is an editor of Private Wealth magazine and the president of Prince
& Associates, Inc., the leading market research firm specializing
in private wealth. He is a highly sought consultant to the
ultra-high-net-worth and elite advisors and originated the use of
high-net-worth psychology in the financial services sector. He is the
author of more than 40 books on private wealth and is frequently cited
as an expert in the national and international press.
Mitch Gitter is president of Defender Security Services, a leading provider of crisis management, investigative and protection services for the high-net-worth community.View all articles by Mitch Gitter
Ms. Grove is a respected author, columnist and speaker and a leading authority on the mindset, behavior, concerns, preferences and finances of high-net-worth individuals. She is the executive editor of Private Wealth, the first and only magazine for professionals with ultra-affluent clients, and Cultivating the Affluent, a practice management newsletter for financial professionals.View all articles by Hannah Shaw Grove
While it was somewhat confusing and made them anxious, the couple just ignored it and forgot about the rose, the butterfly and the valentine until about a month later, when it happened again. This time they got nervous. What made the couple especially concerned was that their house had a very high-quality alarm system in excellent working order that had not been set off by an intruder. They also had closed-circuit television cameras that did not show anything unusual. The house staff did not see anything out of the ordinary. After finding out that the police could not do anything for them, the husband made a number of calls and spoke to some associates, then waited to see if anything else would happen.
A month went by, and then another, with no rose, no butterfly and no letter. Finally, in the third month there was another rose on her bedside table with another butterfly attached, as well as a page-long love letter and pictures of the wife as she did routine errands in the neighborhood. When she went on her personal computer, she found a file there with more pictures and more love letters. This disturbed her greatly, since her computer-where she also stored her diary-required a password that only she knew-or so she thought.
Having a secret admirer can be disconcerting. Having one that can circumvent your security and one that is so obviously intense can be terrifying.
The couple hired a security consultant to address the safety of the wife and family. The security system at the house was significantly upgraded. Comprehensive background checks were conducted on the staff. Even the husband, the children and the wife were put under a microscope. Everyone came up clean.
At this point, after the security firm investigated all the known parties and made a forensic document analysis of the letters, it concluded that it was dealing with a "predator master criminal." It was clearly a case of erotomania, and considering the complexity of the predator's efforts, he or she was likely an exceptionally adroit and resourceful individual.
The house was swept for listening devices, and six were found as well as one micro-camera in the foyer. Close protection with bodyguards then became the primary security solution in this case. Most of this close protection of the family was unobtrusive.
At the same time, armed guards were placed on the grounds. Additional closed-circuit television cameras with taping capabilities were installed. All the cameras included night-vision technology. And software was incorporated that filtered out distortions produced by rain and falling snow.
After all these security solutions were implemented, the secret admirer vanished. More than two years after the first incident, there have not been any roses with accompanying butterflies, love letters or any signs at all of the secret admirer. If this were the movies or a best-selling thriller, we would have caught the criminal. Since we are living in the real world, that didn't happen, but the ultra-affluent family is safe-and that is what matters.
It's not surprising that wealthy clients are often high-profile targets for criminals such as this stalker. That's important enough for you to know, but it's also important to know that they face not just one, but several different types of criminal, all of whom have different motivations, temperaments and degrees of prudence.