Insurance fraudsters, cheating spouses and thieving business partners – Bill Joynt has seen, and caught, them all.
As a private investigator with more than two decades of experience, 53-year-old Joynt has pretty much done it all, from going undercover with pinhole cameras to engineering movie-style police shakedowns on large theft operations. He has even dressed up as a fake CEO — in the fake office of a fake company — to catch a corporate executive suspected of selling company secrets.
Today Joynt is president of private investigations firm The Investigators Group Inc. in Toronto, covering all aspects of investigation from fraud and theft to evidence collection and domestic cases.
Joynt has assisted police investigations in the past, though these days he has traded in field work for the somewhat less exciting world of the office boardroom. He says the best part of his job is the variety.
“I enjoy it because it’s different every day. You meet different people all the time and you’re helping people out of very different situations,” Joynt said.
While Joynt doesn’t generally consider his job dangerous, he has been in his share of hair-raising situations. He once had a suspect drop a television set aimed at his head from a balcony of an apartment building and in one undercover case he sat down in a room of potential murder suspects around a coffee table covered in loaded guns.
These days many of the cases Joynt takes on end up being related to fraud or theft, particularly on the corporate scale. One case Joynt remembers fondly from his undercover days involved catching an executive who was selling secrets from his former employers despite having signed a non-competition contract upon leaving the firm. Joynt created an elaborate hoax to trap the executive into spilling the beans on-camera.
“We had fake financial records, a fake office, a fake secretary and we had the whole place wired for video and sound,” Joynt said.
As for domestic cases, while Joynt says the stereotypical cases of spousal cheating do crop up, more common investigations revolve around far more serious issues, such as child endangerment in custody disputes or fraudulent claims around child support.
Joynt says the rush that comes with rooting out liars, cheaters and thieves is often its own reward.
“It’s fun actually catching them, proving that someone is responsible for something wrong,” Joynt said.
Yet, one of Joynt’s proudest cases involved helping clear the name of wrongfully convicted scrapyard owner Chris Bates of a murder charge in Cowansville, Que., in 1998. Joynt and his business partner Sean Gladney discovered powerful evidence that exonerated Bates and pointed to two other men as the culprits. The lesson, Joynt says, is that the truth is worth pursuing.