The only effective lies are physical evidence, such as forged documents or other genuine indicia used improperly. The problem is that these backfire spectacularly if proven false. There is no more damning evidence that something the jury can hold in their hands. Very few people can pull off the necessary "Who, me?" demeanor. If a lie can be proven false, then there is no defense.


Sincerity to a point, but before it gets slurpy. In other words, if it sounds like a duck, walks like a duck and acts like a duck, there's a good possibility it is a duck. If the testimony and evidence jive, then I would give you the benefit of the doubt.


The classic tax lie involves declaring pets as dependents. We had a case sort of like that a while ago. The scam went this way: I buy a breeding pair of beavers from you. I pay you $1000 each, of which you get $200 in cash and the rest promised to you in the form of offspring from the breeding pair. The whole thing is designed to create paper losses. There are all kinds of weird exemptions for farming you can play with. … The kicker of the story is that the guy doing it claims he's raising these beavers in his house in downtown San Jose, California. When I see this I think, "I'll go out and check. I'd love to see beavers in San Jose." In fact, he was gone when the agent went to see him, but the lesson here is that you don't want your lie to be too interesting.


If you're going to lie, keep it as close to the truth as possible, only changing what's absolutely necessary. That way, the story will, at least, make sense. And rehearse your story. You have to be able to tell it naturally, without looking nervous and stumbling all over yourself.


Here's how you don't want to lie: I had a listing and the place had been really hard to rent. It was in a secure building, but it didn't have any charm and it was kind of noisy and pretty expensive. So, I'd shown it a lot, no one was renting it and the owner was getting anxious. I showed it to one guy who liked it. He wanted to take it. Good. Now, I needed verification of income, and he's self-employed, so he can't give me a pay stub. I have to have something, so usually in a case like that, I'll ask for a copy of your tax return. He bought me a tax return — the ink wasn't even dry. It's a pretty good trick, really — an impressive tax return. But he would have been a lot better off photocopying it before handing me a brand new original.

On rental applications, I check as much as my owners want. I check as little as I can get away with. I'm human. I've been doing this for so long that I have a good sense of people. However, if an owner wants me to talk to a landlord, there's a trick: I don't talk to the current landlord. They could be trying to get rid of a bad tenant. I talk to a landlord two landlords back, so they don't have anything to lose.

I always check credit. It's a very easy thing to do. And if someone comes up with really bad credit, like a recent bankruptcy, and they haven't said anything about it, it makes me really angry. Under a circumstance like that, if two people want an apartment, I'll be angry enough to start leaning toward the other person. My approach is, I know that life happens, but tell me ahead of time. I'm going to be really mad if I find it out later.


The cliché you hear most often is probably the most accurate: if you want to smuggle, get yourself a haircut and an Armani suit. Someone who looks like he's doing legitimate business, who looks like he belongs and is polite is going to do well. But be thorough in your disguise. If you're wearing an Armani suit and your luggage is an Army surplus backpack, we're going to notice that.

Talk!We have a series of profiles of typical suspects, but I don't want to go into them. I will say that a male traveling on his own internationally, especially a young male, is going to be scrutinized more than a female. If he has long hair, he'll be scrutinized more. If he's dressed unconventionally, wearing a leather jacket, earrings and so forth, he'll be stopped first. It might seem trite, but it's also often accurate. Criminals aren't always subtle or clever people.    </end>