Private Investigators In Virginia

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More On Pretxing PIs

Posted by Bill on December 24, 2007

closed.jpg    Back on December 7 or so, I posted the news that 10 people were indicted by the Federal government for various charges relating to pretexting by two individuals in Belfair, WA.  See Prexting Post

Well, it turns out that the two Belfair, WA, people doing the pretexting, Emilio and Brandy Torella, were reported to the Washington’s Department of Licensing for operating an unlicensed investigations business.  The Department investigates unlicensed private investigators.  To operate a private investigation business in Washington you must be licensed.  If you are not, you are subject to a prosecution for a gross misdemeanor.   The Department had received a complaint that the Torrella’s were operating a private investigations firm out of a Belfair strip mall without a state mandated investigator’s license.

In a Kitsap Sun news article dated December 21, 2007, The Washington Department of Licensing states that “We were aware of unlicensed activity, . . . but we didn’t get to point of investigating it because of the federal government’s investigations.”  See Kitsap Sun Article Here.  Let’s see, you, the Department of Licensing, did not get to the point of investigating the alleged unlicensed activity because of the federal government’s investigation?  Does the federal government always tell you what to do and how to run the Washington licensing affairs?  Roll over, Fido.

The article reports that Washington’s leading licensed private investigators are upset that the Belfair couple have been labeled licensed investigators when clearly they were not.  Former and officers of the Washington Association of Legal Investigators said that legitimate, licensed Washington investigators do not conduct activities such as those in the Belfair couple’s indictment. 

Ummm, would the US Attorney’s office in Seattle mind clearing up the misunderstanding in the headlines of their press release that indicate all those indicted were licensed private investigators?  Probably not!

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

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2 Responses to “More On Pretxing PIs”

  1. pbecnel said

    It is difficult to imagine how Emilio and Brandy Torella, et al. were flying under the radar before the initiation of the federal investigation. The conduct alleged in the press, if true, is unequivocally criminal and not the sort of thing that the overwhelming majority of licensed private investigators would even consider. Maybe if the Washington Department of Licensing had more diligently enforced its mandate, they may have headed off the need for a federal investigation in the first place. Although we would hope that the public can differentiate the actions alleged in this case from the wholly legal and important work performed by licensed private investigators, our profession’s unfortunate association with this sort of illegal conduct gives us all a bad name.

    Phil Becnel
    Managing Partner
    Dinolt Becnel & Wells Investigative Group LLC
    http://www.dinolt.com

  2. Bill said

    Good point, Phil. If the WA licensing department had done their job, they may have shut down the Torella’s operation. But, I feel certain the Department of Justice had too much time and resources in their case to allow the licensing department to pursue the lodged complaint. I have not seen this story in other publications. This story is the only one that describes the “unlicensed” actitvities of the Torellas.

    Bill Lowrance
    President PIAVA
    http://www.piava.org

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