A convicted felon who pleaded guilty to attempted murder decades ago and a second man are accused of spying on a couple in their home while working for a company that vows to “keep criminals off properties and away from families” in homes throughout south Florida through state-of-the-art technology, a lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit, filed in Palm Beach in February by a couple only identified as John and Jane Doe, alleges it all went down after a repair was made to a security system at their Palm Beach home in 2020.
Jeremy Lewis, who was working as a technician for Ask the Advisors, and system designer Michael Reilly were “hand-selected” for the job, despite Lewis’ felony conviction after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder in 1992, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names a slew of allegations that included failure to warn its customers they were sending a “violent convicted felon” to their home and giving him “unbridled access” to their residential security and camera system.
The victims’ lawyer, Andrea Lewis, said the men did the job and left a “backdoor” to access the camera system remotely during and after work hours and on weekends without the couple’s knowledge or permission. The footage showed the wife in various stages of undress and the couple having sex, the court documents said.
The horrifying discovery was made when John Doe logged into his system and found data showing the men had accessed his security camera system hundreds — if not thousands — of times to watch the footage, according to the $50,000 lawsuit that alleges negligence and invasion of privacy.
“It is difficult to imagine a more egregious invasion of privacy and breach of trust than the allegations in this case,” lawyer Andrea Lewis said in an email to Law&Crime. “It is every homeowner’s worst nightmare.”
After learning of the intrusion, John Doe immediately called the Palm Beach Police Department and reported what had occurred.
“Jane Doe was crying and inconsolable,” the complaint states.
Authorities responded to the home, took statements from the couple and started analyzing the system, cameras, and equipment, the lawsuit said.
John Doe also called the company to report the incident. He told company Vice President Wayne Weinstock that his employees, including Reilly and Lewis, had been accessing his home camera system incessantly and watching them in the privacy of their own home, the lawsuit said.
“He explained that his system history showed that the men had been fixated on watching nude and/or compromising footage of Jane Doe and had continued to do so every day since the new server had been installed,” the lawsuit said. “He demanded that they be fired immediately to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”
Weinstock responded by telling John Doe that it was probably a “mistake” or “a case of very bad judgment,” the lawsuit alleged.
He said Lewis and Reilly were two of the company’s most important employees and finding replacements would be “very difficult,” the court document said.
John Doe insisted Weinstock come to his home to view the activity logs, but it was clear that he was not interested, the lawsuit said.
“He was dismissive and made it apparent that he and President Jeff Hoover had no intention of terminating either man,” the lawsuit said.
Weinstock said he could access “over 20 billionaires’ homes” on his cellphone at any given minute, referring to other clients his company had installed security cameras for, the lawsuit alleged. He suggested that would not be the case unless his employees were trustworthy, court documents said.
Before ending the call, he asked John Doe several times not to get the police involved.
When questioned by police, Reilly admitted that he watched videos or archived footage of Jane Doe when she was nude and having sex, the complaint alleges. Lewis denied having ever been in the system or watching any explicit footage, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the lawsuit said.
Weinstock and Hoover admitted there was no legitimate reason for their employees to be logged into the couple’s cameras after hours, watching and re-watching video footage, or accessing the system the way they were, the complaint said.
Hoover also told law enforcement that Reilly had designed the security and camera system for the previous owner of the home, so they assigned John Doe’s account to him after he purchased the property because “[Reilly] knew the home[.]” the complaint said.
Weinstock and Hoover told the police Lewis was their “Senior Technician,” who had been with the company for 26 years. The men confirmed that Lewis was an hourly technician who would only have been permitted to access a customer’s system after hours if requested by the customer to fix a problem, the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit said that a police review of Lewis’ internet search history on his devices, including his cellphone, included numerous pornography websites associated with voyeurism, exhibitionism and women unknowingly being watched by strangers, including two entitled “Exhibitionist Wife in Front of Neighbor[‘s] Door” and “Neighbors see nude wife.”
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office charged Lewis and Reilly with felony video voyeurism. They have pleaded not guilty in the pending case.
Jeremy Lewis’ attorney, Ian Goldstein, told Law&Crime the allegations are false.
Michael Salnick, Reilly’s attorney, said in a statement to Law&Crime that there is no basis for the charges, that the Palm Beach Police did a pitiful job investigating, and the allegations in the civil complaint are “fantasy and postured by the alleged victim’s civil counsel.”
“At all times my client a 20-year-plus employee of the company was doing his job and nothing else,” Salnick said. “Took the alleged victims almost three years to file a civil suit and they did that only after knowing how poor the criminal case was. For the rest, and there is a lot, you will have to come to the trial.”
In a statement to Law&Crime, Steven Parrish, the lawyer for Audio Advisors, the parent company for Ask the Advisors, denied the allegations, saying they are “riddled with factual inaccuracies.”
The statement said Reilly and Lewis were long-term, high-performing employees. They never had any customer complaints and passed multiple background checks during their employment.
The men were terminated in 2021 because of the pending criminal charges, the statement said.
“Contrary to the allegations in the recently filed civil complaint, the backgrounds of Audio Advisors’ employees are diligently reviewed before they are permitted to go into customer homes,” the statement said.
The statement said that Audio Advisors had serviced the residence for four years before the replacement, and the company never sold or installed any cameras to the couple.
“Audio Advisors has no other customers with cameras in similar sensitive indoor areas,” the statement went on to say. “Unfortunately, the ‘John Doe’ Plaintiff, who was well aware of the placement of all his cameras, did not disable, cover, turn off or block the cameras in the sensitive areas while the Network Video Recorder was still being configured by Audio Advisors in accordance with the terms of its signed contract with the ‘John Doe’ Plaintiff.”
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