Lies. Deception. Privacy. Trickery… Freedom. While these are mere words to some, yet are often frequented for others, they are the makeup and source for all things that describe Privacy Expert Frank M. Ahearn and his business… his tools of the trade, if you will. He’s been known as a man of many names: Liar for Hire, Skip Tracer, Disappearer, etc., but today he’s encompassed his entire catalogue of work into a monopoly of Privacy. Having worked with all types in the past – criminals, mobsters, swindlers, and even the few decent of us – Ahearn’s current clients are a very particular group … the wealthy.
His talents lie in helping those who desire to bury their information do so using all legal, cunning and effective methods. Arguably, those lucky enough to find themselves part of the wealthy class have the most to lose, so who better to aid them than a master of deceit? And judging from Ahearn’s calendar, “master” is the correct term because business is good, chockfull of clients just aching to get a taste of his talents.
A true mastermind, his ability to continuously change and create ingenious methods of deception is remarkable. And with that, his unique chameleon-like knack for reinventing himself and blending in with his fellow man is astounding, proving all too well we never do know who is sitting next to us at any given moment.
I recently sat down with Ahearn on the ever-so eccentric esplanade in Venice Beach, CA, to have a chat about his work…
Your clients are some of the wealthiest around… have they always been so?
No, originally I worked with corporate whistle blowers, victims of stalkers as well as the occasional businessperson who travelled globally and needed to create more privacy.
Is there a certain criteria one should meet for you to consider them a client?
I do not work with individuals who have pending criminal charges. Being forthright is probably the most important criteria. In order to assist a person with their privacy needs I need to understand everything they are dealing with. That involves a client giving up the skeletons in their closet.
What is the main reason one would want to digitally disappear?
Untrue, unwanted, undesirable and seriously dangerous information appearing online or in public. We currently exist in a time where there is no delete button for digital information and one bad business deal or public faux pas can destroy person’s career.
Also, in the past, companies flaunted who their top-tier people were, but there is retreat in that business practice. Companies now understand that too much information about key people can make those individuals a target of abduction for profit. These key people have also realized that their connections to their family could place their family in jeopardy. They now want to break the connections.
Can information actually be erased? It seems somewhat impossible to me.
We come to depend on pressing buttons… enter, send and download. With each push of the button there is a digital footprint that most likely will never go away. Information is gold and the lifeblood of most websites. We are far from the day when information will be erased.
Are new identities ever in the picture?
Never. They are illegal and can only bring trouble. My clients who need to disappear live under IBC’s and offshore banks. The one beauty about technology is we can live in Hong Kong, bank in Jersey and host our business website in the Bahamas. I teach clients how to become Virtual Entities; in essence, they become a ghost.
How often do your clients ask about new identities?
My clients are not the type of people who would ask about new identities. That inquiry usually comes via an email of someone who has a hidden agenda. Probably someone committing crimes or running from the law.
Has there ever been a case in which you felt was too risky and had to walk away? If so, for what reasons?
No. All cases are different, but disappearing and privacy are the same. It’s a chess game where I create a strategy that protects my client from a predator or unwanted information.
Can you, Frank Ahearn, be found?
Being found is a broad term. I guess if one searched hard enough they would find addresses I may or may not have been associated with. Those addresses are in places like California, Paris, Madrid and a few others. Finding is one thing but confirming a person is at a location is another thing. Information is not always true and one needs to confirm truth before they can actually claim they located someone.
Does creating all of this deception ever get to you? Perhaps in the sense of stress (due to the risks & responsibilities) or fear (should a case not work)?
Sometimes is does. It’s a business where I am constantly evaluating my tactics. Will this work, will that work? Am I leaving a trail? Will the client be safe? Did the client make any mistakes and are they following protocol? It is a business of reinvention that is battling information, which is like the ocean and one never knows what floats up on shore.
Freedom seems to have a different definition today. What do you consider freedom in 2014?
In your business, you often travel to far off places, unknown of the outcome. Is there ever a fear on your end?
Oh yes. I have been in some precarious situations and odd places but luckily all have worked out for the positive.
How did you stumble into this line of work?
I spent most of my life finding people who did not want to be found and extracting private information for sale. In 2001, I met a corporate whistleblower in a bookstore and we struck up a conversation and he asked if I could help him disappear. Being an expert at finding people and information has made me an expert hiding people and manipulating information.
How often do you find yourself dealing with law enforcement because of your line of work?
Never. I do not break any laws or deal with clients who have any criminal issues.
How can potential clients contact you?
Interview & text by Kyle Dowling