Private Eye: How Spitzer Could Have Gotten Away With It
Oh, Eliot Spitzer, what has become of thee? You were New York City’s homegrown son, a local boy who climbed the political ladder to become New York’s reigning governor, but you jeopardized it all by allegedly going where every John awaiting a day in court has gone before. Who knows why this rather nasty affair came to be? Maybe you were just lonely.Maybe the proliferation of mobile technology made it a bit simpler for you to plot your next rendezvous. However, if you had to cheat, you should’ve asked Skip Proteous, president of Sherlock Investigations, Inc., how to keep your dirty laundry out of the public eye. That’s what we did. Is there anything Spitzer could have done, electronically, to avoid being caught with a prostitute? He could’ve bought a prepaid cell phone with cash, so there’s no credit card or paper trail. You can get a phone number using any name, even “John Smith.” Because there’s no verification? He could’ve even had someone else buy it for him. The feds or any authorities are unable to tap a [cell] phone if they don’t know the number you have. The way they tap a phone is through the provider. With a house phone or office phone, they can tap it at the central office. So if Spitzer used a bogus name like “John Smith” to buy his phone and someone tipped the police off that a “John Smith” was going to hotels with prostitutes, they wouldn’t have been able to nab him? No, because, there are a million John Smiths. Besides, they’d still be unable to tap the phone. It probably wouldn’t have helped much in this case, because they tapped his phone and the prostitute’s phone. If he had a prepaid phone, they wouldn’t have known who was calling unless the hooker confessed. But perhaps she didn’t know. He was just “Client #9.” Just another nameless body? And most hookers use phony names, too. In terms of the money transaction, was there anything Spitzer could’ve done to prevent being caught? Perhaps use Paypal? I wouldn’t use Paypal, because you can subpoena those records and track that. He should’ve taken the money out of the bank and purchased money orders to pay that way. But there were money transfers going out from his bank account to this Shell company that was a front for the prostitution. You probably have more experience in this area than I ever will, but do prostitutes accept money orders? Oh, they’ll accept money orders. I mean, they accepted the money transfers. You’re in Manhattan, right? Yes, sir. I get Time Warner cable, and on channel 35 late at night, there are hooker ads, and they all take credit cards. Let’s switch gears a bit. What would you have done if Mrs. Spitzer suspected that her husband was cheating and hired your services? I would’ve put him on surveillance, because that hotel in Washington, he used a different name there. But if you were tailing him, you could find out where he was and who he was meeting with. That’s probably the only way that we could do it, as we don’t tap phones or anything like that, because that’s illegal; you need a court order to do that. Also, Spitzer’s guarded by New York state troopers, so they must’ve been in on it to some degree, because his room was guarded. So the state troopers knew who was coming in and going out of his hotel at all times. They must have. They had to. Otherwise, they weren’t doing their jobs. This thing is going to be really big because there were a lot of people involved.