Nichols J. Smith

Nichols Smith is a licensed, professional civil and criminal investigator who brings extraordinary expertise to PSI. In his 34 years in the investigation business, he has helped solve thousands of cases in the legal, corporate and law enforcement arenas. He has helped attorneys resolve complex criminal, civil, environmental and fraud related cases and helped corporations in risk assessment, negligent security matters, technical surveillance and counter measures. A court-qualified expert in security, he is also experienced in felony criminal defense, including capital murder. He is qualified to work with police departments' intelligence and homicide units, District Attorney’s Investigative Units and the Federal Public Defender’s office to provide expert technical/investigative assistance in high-profile cases. Early in his career, as security professional, he championed the use of non-lethal weaponry and the use of voice stress analysis as an alternative to the traditional polygraph in the detection of deception.

Smith specializes in pretrial litigation with a focus in environmental litigation support (PRP/ Toxic Tort/Private Party Cost Recovery, Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986), corporate fraud, confidential corporate investigations and difficult witness and involved principals locates. Smith is also effective in international cases. He recently helped a Venezuelan Insurance Company successfully locate and secure over $3 million US, which had been stolen from them by criminals in Sri Lanka.

His full resume is below.

California Licensed Private Investigator State License # PI 5617 (Issued in 1973), Diplomate- American Board of Forensic Examiners, Fellow- American College of Forensic Examiners, Certified Protection Professional (CPP)-American Society for Industrial Security, Certified in Homeland Security (CHS-III) ACFE International


  • Professional civil and criminal investigator, with emphasis on pretrial litigation.
  • Concentration in environmental litigation support (PRP/ Toxic Tort/Private Party Cost Recovery, Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986))
  • Corporate fraud, confidential corporate investigations and difficult witness / involved principals locates.
  • Specialist in fraud and asset location and recovery
  • Risk assessment professional & expert witness in matters pertaining to negligent security
  • Technical Surveillance Countermeasures Expert (Debugging)
  • Extensively traveled in Mexico, Central & South America, SE Asia
  • Bi-Lingual English/Spanish (speak, read and write)
  • Internet-skilled researcher

Current Position: Partner, Parrent Smith Investigations & Research

Previous Employment:
Director of Investigative Services - Adverus, Inc., Lafayette, CA
Activities included : Direction of investigative services used in support of environmental forensic investigations including witness location and interviewing, locating and documenting activities of potentially responsible parties, preparation of exhibits to be used in legal proceedings and expert testimony regarding investigative procedures and standards. Developed and provided internal company training and staff mentoring with respect to investigative techniques typically used in support of environmental forensics services such as identification and location of parties potentially responsible for environmental contamination. Director of Forensic Investigations - Environmental Forensic Investigations, Inc., Dublin, CA

Activities included the following: Performed investigative duties including locating potentially responsible parties to environmental litigation, toxic tort defense, private party cost recovery actions and assorted complex civil litigation matters.

Director - The GoldSmith Agency, Laguna Beach, CA
Aactivities included the following: Planned, supervised and conducted complex investigations for major law firms and corporations, with emphasis on complex environmental matters, fraud with emphasis on securities and banking fraud and confidential corporate investigations. Provided expert testimony relating to security negligence Conducted stalker case management Conducted technical surveillance assessments (Electronic Countermeasures.) Performed security assessments individuals and institutions

Director, Investigative Services - Nicholls Investigative Agency, Inc., San Francisco, Los Altos, CA
Activities included the following: Planned, directed and administered the business affairs of an investigative company. Conducted and supervised investigations in complex environmental matters (PRP Investigations, Private Party Cost Recovery, Toxic Tort defense),white collar fraud, criminal defense, including capital murder, complex civil litigation , corporate due diligence and workplace violence. Conducted technical surveillance assessments. Provided a full range of legal, commercial and business related investigations. Actively performed security evaluations and consultations for private property owners, corporations, insurance companies and lawyers. Provided expert testimony in State Courts relating to issues of negligent security, premises liability and the forseeability of criminal acts. First court testimony in Holt v. Foodmaker {Jury Verdicts, May 21, 1993 Volume 37, Number 21). Testified in San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Clara County superior courts.

Proprietor - Nichols J. Smith Investigations, San Francisco, CA
Activities included the following: Conducted and supervised investigations in business background, fraud, criminal defense, environmental and due diligence. Conducted detection of deception interviews with the use of voice lie detection equipment. Provided consultation on matters ranging from personal protection from single assailants to complex corporate security assessments. Conducted technical surveillance assessments

Vice-President, Operations - Acufacts, Inc. San Jose, CA
Activities included the following: Co-founded and developed the company into 100+ personnel. Directed and supervised armed and unarmed security personnel in a wide range of security settings to include, but not limited to, high rise office buildings, heavy industrial manufacturing facilities, high-tech Silicon Valley companies, commercial, retail, construction and government entities. We were the first company in California to employ non-lethal (Taser) arming of security personnel based upon my research and recommendation. Performed security audits and surveys in support of the guard force, sales force and clients. Conducted and supervised investigations for attorneys and corporations.

  • Electronic Testing and Assembly - IBM Corporation, San Jose, CA
  • P performed assembly and testing of the 2314-2311 data storage systems.
  • Investigator - Montello and Associates, San Jose, CA
  • Employed as a contract field investigator performing a variety of investigative assignments, which included: Service of subpoenas, conducting surveillance, investigations on behalf of the plaintiff in civil tort cases. Also provided close protection (bodyguard) services for individuals.
  • Investigator - LR Investigations Miami, Florida
  • Concurrent with military duties described below, performed a wide variety of investigative assignments, which included but were not limited to the following: Served subpoenas. Conducted investigations on behalf of plaintiffs in civil tort cases. Conducted surveillance of individuals involved in domestic situations. Provided close protection (bodyguard) of individuals.
  • Voice Intercept Operator - 98G2L68 United States Army Security Agency (ASA) Homestead AFB, Homestead, FL, Goodfellow AFB, San Antonio, TX, Fort Devens, MA, Fort Meade, MD.

Activities included the following: Conducted and supervised the intercept of Spanish military voice radio traffic, as well as its transcription, translation and primary analysis for content. Performed limited decryption duties for non-computer generated 2-digit code. Coordinated activities between voice intercept and other relevant activities within the intercept site. Utilized a wide variety of radio receivers, DSSB converters, recorders and other communications intercept equipment. Met daily with NSA (National Security Agency) liaison at intercept site for review of communications traffic. Responsible for document retention and destruction in accordance with NSA directives. Maintained Top Secret-Cryptographic clearance. Honorable discharge.

Experience and training gained as a participant in the following workshops. Included are substantive professional subjects as well as supervisory, managerial and executive courses:

2003 December 8-9 - Scottsdale, Arizona Executive Protection
Intensive review of practices and procedures involved in providing first tier threat protection for corporate executives and private families threatened by potential attacks from assailants intending physical harm, such as assassination or kidnap. Procedures for international travel, armoring of vehicles, close protection specialists.

October 9- ASIS Virtual Forum- Stalking
Participated with over 500 attendees at virtual form held regarding Domestic Stalking and it's impact and implications for corporate security managers and directors. Security protocols to protect employees threatened by domestic violence and stalking.

2002 November 21-22 Las Vegas, NV Predictive Profiling
The Cameleon Group Course in developing suspicion indicators for terrorists and other criminal activities. Course was conducted by former El-Al Airlines security personnel as well as Israeli Defense forces security experts.

May 10, Downey, CA 2002 Fraud Training Forum-ASIS and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
A review of the latest frauds, scams and methodologies for their detection.

2001 November 9, Anaheim, CA Ethics and Security- ASIS
Developing and implementing an ethical model of conduct for security and investigative professionals. 2000 December 11-12, Redondo Beach, CA Managing Threat in a Corporate Environment Conference-

ASIS Workplace Violence: Basic Principles of Assessment and Management/ Developing a Model for Case Management/Psychological Assessment of Employees: A Risk Assessment Protocol/Law Enforcement's Role in Case Management/How to Successfully Prosecute Threat Cases/Conducting Internal Investigations/When and How to Use a Psychiatric Risk Assessment/The Impact of Stalking on the Workplace.

January 20-22, 2000 San Diego Domestic Violence - APA
A three day review of Domestic Violence; the perpetrators, social models, typology issues, psychological origins, Screening and risk assessment, Psychopathology in domestic violence, controversies in the field, treatment modalities. David B. Wexler, Ph.D. and faculty. - American Psychological Association January 14-16 Costa Mesa S.A.F.E. Substance Abuse for Educators
APA Three day training on substance abuse in schools. 7 CEU's- American Psychological Association

January 7, 2000, Monterey, CA Assessing Violence in the Workplace
American Board of Professional Psychologists One-day review of assessment tools and protocols for assessment of violence risk in the workplace. - American Psychological Association

December 12-15th, San Diego, CA Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Forensic Examiners-ACFE
Multiple presentations in profiling serial and violent offenders/Forensic Implications of Psychoanalytic Observations on PTSD/ Epidemiology of violence/Crime Scene Reconstruction/Forensic Detection of Deception/ Distortion and malingering in the witness, victims, defendant and patient/False Memory Syndrome. October 11, 1996-Burbank, CA California Licensed Investigator's Fall Seminar

CALI Surveillance: Methodologies and Liabilities An all day intensive review of Law Enforcement's perspective on surveillance. LAPD COBRA UNIT (unit for the surveillance and apprehension of repeat offenders) as well as laws and regulations governing surveillance. 1995 Denver, Colorado-November 11-14 Colorado Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners Symposium-ACFE

3 Day symposium covering in depth: Importance of White Collar Crimes/Public and Private Sources/Avoiding Legal Liability/Federal Sentencing Guidelines/The Future of Financial Criminal Prosecution/Use of the Computer as an Investigative Tool/Computer Use in Investigative Activity/Courtrooms/Succeeding as an Expert Witness-Certified Fraud Examiners.

Honolulu, HI Forensic and Behavioral Science Examiner Update-ACFE
American College of Forensic Examiners / American Psychological Association Co-Sponsored. Four day Intensive review of narco-analysis/ Repressed Childhood Memories/ Conducting the psychological autopsy/Factors influencing brain and memory/Traits and characteristics of violent offenders/General characteristics of pedophiles/Behavioral and verbal clues to possible deception.
Honolulu, HI Expert Witnessing-APA American Board of Forensic Examiners and The Institute for Psychological Advancement An overview of the necessary skills and training required to provide competent testimony at trial.-American Psychological Assocation sponsorship

1994 San Diego, CA Security Liability Conference-ASIS
Two day intensive covering; An overview of key legal risks and procedures/Torts and contract risks for managers/Liability risk for investigators/Liability risks for managers and investigators/Tort and contract risk for managers (Part II)/ Liability for security officers/ liability for acts of violence/ negligent security, expert witnesses, harassment in the workplace, unions, labor strikes and security, unemployment compensation and security. Phoenix, AZ Security Technology Review-Investigator's On-Line Network
A review of current technologies and their applications in the industrial setting.

1993 San Diego, CA Physical Security Technology and Applications Conference-ASIS
Three-day intensive review of security surveys/indoor intrusion sensor technology/exterior intrusion sensor technology/access control/card technology/locks, barriers and AD/ closed circuit television design and design problems/CCTV lighting and design/trends and issues in security force management. Testing and inspecting IDS and systems integration

Phoenix, AZ Information Technology for Financial Investigations

ION Conference Two-day symposium on the means and methodology to conduct financial investigations.

Reno, NV Employee and Employer Relations in a Lodging Setting-ASIS
Two-day review of vicarious liability/ wrongful discharge/ inadequate training and negligent retention/Internal investigations/Americans with Disabilities Act/Employee Screening: Drug and Honesty Testing/ Security Litigation - Defense from an experts standpoint/alcoholic beverage service/employees rights to a safe work environment (Cal/OSHA)/security training programs/Casino Hotel Security.

1990 San Diego, CA Profits through Prevention-ASIS
Two-day intensive conference on ways to reduce internal and external thefts through establishing internal audit procedures, external and internal safeguards and education. Phoenix, AZ Information Technology for Investigations Two day course on the latest trends in on-line / CD-ROM, microfiche, and how to access this information in a timely, cost efficient manner.

1989 San Diego, CA Safeguarding Proprietary Information Conference-ASIS
Professional review of the current standards for protection of proprietary information, records retention and destruction, models for dissemination of information. 1988 Boston, MA Audio Surveillance and Countermeasures Workshop, Ross Engineering
A technical review of the most current methods of voice and data interception, and the techniques and technical applications for the detection of the devices employed. Hands-on training using Non-linear junction detectors, time domain reflectometry and spectrum analyzers. 1981 Savannah, GA Audio Surveillance Countermeasures and Physical Security- Dektor CSI
A three-week formal course of instruction in the detection of voice and data interception (debugging). Electronic theory behind the equipment used for detection of high impedance parallel taps, spread spectrum and frequency-hopping room transmitters, among others. PBX board inspection and testing. Practicum involved placement and detection of a variety of wired and r/f transmitting devices. Destructive and non-destructive test procedures were learned.

1979-1986 Detection of Deception
Worked and trained under the late Tommy L. Tomlin of Monterey, CA who was a Fellow of the International Society of Stress Analysts. Utilizing the Psychological Stress Analyzer (PSE (a device which measures the alpha formant of the voice wave)) as developed by Department of Defense, we conducted several lengthy studies on the ability of the PSE to detect deception in individuals who were under the influence of various tranquilizing agents. In addition to the laboratory setting, I personally conducted over 1200 examinations of individuals suspected of a variety of crimes, including, theft, arson, sexual assault and murder.

Chief Liaison Officer for the American College of Forensic Examiners to the American Society for Industrial Security 2001-2002 Guest Lecturer: "Stalking: Fact v. Fiction" Women's Studies Classes, Irvine Community College, November 1999/ February 2000 Guest Lecturer: "Best Public Records in the Detection of Fraud and an Introduction to Benford's Law {the distribution of random numbers} as it relates to the Detection of Fraud". Mt. Diablo Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors 1995 and 1996 Member: Ethics Committee American College of Forensic Examiners. 1995 to present Member: Certification Program Committee - Certified Professional Investigator Committee, California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI). 1994 - 1995 Guest Lecturer: "Environmental Investigations" Investigators On-Line Network Conference (ION) Phoenix, AZ 1994 Telephone Committee Chairman San Francisco Chapter, American Society for Industrial Security 1989 Scholarship Chairman: San Francisco Chapter, American Society for Industrial Security. 1987 Guest Lecturer: "Introductory Course in Electronic Countermeasures." Public Safety Training Institute, Sacramento, CA 1984 - 1989 I trained police officers and public safety personnel in practical aspects of communications intercept, as well as countermeasures, and officer safety when using or wearing "wires" Guest Lecturer: "Polygraph v. PSE Workshop." San Francisco Bay Area Chapter American Society for Industrial Security. August 1985 A sponsored debate on the various aspects of the polygraph and the PSE Guest Lecturer: "Utilization of Private Investigators and Court Appointed Process Servers." West Valley Jr. College, Saratoga, CA {to paralegal students} 1975 - 1978

1995 Fellow, American College of Forensic Examiners International

Diplomate-American Board of Forensic Examiners 1994
Division: Investigations American Board of Forensic Examiners- St. Louis, MO The term Forensic Examiner refers to a professional who performs an orderly analysis, investigation, inquiry, test, inspection or examination in an attempt to obtain the truth and from which to make an expert opinion. Almost every scientific and technical field has a forensic application, including almost all medical specialties, criminalistics, formal investigations, toxicology, questioned documents, accident reconstruction, crime scene reconstruction, polygraph, risk analysis, handwriting analysis, voice identification, etc. Basic Requirements Be a member in good standing in the American College of Forensic Examiners. Have no record of disciplinary action from any state, province, or territory licensing or certification board during the past 10 years, nor currently be under investigation. Have no felony convictions. Agree to uphold the American College of Forensic Examiners' Principles of Professional Practice. Graduate from an accredited college with a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. Provide supporting documentation, photocopies of degrees, diplomas, certificates, and/or licenses. Have a minimum of 5 years of related experience. Successful completion of 'Ethics and the Forensic Examiner' course and examination. Successful completion of 'Law and the Forensic Examiner' course and examination. Successful completion of Forensic Examination Core Course I and examination. Successful completion of Forensic Examination Core Course II and examination. Successful completion of 'Evidence and the Forensic Examiner' course and examination. Successful completion of Forensic Examination Core Course III and examination.

Licensed Private Investigator - Arizona 1994-1997 (Project)
Certified Protection Professional (CPP) 1987
Board Certified in Security Management American Society for Industrial Security-Alexandria, VA Eligibility Requirements for Examination - Experience and Education Nine (9) years of security experience, at least three (3) years of which shall have been in responsible charge of a security function; or An earned Bachelor's Degree or higher from an accredited institution of higher education and seven (7) years of security experience, at least three (3) years of which shall have been in responsible charge of a security function. The examination is a peer-reviewed examination, with oversight provided by the Professional Certification Board. It is a proctored, all day examination.
Licensed Private Investigator - California 1973

  • American College of Forensic Examiners International 1994 Fellow & Life Member
  • World Association of Detectives 1991
  • California Association of Licensed Investigators 1981-1994 and 2004 to present
  • American Society for Industrial Security 1984 California Association of Licensed Investigators 1981-1994 British Association of Investigators 2001 Professional
  • Investigators of California (Charter Member) 2002
  • Association of Former Intelligence Officers 2005

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