Fishing skills

PI mom who honed her ‘lie detector’ skills as a child helps companies catch scammers

A private detective claims being a mother has trained her to speak out against wrongdoing for wealthy corporations after years as a “human lie detector” detecting when her children said nasty things. As CEO of Cluso Investigation, which she founded in 2008, Sharon Sutila, 52, has been threatened by furious people after scolding their deceptions and even reporting men on the FBI’s fugitive list.

But the divorcee from Delaware, USA, says she saves her best detective skills to look after her children, business administrator Marissa Vigano, 28, and Tesla Sutila, 12. She said: ‘My kids always knew they wouldn’t get away with it if you didn’t tell me the truth.

She added: “My skills mean that I stay as neutral as possible, even if I don’t trust what they tell me. I don’t call them, I try to stay calm and know if they tell me. tell the truth.

“They’re aware of that, so they’ve grown up knowing it’s always best to tell the truth. If they’ve ever told me they don’t have homework when they do, they know I’ll do it. discover. “

When Marissa was little and tried to hide a bad grade from her mother, Sharon not only found out, but also showed her daughter the New York Criminal Code – making sure she knew dishonest actions had consequences. She said, “I think that scared her to death!”

Sharon with Tesla at age two in 2011

Sharon’s detective skills first emerged when she was a 12-year-old schoolgirl. Facing a bully who wrote a nasty note and broke a valuable vinyl record, Sharon was determined to expose the culprit.

Inspired by the investigative work of Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, two popular mystery-solving fictional characters, she used handwriting analysis to catch them. Comparing the handwriting on other students’ homework to that scribbled on the note, Sharon quickly unmasked the vandal.

When the bully admitted her crime, Sharon’s spy skills showed she was already well on her way to becoming a private detective. She said: ‘I really love forensic documentaries behind police work and have always been fascinated by the motives and how it all comes to light.

She added: ‘I wish I could have been a homicide investigator like Lt. Joe Kenda. And I loved Nancy Drew growing up.”

When Sharon, a computer and research enthusiast, graduated with an engineering degree from the University of South Florida in 1992, she was supposed to join the family fishing and seafood business. Desperate to find her own path in life, she joined the multinational technology company IBM in 1995, where she worked as a consultant.

It was there that she realized she could use her coding skills and talent for surveys to find potential new employees. She said: “On the projects I was on, there were several people who didn’t tell the truth on their CVs.

“Back then, the controls weren’t as rigorous as they are now. People put in degrees they never took and qualifications they never had.”

Sharon's work is in demand by companies keen to catch scammers on their payroll
Sharon’s work is in demand by companies keen to catch scammers on their payroll

By embarking on a background check job, she learned to search and navigate easily accessible public data. She quickly became an essential part of the process, helping the company all over the world, using code that sifted through and analyzed credit header information.

This usually contained a person’s name, aliases, date of birth, social security number, current and previous addresses, and phone number. Sharon said: ‘I wanted to know more about the person otherwise I couldn’t be sure they weren’t lying to me.

“I love research, understanding things and solving problems. I like challenges. I tend to dig if something interests me. That’s how I’ve always been.

Jetsetter Sharon can fly a plane
Jetsetter Sharon can fly a plane

She added, “What initially attracted me to computers was the problem-solving aspect.” While movies often portray private investigators as men in raincoats sitting in their car, Sharon says her methods are “much scarier” because she can spot lies from the comfort of her computer.

She said: “Private investigations are a lot scarier in real life because I don’t have to leave the house. I mainly work on letting people tell me what they want to tell me first, and I will try to see if they are honest.

While Sharon’s job has led to some nasty threats, armed with over 20 years of experience, she says nothing bothers her. She recalled how a man, unhappy with what she had found out about her, told her he knew where she lived.

Another time, the FBI got involved as she uncovered information about a man in a case they were working on. She said: “I have been threatened, but I will not let anyone stop me from doing my job just because they are aggressive.

“I’m not going to stop what I’m doing because of a threat.” Working in a male-dominated industry, Sharon says she has always pushed to break down biases and barriers.

And she even used her experience of feeling “lost” in offices surrounded by men as inspiration for her debut novel, The Stealing. She said: “Defending equality for women is my life’s passion.

Dynamic Sharon is pictured driving a speedboat
Dynamic Sharon is pictured driving a speedboat

“Challenging gender biases and stereotypes about women is critically important in tackling this issue. I wrote my book by starting my character with a lot of my own background.”

She added, “I grew up around the same time as the book and went through the same gender norms, which can mean women can’t do or achieve certain things. In the book, the character starts out the same way I do – I was told I couldn’t go my own way and she’s trying to find her purpose in the world.

The Stealing by SA Sutila is now available in hardcover and ebook.

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