"So you think this is insurance fraud?" AJ asked the CEO of Pittman Insurance, Georgina Stephens. She was an attractive brunette in her 30's.
"I believe it is," replied Georgina." We have a number of these cases which I want you both to check out. The first was Albert Harrison who was killed in a car accident 4 years ago. His widow got a hefty insurance pay out. A few weeks ago the widow was seen down in Mexico with someone who looked very much like Mr Harrison."
"Do you have a photo?" asked AJ..
Georgina handed him the file and he flicked through it.
"So how many of these cases are you concerned about?" Rick asked.
"25 that I've come across so far. All signed by the same underwriter," replied Georgina.
"So how come you have come to us? " AJ asked. "You have your own insurance investigators."
She nodded. "I do but these are high profile cases and I'm not sure if my investigators are in on it. And you guys are supposed to be the best I heard."
"We are the best and we get results," replied Rick.
"Good and I need to let you know. This is completely confidential," Georgina said.
"That's our middle name," replied AJ with a smile.
"Actually your middle name is Jackson," Rick said with a snort.
AJ glared at Rick. "You have a point there. Georgina. We will investigate this with complete discretion. You have our word on that." He gave her his most winning smile. Georgina flushed slightly as she returned the smile.
"We'll give you daily updates on the investigation and a completion report when the investigation is finished," continued Rick rolling his eyes when he saw the looks his brother and Georgina were giving each other. "We will need to take the files though."
"That's fine. You have the authority to do whatever is necessary," she replied.
"The first thing Rick and I will do is come up with a plan. Don't worry. We'll get the bad guys," AJ said standing up. He picked up the files and handed them to Rick. He handed Georgina his business card and put his hand on her arm. "I can be reached day or night if you need to call to see how the case is going. And this is my private cell phone number." He wrote the number on the back of the business card.
Rick rolled his eyes again.
"Since when do you give your private cell phone number out to clients," Rick asked as they both entered the elevator to their office.
"She's a client Rick. Sometimes they need that extra personal touch," replied AJ.
Rick nodded. "Extra personal touch eh? Uhuh..."
AJ ignored him as they both entered the office. Caron looked up from the laptop screen. "Good your both back," she said. " Twitter account is up and ready. Did you want to tweet anything particular for your first tweet? Rick, Shelly called. She wanted to know if you were going to return the favor. Whatever favor that was she sounded pretty angry. "
"What did you do to Shelly?" AJ asked with amusement.
"Ah nothing," replied Rick. "Where there any other calls?"
"Mom called to see how I was getting on. She's on Twitter too you know. So is Janet. She said she would follow us ," replied Caron.
"Mom's on Twitter?" AJ asked.
" Yep. She said she would retweet for us, " replied Caron. " How did your meeting go? "
"What's a retweet?" asked Rick sitting down at his desk.
"It's when you tweet something and someone else shares that tweet to their followers," replied AJ. He looked at Caron. "Right?"
"Yep right, " she replied smiling at her brother. "So what do you want your first tweet to be?"
"How about "Simon and Simon. Confidential Investigations". " replied AJ
"You know it's all about networking and building up a rapport with your followers so it can't be all business related, " Caron said.
Rick let out a big yawn. "We do have a case to investigate you know AJ."
"#grumpydinosaur," replied Caron with a smirk.
"#wehaveacasetoinvestigate," replied Rick.
"You know about hashtags?" AJ asked in surprise.
"Course I know about hashtags. I'm not a complete idiot!" exclaimed Rick.
"#Couldvefooledme," muttered Caron under her breath.
Rick ignored the sniggers coming from his two youngest siblings. "We need to go through these files one by one and see if there is a correlation."
"Ok I sent our first tweet. What's the case?"
"Insurance fraud. The CEO thinks their clients are faking their own deaths and that one of the underwriters is involved," explained AJ taking one of the files from the box to look at it.
Caron took a couple of files out too and began to read them. "This is bizarre. "
"What's that Sis?" Rick asked.
"This client here Marilyn Greenfield. 30 years old. Her husband is nearly 70. He's wealthy and has a heart condition. He could drop dead any moment. She stands to get $20 million if he dies from natural causes." She picked up another file "This one Sandra Panetta 36. Stands to get $30 million if her husband dies. He's also wealthy and older than her."
"Same story with this one here," AJ indicating the file in his hand.
"So we have at least 4 cases. Georgina suspected there was 25. All the same MO. They all have the same underwriter..." mused Rick.
"You think what I am thinking?" AJ asked.
"That you both are going undercover to flush out the bad guy," replied Caron.
"Yeah that's right," replied AJ. "How do you know that? " Rick asked at the same time as AJ.
"Because I've seen how you two work. You both put on silly disguises that anyone can see through..."
"Silly disguises? We happen to very proud of our undercover work I have you know! " exclaimed Rick indignantly.
"Granted some of our disguises could do a little updating, " AJ said ignoring the look that Rick gave him. "What do you suggest Caroline?"
Caron pointed at the file she had left down on the table. "This one. "
"What about it?" Rick asked leaning over to pick it up.
"Kendall Harrell. 26 years old. Married to an oil magnet. Not yet dead yet. Stands to inherit $55 million on her husband's death, " replied Caron.
AJ glanced at his sister and then at Rick. "As silly as you think our disguises are he doesn't have the legs to impersonate a woman. They're too hairy. " He shook his head as if to dispel the image.
"I have you know I have a great pair of legs! Just put me in a pair of high heels. I can pull it off! " exclaimed Rick with a little indignation.
"How do you explain the moustache though?" Caron asked looking a little puzzled.
"Hormone problem,"replied Rick.
" I don't think this is going to work this time, " Caron said looking at both of her brothers.
"What do you suggest then little sis? " AJ asked.
"This Kendall, she's 26. From this photo she looks to be my height... Caron started to say only to be interrupted by Rick. "No way. You are not trained for undercover work. It's too dangerous!"
"It's hardly dangerous Rick. It's just impersonating someone to get information ," replied Caron.
"Are you sure about this Caroline?" AJ asked for about the hundredth time.
"I'll be fine'" replied Caron as Rick affixed a listening device and camera onto her black dress. It was in the form of a silver star brooch. Caron had on a black hat which was covered with black netting which went over her face.
"I can't believe you talked me into doing this, "Rick said for what seemed the hundredth time as well.
"Relax you two. It's a quick in and out. And Rick will be with me, " Caron said not wanting to show how nervous she was in front of her brothers.
"Ok. That's you wired up. AJ will be on the other end and I'll be with you, " Rick said again.
"If you feel you can't handle it just get out. We won't fault you if you can't do it... " AJ started to say but was interrupted by his sister. "Guys! I'll be fine!"
She got out of the Power Wagon and started to walk away.
"Hey wait up," Rick called as he jumped out of the pick up. He was wearing his cowboy hat with a beige suit and black bow tie.
"Ok Caroline. When you get in there make sure you give me a visual on the exits, office layt," AJ said into the microphone .
She nodded when she heard his voice over the earpiece. Rick opened the door for her as they both approached the reception desk. The receptionist looked up from her computer when she saw the two.
"Hi. I'm Kendall Harrell," Caron said in a southern accent. I've an appointment with...oh excuse me... " She searched in her purse and pulled out a bundle of papers. "Oh it's here somewhere..." The receptionist looked bored as Caron emptied her entire purse on the desk.
"You'll have to excuse my little sister. Her husband passed away," Rick said with a drawl. "Darlin' we were meeting with Ms Hopland."
" Hopland! Yes we have a meeting with Doris Hopland, " Caron sighed dabbing her eyes with a tissue. She sniffed loudly. "My husband. My sweet lovely elderly husband died." She let out a loud sob and turned her head face into Rick's jacket.
"There there Kendall, " Rick said soothingly patting her back. "Please tell Ms Hopland that we are here."
Caron let out another loud sob as they walked over to the waiting area.
"My poor husband. Cut down in the prime of his life," she sniffed as they sat down in front of the Insurance agent. Doris Hopland was a small woman in her late 40's. Her black hair was tied back in a severe bun at the back of her
" Honey, he was 80 years old with a heart condition, " replied Rick.
"Yes. And he was so good in the sack, " replied Caron turning to Doris who had a look of shock on her face. "He was so virile. We just did it at every opportunity. You don't think that's what killed him do you? Would that affect the Insurance?"
Doris cleared her throat before speaking. "No. I don't think it will Mrs Harrell. But I will need to run this by my manager first before we can issue a check."
"is there any reason why you need to do that first?" asked Rick.
"It's procedure. It's quite a big policy your husband had and we just have to go through a few things first. It's procedure."
"And how long does this...procedure take? " Rick asked.
"A week to 10 days..."
" 10 days! Is there any way you could speed that up? " Caron asked.
"I'll see what we can do," replied Doris standing up. Rick and Caron stood up as well. "I'll be in touch. "
"Thank you. You've been so kind...this has been an awful time... " Caron said with another loud sob. She reached out and took Doris by the hand and shook it. "Thank you so much."
Doris watched as Rick led Caron out the door as she enjoyed sniffed loudly. Doris didn't realize that Caron had planted a bug on her underside of her desk.
"Great work," Rick said to her as they made their way to the Power Wagon.
"You really have a knack for this," AJ said when they got in.
"That was so much fun! " exclaimed Caron excitedly.
"It's work sis," replied Rick. He looked at AJ. "Have you got anything yet?"
" No. Not yet. We're gonna have to wait till end of business before we go in, " AJ said adjusting the screen on the laptop. "Perfect picture." They watched the comings and goings of the office building.
"Caroline. This is the boring part of being an investigator. Surveillance. You could be sitting for hours waiting for something to happen... "AJ said as he peered through a pair in of binoculars.
"Sometimes you could be busting for a pee, starving and too tired to keep your eyes open... "continued Rick.
"Oh look at that the SFPD retweeted us, " Caron exclaimed looking at her cellphone "So did Janet."
"Put that thing away! " "Janet retweeted? " Rick and AJ spoke at the same time. Rick glared at his blond brother.
"What?" asked AJ ignoring the look he got from Rick. "Did she say anything?"
"She just said to say hi, " replied Caron. AJ gave her a small smile but turned his attention to the laptop.
"Anything from Hopland?" Rick asked.
"No. She made a couple of phone calls but nothing about Harrell," replied AJ. "She left wbout 5 minutes ago saying something going to see her mother. "
"She might have emailed which means we need to get a look at her computer, "'Caron said.
"Only thing about that is there is a security guard patrolling the building. We're gonna need a distraction, " mused Rick.
"Rent a plant might work," AJ said. " or send in Ernie. "
"I don't think either are going to work this time, " replied Rick.
"This might work," Caron said as she unbuttoned the buttons of her black dress.
Her two brothers eyes grew wide as she fixed herself so that she was showing some cleavage "What are you doing?" asked Rick as she got out of the Power Wagon.
She looked back at them and smiled. "Creating a distraction."
They watched as she sashayed across the parking lot. "That's certainly a distraction ," Rick said.
" Rick. I know how reluctant you are to train her as an investigator. But you gotta admit. She has good instincts, " AJ said as they both watched as the security guard made a beeline for the dark haired woman.
"Maybe...ok...that's our cue..." Rick said as Caron got into the patrol car.
Rick and AJ sat at Doris 's desk going through all her files.
"There's nothing here to indicate she's involved," AJ said stifling a yawn.
"It's probably on the computer...on the cloud..." replied Rick.
AJ looked at him with amusement. "How do you know about the cloud?"
"Little Brother. I know a bit about clouds. ..and not the ones that bring rain to San Diego! "
"I'm surprised that's all...after all it was only last year that you learned about email," teased AJ. He turned on the computer but let out a sigh. "Dammit. It needs a password."
Before Rick could say anything a loud noise that sounded like something falling over reverberated in the corridor outside. The two men glanced at one another and drew their guns. They moved stealthily across the floor and took up positions on either side of the closed door. They made eye contact and nodded at each other.
The door opened and Rick grabbed the person from behind who squealed in surprise. AJ pointed his gun and torch at the individual. "Caroline!" he exclaimed in surprise.
"You guys frightened the life out of me! " exclaimed Caron as she rubbed her arm.
"I thought you were going to wait in the Power Wagon after your rendezvous with he security guard," Rick said..
"I thought you might need me here Did you find anything?"
"No hard copies and we can't get into laptop. Needs a password. " AJ showed her the laptop.
"Move over," she said pushing AJ off the chair. She tapped on the keyboard and after a minute or two she looked up and said "Bingo."
"You got in? " Rick asked moving over to look at the laptop.
"Hacked in," she replied glancing quickly at her two brothers
"Hacked in? Where did you learn how to do that? " Aj asked.
"Oh...Minneapolis..." Caron said. "We can download some of these files."
"I thought you were a waitress in Minneapolis... "AJ started to say getting the feeling that his sister wasn't being totally honest with him.
"Tips AJ... " Caron said smiling at her brother. "There must be a memory card in here somewhere." She rummaged about in the desk drawers. She glanced quickly at her brothers but they were now engrossed in the information on the laptop. "Here's one."
"How long will this take to download? "Rick asked as they started to download the files.
"About 15 minutes or so, " replied Caron.
The two men had moved over to the window and kept watch on the parking lot.
"Any chance you can hurry that up?" AJ asked as he noticed that the security patrol car had driven in.
"Afraid not," replied Caron.
"In about 7 minutes that security guard will be on this floor," Rick said as he looked at his watch.
"You two go. There's no point in all 3 of us going to jail! " Caron said tapping on the keyboard trying to hurry up the file transfer.
"No way!" "Absolutely not! " the other two said together.
"Just go. I can handle this! "
Rick and AJ glance at each other. "Ok. Be careful!" Rick said as he and AJ quietly left the room. AJ looked back at her as she sat at the desk. "Meet us back at the Power Wagon when you are done"
She nodded and looked at her watch. 10 minutes left to download. 4 minutes before the security guard came in.
7 minutes. 3 minutes.
2 minutes. 45 seconds.
"Come on!" she muttered.
She heard a creek in the floorboards outside the room. 1 second left to download. The door opened.
To be continued