Michael Martinez is the only Latino Licensed Private Investigator in Northern Jersey. I was a Law Enforcement Officer and i also worked as investigator for a Law Firm. We Specialize infidelity investigations, Cohabitation investigations,Cellphone Forensics,Security Camera System installations, Corporate & Residential Electronic Sweeps and more…
Hello and welcome back to the Dr. Nilda Business Foresight Show. I am so excited to have another fabulous guest and I always bring you the best of the best. Here today with me is Michael Martinez. Michael Martinez is the CEO of A Rated Investigations Inc. This is a private investigation firm kind of like Columbo. They are dedicated to exploring infidelity, matrimony, polygraph, security cameras, cell phone, and iPads. I didn’t think they can do that. I didn’t even realize that that’s a possibility. They also do insurance fraud, drone surveillance, and so much more. He is a licensed private investigator in Northern Jersey and he was formerly in law enforcement and started investigation there. Then he went to an investigating law firm and since then he’s been dedicated to helping people search, find, explore and investigate their situation. Mainly for him is the Latino community. So, here with us is Michael Martinez. Thank you so much.
Thank you for welcoming over to this program it is a pleasure to be here.
It’s fabulous to have you here so, of course you know I always ask questions and I want to talk a little bit about your history. You have a very interesting history which we talked about off camera and I want to share that with your audience because often things happen in our lives. Our intuition is to say well that person will never make it and we probably do that often to whole communities. Like if you come from that type of town or you come from that area nothing good can come out of there or nothing good could come out of that. You decide that and so I want you to tell me a little bit about your history.
First of all, when I was a little baby I had many heart conditions. I had murmur which basically put me in a very bad position where I almost died multiple times. Thanks to God that I was able to basically overcome that in time. I ended up being in a foster home because I lived in the hospital for almost three and a half years. I was there baby in the hospital. I ended up working there many years later but, before going to that I was in the foster home. I was put into another home because they couldn’t have me there because they had a daughter that was a dancer and they had enough responsibilities with her so for that reason they had to return me back. When they returned me back to the foster care the state then replaced me in another home. Milagros and Josue Matos were the ones that basically raised me since I was three and a half years old.
Okay so, prior to that you have no recollection of doing those moves from the hospital to the foster home then back to the hospital.
No I was a little boy you have no idea the feeling of that. You’re just thinking that’s your family. As time was going by, we’re going around six years old of age, my mom Milagros basically said “I’ve been told by the state that I have to tell you how where your real parents are because I’m not your real parent.” “I have to tell you that because this is required by the state.”
How was that for you? How is that experience?
For me it was very painful. It was painful because then you’re starting to think about who is my parents or my real parents? Who’s my family? Do I have brothers or sisters? These questions came into my mind. After a time, they did ask for me and they wanted to see me. My real parents wanted to see me at that point I decided to say you know you left me in the hospital. In my head, it’s like you abandoned me which is exactly what it was. I just said well I don’t think you need to see me at that point.
And how old were you?
I would say nine years old because the state gives a period of age as to when you should be told who your real parents are. Or else be you could 15 and you’re like now you tell me? 15 years later? A child wouldn’t understand around that time.
These foster parents pretty much raised you until about what age?
16 and a half years old.
At 16 and a half years old you’re still a child what happened then?
My parents said at that point you’ve always been talking about wanting to leave your home. “You want to be out there and be independent”, I was always telling her that. She says well your dad and I got a job as supers and we’re going to be moving but the only difference is that it’s going to be one bedroom so there’s not going to be room for you and neither son.
Their biological son?
Yes. So, they said you guys must figure out what you’re going to do. You must figure out where you’re going to move to.
16 and a half years old and I was like wow I thought that came a little too fast for me because I wanted to go to college. That’s what I had in mind and if I would have gone to college I probably would have been a prosecutor or a defense attorney. That was my drive at that time. Apparently, that didn’t happen so we ended up getting a room at the State Park Acrid Avenue to be exact. I lived there at 309 Acrid Ave. for five and a half years but her son left after 5 months of the being there. Then I’m really being independent and still going to school. So, it was a challenge but I like school so that was what really intrigued me.
So, let’s fast forward, how did you get involved in law enforcement?
I first got a job in the hospital working part time and still going to school. I ended up going to Passaic General Hospital not letting them know who I was. I didn’t want to know that I was little Mickey a Passaic General child. I didn’t want to use that I wanted to get in myself as a person not as somebody
that is well recognized in the place. I did get a job there I worked in the maintenance department, maintenance engineer department that’s what they called it, basically doing repairs for beds and all sorts of mechanical things in the hospital. I had all the keys and I was the combination watchmen. I was the youngest watchmen in the hospital. Then I worked from that department and went into the x-ray department as a transporter. I was transporting x-rays up and down for several months and then finally I got into security.
So, this was your passion. Now you’re beginning to take that path. So, then you’re doing security
and then you left the hospital? Is that what you did?
No I stayed in security for approximately a year and a half and then finally I had an opportunity to work for the Sheriff’s Department in Patterson. So, when that came through I got involved with politics and started seeing that with politics you can have ways of getting into different positions and so forth. I used the political card and I got involved and got a job in the Sheriff’s Department.
When you say, a job was it police officer?
Corrections officer. I worked with, approximately at that time, 650 inmates. They had also a maximum security, medium security, and just general population. So, I worked there and it was very interesting. I worked a lot of hours. I used to work a lot of double shifts yeah and then I ended up buying a new car and moved up until finally I got hit by a car. Five months into it got a broken tibia bone. I ended up in the hospital and after that I had to recover and it took me eight months to recover.
What happened to you during this time? Who’s taking care of you? Where were, you living?
At that time, I had to move back to where the foster parents were but that was only a condition until I could get recovered from the injury. I then ended up moving out of their home and then going back into another home on the same street. It was the house next to it and it was an attorney who owned the home but he was divorced and he needed someone to take care of the home and be able to live there. So, I ended up renting there, taking care of the home and living there. From there on I just worked for the state police.
You were already on that road to investigations, law enforcement so how long were you there and when did you realize that you had pretty much a business and a calling to become an investigator? When was that aha moment for you?
Well as I worked in the law enforcement and the state police that was almost a year at the time. It was a political appointment I had done another job there as a senior clerk typist which I couldn’t even type but I did what it took. I could handle the job there until finally I got involved in the police department there and then that was a political appointment and things went out where I ended up exiting out from there. I got married moved out to California and when you go you lose everything out here and then I was there for three and a half years. I didn’t like it after being there for three and a half months but I had no choice because it’s a big move. Then finally I moved out to Florida and that was for security consulting for this company. The company is called Jesus Behind Bars and then there were some issues there that I wasn’t pleased with the way management was and issues that were going on so, I decided to exit out of there and come back to Jersey.
I always feel that when those things happen, when you start feeling that discomfort, it is God telling you it’s time to go. The assignment is over. Our path oftentimes we’re in situations where we’re uncomfortable or unhappy and then we blame it on the situation or blame it on the boss or the way that they manage. The reality is that when it doesn’t fit anymore it is because God is moving you.
Unless you come into a situation where they’re doing illegal activities and you don’t want to be part of.
So, you worked for them in Florida but, you’re back. At what point, did you come back?
A little over 10 months.
That is quite unusual I just want you to know. Most of the time when people move out of New York or New Jersey or this North-East area it’s very hard if they come back. Most of the time they never come back for whatever reason. What made you come back?
The reason I came back is because I figured out that I’ve been to other states and they don’t have all the contacts that I had in the state of New Jersey that I’m not going to find. I had to rebuild myself and who knows it could take 6, 5, 10 years. I didn’t want to wait for that I believe time is of the essence and I wanted to use that time wisely instead of trying to rebuild my whole life again. So, I decided to move back to New Jersey and I started reconnecting with all my contacts.
When you came back did you immediately start the investigation firm?
No, guess what happened? I started a little business it was called Alpha Omega Legal Services. Unbeknownst to myself I didn’t know that I couldn’t do investigations. I started doing investigations for law firms and after some months of working a lot I didn’t know that I had to be licensed.
They never asked you this?
It comes down to the way you present yourself, how you come into the law firm, and how you explain what you do. I did work for a law firm – so when they knew that I knew what I needed to do why would they question that? I started saying this is something I need to look into. SO, I started looking into it and I spoke to someone and they said you have to be licensed to do that. I was like what because you could get into some serious trouble. I had also spoke to a state trooper about it.
These are things that we need to know when we’re in business and I love that lesson because as a foresight strategist I work with a lot of businesses and especially small businesses. It’s not just about hanging a shingle sometimes you need a whole lot more than that. So, continue your story.
I learned quickly and of course quit that because you have got to do things right. So, later down the road I then started applying for another firm and this was I think a two-office firm. One in New York and one in New Jersey to do surveillances investigations and the guy put me on the case for like four days.
Were you in the process of becoming licensed?
No this was to get into the field because you want to get into the field the right way it’s very difficult to get into the field as a PI. A lot of people want to be PI’s is but it’s not easy. I give opportunities to people today but for others they don’t do that. So, for me what I did was I ended up getting involved with this company the guy just cut me off after four days and stopped calling me. I said well why is he doing that? So, I called the guy and he says well there’s no work and I say okay well let me know when there is. Several weeks go by and then I see an ad in the paper and I decide to say what’s going on I thought you said that you didn’t have any work? He goes are you investigating me? I was taken back I’m like investigating you? Why would I want to do that for? I’m just looking for work that’s all. I’m honestly looking for work in the field of investigations. Well, he got upset with me and basically cut me off. Somewhat three months later I went with another firm it’s called A+ Investigations and I worked with them. I was working for like a year and a half. I did extremely well with them. I was probably what I would consider one of the best investigators and then shortly after that I went with another investigator who was subcontracted with them. Basically, was making way more money with him and less hours and I did extremely well for five and a half years with him. You must establish a period of time in order for you to get a license.
How long did it take you to get this license?
It normally takes five years including law enforcement experience and any investigative experience that I had as an investigator for a law firm which I did have. Even though I reached that period of time I wanted a little bit more. I just wanted to get more experience which I did. I could have applied for it earlier but I didn’t. Finally, a couple years after the stock I said okay let me apply for it. In 2008 I applied for it and I went through clear. They must do a serious background check federal, state, the whole nine yards.
So, you get licensed and do you immediately go off on your own or do you stay with the firm a little longer?
Well I do a little bit with them but at this point I started doing some research. I got involved with doing some research with a project that I have a passion for this the alternative wellness area. That’s another project that we can talk about in the future.
I will probably talk about that a little bit at the end because it’s interesting to see what you’re doing. You started your firm in 2000 what?
In 2008 I established it after I got the license. I already established a company before that it was called Morton Bergen Associates. I used that to get deductions for myself because a lot of the companies wouldn’t pay you for the mileage that’s one of the reasons why I left A+. They didn’t want to pay me for my mileage so I probably lost like fifteen thousand dollars but what I did to gain it was to establish a company. As I established a company that gave me the upper hand to get write-offs.
So, you started investigations, I’ll be honest with you are the first real life investigator that I’ve met other than Columbo. You always have these ideas of people like Columbo being the investigator and you do very interesting things. I mean everybody knows about the infidelity because that you do but for me mainly what has really fascinated me was the fact that all of the the surveillance and the research that you do on cell phones, iPads, computer, forensics like I didn’t realize that an investigator has the power to do that. I thought that was the police department so I never saw that as one and the same with investigation. Talk to me a little bit about that.
First of all, when we do get a license we’re licensed through the state and through the basically what monitors us is the special department of the state police. They have a detective unit and so the state police are the ones that are monitoring us. Then that’s where the caliber changes right there. Now your point was you wanted to find out what other point did you wan to find out?
My question was I never knew that an investigator actually did this cellphones and iPads kind of like research investigation. Where you’re actually trying to get, information based on someone’s cell phone. I thought that that was private. Where you really piqued my interest was when you explained to me you can even do this with an iPhone. I thought IPhone were untouchable.
We do have the ability to extract any deleted messages, videos, texts, or anything that has been deleted on these phones. Now it is very important to explain why we can do it and who can we can do it for. Let’s say for example you may have an issue saying Michael I locked myself out of my phone. We can decode it, we get the code the password. Or you say I dropped my phone it’s cracked I need to get access to all this data here but Verizon cannot do it or whatever you carry cannot do it. Well we’ll say let’s help you with that. We can extract everything out of there and then we can always transfer it on to another phone or computer or wherever the hard drive. Or, we can extract a report which is every phone call, everything that was text, email, and anything that you’ve had communication. What’s APP and everything out that everyone is using. We will be able to extract these things so that way you can use it. Now what is also beneficial is if you’re married okay gives it even more the right for the wife or the husband to extract all that juicy information. Many people are not aware that we can do it. The only time you cannot extract the information is if they did a reset or a factory reset on the phone. Most people are not going to do that they have all the contacts and everything in there then I go unless they’re doing something that they know they shouldn’t be doing.
Then tell me about the drone surveillance.
Drone surveillance is used when we cannot get to this particular area. Say for example you have someone that has committed insurance fraud and let’s say this particular person does house cleaning. She’s going to an estate and it’s gated. We have no access we can’t see her doing the labor or the work. We bring the drones out there and high above they go up a mile or so above in the distance. Then we can videotape in high-definition exactly what they’re doing regarding their work chores especially if they do it outside. Those are used for circumstances or if they’re committing adultery we can have access to certain properties. The only thing we cannot do is go into their home videotape in into home even if we see them in an act of whatever it may be infidelity or whatever the case may be.
In the home?
We cannot videotape from the outside in. If they’re outside on the patio out to public yes, we can videotape as much as we want. Even though it’s on their property but we’re up in the air.
You guys are super techy and you’re really up with the times. You are very innovative you’re very creative in your methods of doing investigations. Where do you see your business five years from now?
Well in five years I’ve already talked to the guy that I worked for five and a half years he has a well-established business and we’ve been talking about me basically purchasing his business. I want to buy him out. He’s retired as a Port Authority cop and I mean has his business and he’s going to be retired from the PI business so he told me I’ll give you the offer first.
In terms of investigation, the trends and the direction that investigations are all going are you monitoring that? Are you watching that? Do you see where you guys have to like up your game or are you actually watching this?
I am I also get the publications relating to our field. We always keep up to date as to what’s going on but what we’re seeing is that the forensics is the specialty that we do have is growing. I mean incredibly also social media which is another area that we are expanding and it’s growing. Right now, the technology that is coming up where if you have a photo of somebody and you don’t know who this person is we can take. Now what’s going to happen within the next three months you can take this person’s photo scan and set it into this particular database that we have just for PIs or law enforcement and it goes through all the different pictures and the names. We’re talking about thousands because not they have facial recognition. So, that picks up the person and boom it’s the name of who this person is. Then with that we can connect to do further investigations.
There are no secrets in the world. Okay so you can focus more on the Latino community and I want you to explain to me why? Why is that kind of your focal point? You can do this for anyone but that has been your focal point explain to me why?
The reason why I believe that it’s important that we do help the Latinos because they’re not familiar with the technologies and with the services that we provide. We’d like to educate them as to what we can do for them especially when it has to do with an infidelity. They become extremely amazed when we tell them well we can do this or we can do that and they’re like yeah because we also track them to when we are doing surveillances. What we’re doing balances as long as there is a marital issue. We cannot track somebody that’s a friend. We cannot do that it’s illegal but if it’s a marital relationship we can put GPSs on them track them in combination with all the other technologies that we use together and be able to get a solid grasp as to who and what they are and where they’re going with their relationship.
Let me ask you what are the signs of cheating?
Signs of cheating is when they’re on their phone too much. They try to cover and delete a lot of things. Put the password on their phone. Where they are basically out they stay out late and they say oh I’m going to work five hours later I have this project. There are differences between men and women though. That was my next question. It’s mostly me thought isn’t it.
It used to be. It used to be mostly men were the cheaters. At one point, it was 75/25 now it is 50/50. The women are very good. The thing is that the women already get dressed, they got the perfume on, they’re already in the gym, they were already taking care of themselves so the odds of him knowing if she’s doing something are very slim. Unless she literally leaves her phone open with the text messages with the relationship going on he will never know. A man will normally just say it’s time to go to the gym but, he hasn’t been to the gym in like 20 years. They start wearing new clothes, cologne, they need to get a haircut you know things start to change. That’s when we start getting those little signs like that there are many others but that’s one of them.
I want to talk about trackers. Trackers are those hidden cameras in the homes. I know a lot of people are using these are these legal? Can people use these? How and why?
Trackers and hidden cameras are two different topics in itself.
Let’s talk about one at a time.
Trackers as I said before can only be used in a situation with a relationship or a son or daughter. So, say for example you have a son and daughter they’re going to go out. They said mom I’m going to go out with Marry okay and also because you know Mary lives around a couple miles but you know where she lives. So, is she going to Mary’s house or is she going to Steve’s house? Trackers will basically be able to detect where is it that she’s gone. It goes almost like 50 feet to a point of where they’re at, how fast she drives, where she stops, how long she stopped, what day it was, the time exactly and remember that we can go back easily four to five days get a whole record of that.
So, that’s tracking?
That’s tracking but it can be used with the daughters, she can use it with her husband, or her husband can use it on the wife.
So, basically, it’s family members it cannot be used for friends. Can somebody do it with somebody that they are living with even if they’re not legally married?
No, because there’s not a legal bond of them being married so they have to be married and also to be used. They could turn around and say you’re following me it would be harassment it could be stalking they could turn all sorts of different things around because sooner or later that party is going to know who is following them. They all of a sudden show up wherever they’re at like how did you know I was there?
Very interesting okay so let’s talk about the hidden cameras.
Hidden cameras can be of all types. They could be a bear. They could really on a shaving cream bottle. They can be almost any object.
Is that legal because that to me is so uncomfortable and extremely invasive. You know the privacy of your home you want to be comfortable. Why would anybody do that?
Well if it’s in your own home you can put cameras in your home it’s legal to do that. You have major companies out there they can tell you oh you can put a camera in an entrance way you can do all those things. You cannot put it in bedrooms and you cannot put them in bathrooms. We’ve had a case where one guy decided to buy hidden cameras and I advised him to be careful where he put it at. He did not want to heed my advice. He ended up putting it in a vacation home in another state. He ended up putting it in the bathrooms and the bedrooms and lo and behold what ended up happening was that he did catch his wife in infidelity. But, he also caught some children, he also cut some of the ladies using the bathroom and that became a nightmare. So, the cops got involved and he is going to get arrested and will go to court. The problem was what that when his wife; her boyfriend, and nobody knew this I guess only because of the video, was doing drugs not knowing that he was doing it in the bathroom so he got caught. The cops caught her boyfriend so I mean it was a double whammy. She tried to get her husband for it but then she got her boyfriend also at the same time. So, that’s why it’s very dangerous. You can have cameras in your homes okay and you can because you might need a nanny cam for someone taking care of your child. And you can control that online they won’t know but you’ll know. We do those but in regards to your privacy you know that is an issue. You can have little cameras in your home. You’ll be surprised how small they. They can be as small as the wire but connected to a little device and that could transmit it as long as it has a battery and support. They can install them anywhere and then you won ‘t know and they can view you from whatever part of the world. This is where we come in because we do electronic sweeps. We go into your home, business we do corporate, we also do residential, and we are able to find these bug or cameras. By the time everything is said and done we will provide a report this is what we found or this wasn’t found. This is one way to give that peace of mind to our clients.
What are the last words and thoughts that you want to leave with the audience? What do you want them to take away? I also want your website but why would you hire an investigator? What is inappropriate and what is the takeaway?
The take away is peace of mind so that is what we like to provide peace of mind to our clients. Aside from that is to know that you’re dealing with a group of professionals that are there to help you out every step of the way. I’m very close with my clients. They become friends. Most of them become friend the ones that don’t become friends are the ones that are embarrassed of the circumstances. As we find out that there was somebody else even though some of them that we found out that there’s someone else some of them you know I have very close ties with them. The clients they come in again I repeat clients that come in because they want this service and they want that service. My point is to provide them peace of mind if they have that peace of mind I know I’m doing my job. This is my field and I am an expert at doing what I do very well so that’s what I want to basically leave for my clients. Let them know that if they need any of our services because we do have a website that would provide you the many service that we didn’t even speak about.
In English and in Spanish.
The website is in English but they also have a tab that they can click on which they can click on to Espanol. The website is www.ARatedPI.com and on that site, you can certainly click on to the Spanish section and then you can connect right to the Spanish website. We have 40 pages on website each but you know something if individuals don’t have the education or information as to what we can do it’s always good to let them know that we can provide them this service. Because then they go wow I didn’t know we could do this I didn’t know we could do that and that makes them feel secure. That’s why we want to give them the security to know that we can do anything of course with using with the law as we know the law.
Beautiful so if they want to get a hold of you and this is in New Jersey, right?
My license is in the state of New Jersey. If the case comes to me from New York I refer to another PI in New York that already have my own contacts in New York other licensed PIs.
Then again and you can probably do this tristate or even further because you know other investigators then you can connect people with. Okay so you’ve given us a lot of information on investigations and how they go about it and what you do and how do you do it and I love it. So, if they want to get a hold of you give me a website.
The website again is www.ARatedPI.com and the address is 10 Forest Avenue, Suite #6 Paramus, New Jersey 07652. You can call me at 201-674-9609. We’re there to provide you the peace of mind that you need so feel free to call us whenever even if you want to talk to us. I do provide a 30-minute free consultation time for my clients and that’s one sufficient amount of time for them to get an idea of what they want to do.
Okay fabulous so, I want to thank you Michael for coming in and for being here and sharing this information which I think is awesome. I look forward to seeing you again and I want to thank you.
Interview With Michael Martinez CEO A Rated Investigations, Inc.
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