charged with Fraud for allegedly lying on a governmental application for housing. Gradoni & Associates Investigate Investigator Cindy Klein was able to establish through interviews that the defendant had a number of disabilities that gave a great deal of mitigation to
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Retaliation by Gun Play Investigation
    Houston, TX based Attorney Richard “Dick” Bax represented a young lady that allegedly threatened an associate with a gun. Gradoni & Associates Investigate Investigator George Wellmaker was able to obtain Affidavits from three witnesses who were present when the altercation occurred. Each of the witnesses provided Affidavits that
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Credit for Romance Investigation
    Houston, TX based Attorney Richard “Dick” Bax represented a female charged with Credit Card Abuse. Gradoni Detectives Investigate the Matter George Wellmaker interviewed a number of witnesses who knew that the Complainant, who owned the credit card, had actually given the credit card to the Defendant to use in order to enhance his goal
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Stepfather Vs. Stepson Choking Investigation
    Houston, TX based Attorney Franklin Bynum represented a defendant who was charged with the Aggravated Assault of his stepson. An argument erupted between the defendant and his stepson over the stepsons attendance at school. The stepson alleged the stepfather viciously attacked him choking him down to the ground. Gradoni & Associates
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe River Oaks Kidnapping Investigation
    Houston, TX based Attorney Patricia “Patti” Sedita represented a defendant charged with attempting to kidnap a River Oaks housewife as she took her morning run. Houston Police Investigate The Police investigation identified 4 suspects, although witnesses at the scene told the Police there were only 2 abductors. 2 of the suspects
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Ford Mustang Vs. Chevy Corvette Investigation
    Hit & Run Investigation The wife of an individual who was killed racing his Corvette in Montgomery County, TX hired our firm in order to obtain some closure in that case. Our client’s husband was racing a yellow Mustang in his Corvette Convertible when the two vehicles came to a junction where the road narrowed
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsDismissal Mid-Trial in Galveston County, TX
    Houston Attorney Kelly Case was in the middle of a Trial in Galveston County, which was abruptly dismissed after a witness located by Investigator, George Wellmaker, spoke to the Prosecutor, giving information that caused the case to be dismissed. RESULT BASED ON INVESTIGATION: Case Dismissed Return to the April 2011 Investigator’s Newsletter
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Bellville Family Murders
    Houston Attorney Katherine Scardino & Attorney James Rivera represented Maron Thomas charged with killing five family members at their residence in Bellville. Thomas was originally deemed insane and sent to the State Hospital. After a few months of treatment in the form of medication, Thomas was sent back for Trial. The District Attorney’s
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe False Vehicular Assault Claim Investigation
    Houston, TX Lawyer Lana Gordon represented a defendant charged with running over the Complainant with his car twice during an altercation. Gradoni Investigates the Vehicular Assault Claim Investigator Benito Segura located the Complainant and visited the scene. He took representative photos of the residential area, which tended to dispute the
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe SW Houston Nightclub Murder Investigation
    Texas Attorney Charles W. Medlin represented an individual who was charged with a shooting death as a result of an altercation in the parking lot of a club in southwest Houston, TX. The State of Texas had numerous witnesses to the shooting, including the decedent’s brother. One of the Bouncers was accidentally shot in the
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Girlfriend’s Daughter Sex Crime Investigation
    Houston, TX Attorney Monique Sparks represented an individual who was charged with Sexually Assaulting his girlfriend’s daughter. Gradoni & Associates Investigate Our investigation revealed that the allegations were a result of the Complainant’s family’s dislike for the defendant. We also developed information that the child was coerced
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Hung Dog Investigation
    Houston, TX Attorney Stanley Schneider represented an individual who had been accused by his neighbor of hanging his dog by the neck on his fence. Gradoni & Associates Investigate Investigator Benito Segura canvassed the area and was able to identify witnesses who could not support the State’s theory. The evidence led to the belief that
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsThe Case of the Phantom Employees
    Houston, TX based Attorney Jeffery “Jeff” Greco represented a defendant who supervised construction crews in the Valley. The State alleged that the defendant cashed a number of employee checks keeping the money for himself. Gradoni Detectives Investigate We learned that the real story was the company was hiring undocumented workers
  • Licensed Houston Private InvestigatorsA Case of Home Healthcare Love
    Attorney Paul St. John represented a defendant who was a Home Healthcare Provider who became romantically involved with his patient. When the Defendant broke off the relationship, the patient claimed he had sexually assaulted her. Gradoni & Associates Investigate During the course of our investigation, we were able to identify a number of
  • Gradoni and Associates - Private Eyes of TexasThe Case of the Wheelchair Bound Murder
    Attorney Gerald Bourque represented Arnoldo Torres, who was charged, along with two Co-Defendants, with a non-death Capital Murder case. The State alleged that Torres and two other males, who were illegally in the country from Mexico, went to one of Torres’ neighbors’ apartment in order to rob him. Allegedly, the three entered the apartment



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Houston, TX 77068
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