Protek locks up law enforcement talent

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December 20, 2007

By Ashley Saluga | STAFF WRITER

Former FBI agents, retired police chiefs, forensic experts and a polygraph specialist were all in Clarendon Hills Dec. 8 at Maijean Restaurant.

They weren't there to discuss any particular investigation, but to celebrate another year with Protek International Inc.

Protek International Inc. has worked with many former FBI agents and other experts, using them as independent contractors in areas such as technology, investigations, digital evidence, reputation risk and corporate crime.

Big FBI cases

Retired FBI agent Rusty Wright met Protek co-founder Dan Bellich 10 years ago in the FBI. Wright was a member of the SWAT team that responded after the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist bombing. He was also on the witness-protection detail for Sammy Gravano, also known as "The King Rat," because of his testimony against former New York mob boss John Gotti, who died in prison.

John Larsen, a retired FBI agent and a forensics expert, said it's difficult for him to name one of his favorite FBI cases; they were all important and mostly high-profile, including his fire investigation work on the 1984 Casablanca Supermarket fire in Chicago.

As a case agent, he also investigated the "Unabomber" case and the Jeffrey Erickson escape attempt from the Dirksen Federal Building, in which two federal officers were murdered. He also coordinated the FBI's evidence recovery team on special assignments, including the 1994 American Eagle crash, the 1996 Summer Olympic Centennial Park bombing, the 1998 U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya bombing crime scene and the United Airlines Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pa, on September 11, 2001.

But he said that the cases that will always stand in his mind involve kidnapping cases.

Ex-Oak Brook chief

Former Oak Brook Police Chief Allen Pisarek decided to become a strategic partner of Protek after he retired. He said he always worked with a great group of officers in Oak Brook and the camaraderie is also evident with his Protek colleagues.

Pisarek and retired Westmont Police Chief Jerry Zywczyk got acquainted with Bellich at the FBI's monthly meetings with DuPage area police chiefs.

Clarendon Hills resident Gene Henderson, a retired special agent with Health and Human Services, met Bellich and Protek co-founder Keith Chval at a Clarendon Hills Lions Club meeting.

Henderson was given the U.S. Attorney General award for his work on major health care fraud. He performed surveillance on a case involving ambulance company fraud. He monitored the company to make sure ambulances were picking up patients who actually needed care.

A majority of Protek's cases involve computer forensics.

From trade secrets, to employee misconduct, to intellectual property, to white collar crime, Protek has strategic partners with the right expertise.

"There is such a volume of data," said Tony Balzanto, a computer forensics examiner and a member of the Tinley Park Police Department. "You have to know exactly what you're looking for."


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