A settlement was reached this year in a defamation lawsuit brought by a Mexican woman claiming Philip Klein, a Private Investigator and Security Consultant out of Beaumont, harassed her for years.
In 2014, two individuals, identified only as E.M. and V.B.M., filed suit against Klein and his company, Klein Investigations & Consulting, along with the man that hired him, James Landess.
V.B.M., a citizen of Mexico, and Landess were married in 1994 and divorced in 2006. The final divorce decree gave V.B.M. the exclusive right to establish the primary residence of the children and allowed Landess to have visitation, according to the second amended petition.
In 2008, V.B.M. married E.M. and relocated to Monclova, Mexico. After the move, Landess unsuccessfully attempted to obtain custody of their children. On March 3, 2010, a trial court in Bexar County signed an order allowing V.B.M. to maintain primary residence with the children in Monclova.
“Almost immediately, Landess started making false claims that V.B.M. had ‘kidnapped’ her children,” the suit states. “To aid him in his scorched-earth campaign … Landess employs an acerbic and provocative blogger and failed author, defendant Philip R. Klein…”
The plaintiffs claim Klein harassed them for four years with a campaign of “fear and intimidation” that allegedly included Klein threatening V.B.M. with criminal punishment if she did not surrender her children to Landess and him.
According to lawsuit, in a letter dated Dec. 20, 2010, Klein wrote: “Ms. [V.B.M.], there is no negotiation room. You must have the children back in the United States my (sic) by January 2, 2010, (sic) or you will face felony extradition to the United States under the Hauge (sic) Act. (sic) I have attached a copy of the Hague application that is currently pending in the United States (see attached). If you do not comply — you have a chance of going to prison for a very long time. I urge you to end this matter now.”
The letter concluded with: “[I]t will only be a matter of time before that knock on the door comes and you are placed into custody for felony warrants for your arrest…. There will be nowhere to hide — we will find you…. Either you will send the children back now and not face charges or you will begin a process that will place you in prison for a very long time and you will not be able to watch your children grow up.”
Klein has also been accused creating false court documents that were used to intimidate and coerce people in Mexico and other states.
Also, both Klein and Landess are accused of malicious criminal prosecution through the use of false sworn testimony and false statements to police.
Court records show the parties filed a joint motion for entry of a take-nothing judgment due to settlement on Dec. 31.
As of Feb 2019, no order of dismissal is on file.
Unfortunately this is no where near the end of legal trouble. Klein and his company are currently under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety for Illegal Bounty Hunting.
It all stems from an illegal bounty hunting operation being conducted by Klein and his employees: Stephen Hartman, Caroline Klein, and Charley Klein. This illegal operation was discovered when Hartman was arrested for chasing two young girls down a highway – at gun point – while trying to apprehend a passenger in the car who supposedly had a misdemeanor capias.
It is illegal to preform bounty hunting services in Texas unless one has the required liability insurance coverage and endorsements. Klein reportedly does not have the Bond Forfeiture Apprehension Coverage endorsement.
Klein is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety – Regulatory Services Division, for violations of the Private Security Act, Texas Occupations Code Chapter 1702, and Texas Administrative Code Chapter 35, for operating without insurance, or outside scope of coverage.
This investigation comes at a time Klein has been doing more extensive work in Mexico. He has reported his company has seen a 120 percent increase over the past two years, from 55 “sorties” to Mexico in 2009 to 121 last year. Klein expects the “unrest to continue down there, unless the government can get control,” and therefore more business for his company. But Klein is reluctant to discuss details with recent legal trouble and criminal investigations.
The thing about working in Mexico is despite what movies or T.V. or popular perception might be is that nobody down there is armed on an executive protection detail. The Mexicans will not allow it – period. And not only that, if the cartels do attempt an assassination, they will “kill the protective detail too just to make sure all the loose ends are tied up.”
Mexico does indeed prohibit foreign nationals from carrying weapons. Instead, companies have subcontracted out the gun-slinging to Mexican freelancers and local firms. Rather than an armed U.S. mercenary team, a typical security detail includes two unarmed “detail leaders” from the U.S. in charge of four armed Mexican guards, hired from local firms or police officers moonlighting for extra pay. The U.S. agents call the shots and pick the travel routes, while the Mexican guards provide the muscle and firepower.
Reported from a tree on 22nd Street Neverland Texas