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FBI New FOIA Requesting Procedure — Electronic

Posted by Bill on April 27, 2010

                      

          The FBI announced a new change in submitting FOIA requests. You can submit such requests via the FBI website. You can use This Form .   The FBI said the new electronic form makes requesting information easier.  Visit the Bureau’s FOIA page Here to learn about the Bureau’s recording keeping and its FOIA policy. The bureau said it revamped its records Web site to include a guide for research in FBI Records, details on what happens after you make a request and data on how to file an appeal with the Justice Department.

Bill Lowrance
Attorney/private investigator/legal consulting
 www.lowrancelaw.com
 www.informationinsightsinc.com

Posted in attorneys, crime, FBI, FOIA, Investigations, law enforcement, private investigator, Public Records, Research | 3 Comments »

New DOJ Manual Computer Crimes

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2009

Excellent DOJ manual on searching and seizing computers and obtaining electronic evidence in criminal cases.

Department of Justice, CCIPS (Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Section) has just published an updated version of its computers and electronic evidence surveillance manual.  See it on the www.cybercrime.gov website here:  Here

Bill Lowrance

Posted in attorneys, computer forensics, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, private investigations, Research | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

LAPD Fingerprint Mistakes–Review 1000 Cases

Posted by Bill on January 16, 2009

lapd_homepage_night_v3

 

 

Last year the LA Times reported, after an investigation, that six print analysts with the LAPD latent print section had made critical errors in their work.  The critical errors were caused by the unit’s being marred by inadequate training, antiquated facilities, poor supervision, careless handling of evidence and other shortfalls.

Unfortunately, LAPD does not have adequate funding to upgrade and modernize the fingerprint section.  A task force of prosecutors and LAPD personnel are reviewing cases to determine if the errors caused a wrongful conviction.

Read the whole story: Click Here

Bill Lowrance

www.lowrancelaw.com

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Service of Process By E-Mail?

Posted by Bill on January 2, 2009

av_bryan_federal_courthouse

 

 

 

  Earlier this month The Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported that an Australian attorney attempted service of process via a Facebook account (see  Click Here.  Of course, this is a unique way to serve a lawsuit since most service of process is by personal service, publication, posting or via mail. 

Now the Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports that a similar situation is happening in Federal District Court in Virginia.  Virginiaattorneys for indicted US Representative Willian J. Jefferson, D-La., asked US District Judge T.S. Ellis III to allow service of prcess by e-mail to an elusive international witness.  Read the whole story:  Click Here  Go directly to the motion filed Here.

Happy New Year to all.

Bill Lowrance
www.lowrancelaw.com

Posted in attorneys, crime, fraud, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Research, Virginia | Leave a Comment »

FBI Kidnappings & Missing Persons Site

Posted by Bill on December 16, 2008

crime-fbi

Ron McKown sent this interesting link to the FBI Kidnapping & Missing Persons site.  Check it out here Kidnappings.

Bill Lowrance
www.lowrancelaw.com

www.informationinsightsinc.com

Posted in crime, FBI, Investigations, law enforcement, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Backwater Guards Indicted

Posted by Bill on December 6, 2008

blackwater-logoOnce again Blackwater security comes under scrutiny.  The Washington Post reports that five Blackwater security guards were indicted by a federal grand jury for a September 2007 shooting incident in which 17 Iraqi citizens were killed.  The guards worked as security contractors for the US State Department.

Read whole story Click Here

Bill Lowrance
www.lowrancelaw.com

www.informationinsightsinc.com

Posted in contracts, crime, FBI, Investigations, law enforcement, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

FBI Warns Holiday Cyber Scammers

Posted by Bill on December 2, 2008

FBI alert

The FBI is reminding people this holiday season that cyber criminals continue to aggressively seek ways to steal money and personal information. Scammers are using several techniques to fool potential victims including sending unsolicited e-mails that contain attachments such as electronic greeting cards containing malware (malicious software), setting up spoofing websites that look like legitimate commercial sites, and unleashing phishing and vishing attacks where individuals receive e-mails asking for personal data.

“These cyber scammers will do whatever they can to steal your money and personal information this holiday season and are trying many different ways to commit these crimes. The best way to protect yourself is to report these scams to law enforcement or the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3,” said Shawn Henry, Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division, Washington, D.C.  Read Story Here

Bill Lowrance

Attorney at Law
www.lowrancelaw.com

Posted in crime, FBI, fraud, Investigations, law enforcement, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Attorney Sentenced To Three Years In Pellicano Case

Posted by Bill on November 25, 2008

A prominent Los Angeles attorney was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison and fined $250,000 for conspiring with Hollywood private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s former wife.  See LA Times Story.  Christensen’s attorney argued for a sentence of confinement in Christensen’s Beverly Hills home.  Nice if you can get it.  The judge did not buy into this unique alternative sentencing, however.

Prosecutors said Christensen hired Pellicano to wiretap Kerkorian’s ex-wife, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian, who was seeking $320,000 in monthly child support for her then-4-year-old daughter, to gain an edge in the high-stakes legal battle.

Remember professional investigators do not break the law to accomplish a job.  When you hire a private investigator you should emphasize that the investigator act in a legal and appropriate manner.  You do not want to go to jail, and you do not want to be in the headlines of the Washington Post.

Bill Lowrance
Attorney & Private Investigator
Lowrance Law LLC
McLean, VA

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pitfalls When Using The Web To Find Someone

Posted by Bill on November 24, 2008

Posted by:
Ed Hruneni
VP PIAVA

When interested in finding an old friend or an associate whom you have lost contact with many people search the web and use Google among other web resources.

Often this works but then again often it leads to just frustration. The next step usually is looking on the web for free or pay services which advertized that they will locate old classmates, missing family members and loves of your past! Find anyone!

The free ones sometimes only get you on another junk mailing list, without getting anymore info than you already had. Other free sites are really not free at all, they do the check for free but then there is a cost for providing you any info they found. The cost can vary from $30 to $100.

You’re so close you go for it, and then results come in and, it’s the same info you already obtained from Google and sometimes even less. You want to complain but you notice that there are no addresses or telephone numbers listed so that you can make a complaint.  Consumer-complaint sites are loaded with complaints about these types of scams.

What could be next, try another web only company that charges up front for their services. Many people have tried this approach and many have lost chunks of money with little or no results.

Give Up? Do what you probably should have done to begin with. Find a Licensed local Private Investigation company that has the resources to obtain the information you’re looking for. Get the cost up front from a real person whom you can talk to, of which you have their name, address, and phone number.

To get access to data bases needed for this type of work, a real legit company has to be licensed, and checked out by the data base service. Information obtained needs to be analyzed by a real licensed/registered Investigator often a person with a past law enforcement background. This produces more accurate and better cross checked information. A computer geek without investigative experience who does not have the time to spend on your case (since he/she deals with volume not accuracy, and gets no additional money for providing more info) will not give you the same results.

Good luck with your future searches. Be aware there are companies like American Security Programs that will provide this type of service and only charge the customer if the information requested is obtained. No results no cost.

Ed Hruneni
VP American Security Programs
Investigative Services
www.securityprograms.com<

Posted in crime, Investigations, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Research, Virginia | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Fraud Criminals 1 FBI Fraud Investigators 0

Posted by Bill on October 21, 2008

NY Times reports that the FBI, our good friends, does not have the resources to investigate “criminal wrongdoings tied to the country’s economic crisis.”  Click Here Times Article

Notes from the article:

The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation’s economic woes.

So depleted are the ranks of the F.B.I.’s white-collar investigators that executives in the private sector say they have had difficulty attracting the bureau’s attention in cases involving possible frauds of millions of dollars.

Since 2004, F.B.I. officials have warned that mortgage fraud posed a looming threat, and the bureau has repeatedly asked the Bush administration for more money to replenish the ranks of agents handling nonterrorism investigations, according to records and interviews. But each year, the requests have been denied, with no new agents approved for financial crimes, as policy makers focused on counterterrorism.

Bill Lowrance
www.lowrancelaw.com
Attorney & Private Investigator

Posted in crime, FBI, fraud, Investigations, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Offshore Accounts Tax Evasion and The IRS

Posted by Bill on October 5, 2008

 How much money do you have in your offshore bank account?  That’s right.  Some people attempt to hide money and other assets in foreign countries–out of the US and, supposedly, hidden from the IRS.

Many private investigators and attorneys search for hidden, offshore accounts.  Sometimes the money or other assets are hidden from a spouse in preparatin for a divorce.  Sometimes money is shuffled offshore to evade taxes.  Tax evasion is a federal crime, as we all know.  It is even a felony, too. 

Helio Castroneves, a U.S. resident and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, was recently indicted by a grand jury  on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States of income taxes and with six separate counts of income tax evasion for tax years 1999 through 2004.  

His sister and business manager, Katiucia Castroneves of Miami, and his attorney, Alan R. Miller of Michigan were also indicted.  The crime, using an offshore Panamanian shell corporation to fraudulently conceal income received from business deals.  Helio Castroneves received $6,000,000 in a three year contract, kicked back $5.4 million, kept $600,000 and only reported $50,000 on his federal income tax returns.  Well, with that the IRS and the US Justice Department got busy.

In another scheme, like one was not enough, the three defendants hid $5,000,000 in an offshore “deferred royalty plan.”  It is a complicated scheme, legal under certain circumstances, but not legal in the way these three carried out the scheme.  The bottom line is that Helio earned the $5,000,000, allegedly lied about his control over the money and did not report any of the money as income.  Well, the IRS jumped on that one too.

Take note of the governments statement on this story:

“Taxpayers, small and large, famous and not famous, should be aware of the enormously severe consequences they face if they fraudulently use offshore accounts to hide income, including potentially going to prison, paying back all their taxes plus interest and penalties, and being branded a felon for the rest of their lives,” said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. 

“Whether one makes a living parking cars or racing them, paying taxes is a responsibility that everyone shares. Our tax laws apply equally to everyone, regardless of status, class and income, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute these cases vigorously,” said U.S. Attorney Acosta.

Hey, read the whole story: Click Here

But, remember to play straight with income and paying taxes.  You do not want the IRS and/or the US Justice Department involved in your life.

Bill Lowrance
Tax Attorney
 Lowrance Law LLC

Posted in attorneys, crime, fraud, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Human Mystery From 1920

Posted by Bill on September 28, 2008

The Virginia Lawyers Weekly, VLW Blog,recently reported on this story that orginated from the Roanoke Times.

The great, Mountain Lake, in Giles County, VA, recently revealed human remains dating from the 1920s.  The lake has dried and receded somewhat.  Last Saturday, Timmy Dalton and his son Chris were walking the dried area of the lake looking for old bottles and other treasures.  Instead of treasure, they found human bones along with a belt buckle, a 1910 dime, a tooth and shoes. 

Read about this interesting mystery: Roanoke Times and Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA www.piava.org

Posted in crime, Investigations, law enforcement, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Girls Gone Wild” Guy + IRS = Al Capone?

Posted by Bill on September 1, 2008

 Great LA Times story:

Classic defense —- “My Accountant Made Me Do It”

LOS ANGELES — As founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” franchise, Joe Francis has often been accused of duping women into doing things they wish they had not, especially baring their breasts in front of a video camera.

 

This time, it is Mr. Francis who says he was fooled — not by a cameraman, but by his accountant.

 

This guy faces trial on tax charges, says the LA Times, something like $20,000,000 dedcuted on his corporate tax returns—fraudulent they say.

 

Oh well, $20 mill here $20 mill there . . . . . .

 

The veracity of his claim is likely to be decided in September, when Mr. Francis will be tried in Los Angeles on federal charges that he deducted $20 million in fraudulent expenses on the corporate tax returns filed by his company, Mantra Films.

If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Read whole story:  Click Here<

Bill Lowrance
President PIAVA www.piava.org

Posted in crime, fraud, Investigations, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pellicano Convicted–Again But Lawyer Too

Posted by Bill on August 31, 2008

 Boring and old news from Los Angeles that former, big time, investigator Anthony Pellicano was convicted again for illegal acts.  But, this time one of his clients (lawyer Terry Christensen) was convicted.  I guess he can say good bye to his Bar license. 

From the LA Times:

“A well-known California lawyer was convicted today in a federal wiretapping conspiracy case, due to his legal work for a billionaire client.

Terry Christensen conspired with private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s ex-wife during a bitter child custody dispute, a federal jury in downtown Los Angeles found.” Read story Click Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

GPS–New Surveillance Technique For Police

Posted by Bill on August 13, 2008

In a recent post we pointed out the Arlington County, VA, judge who ruled that the police using a GPS unit to track a person did not need to apply for a search warrant.  The police can just attach a GPS unit on a car and sit back to track a person’s movements in the automobile.

Today’s Washington Post has an excellent article on law enforcement’s use of GPS to track suspects.  Interestingly, the jurisdictions in the DC metro area use GPS units often.  Hey, it beats having to plan and carry out a physical, moving surveillance.  Think about it, though, do we want law enforcement to put a GPS unit on our automobile and track our movements?  Is there any protocol for police to follow before using the GPS?  Will the use of GPS devices be abused by law enforcement? 

Read this Post article: Click Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

www.piava.org

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Arlington County, VA, Judge Approves Warrentless GPS Tracking

Posted by Bill on August 7, 2008

 According to the Arlington Connection newspaper, Arlington County Circuit Judge Joanne Alpert ruled that GPS TRACKING data that led to the arrest of a man suspected in a series of sexual assaults in Fairfax County and Alexandria is admissible in court even if the GPS device was used without a search warrant.

See whole story: Click Here

Bill Lowrance
President PIAVA
www.piava.org

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New Laws In Virginia–July 1, 2008, More Sangria Please

Posted by Bill on August 1, 2008

From the Excellent:  The Fairfax Times Fairfax Times Here New Laws Now in Play

As of July 1, 2008, Virginia

Virginians are now free to drink sangria and dessert wine in restaurants, but they can no longer use the Department of Motor Vehicles driving test as a substitute for behind-the-wheel driving classes.

Here is a small sampling of the dozens of new state laws that went into effect Tuesday, from alcohol to zoning.

Alcohol-Restaurants with mixed beverage licenses may now sell sangria and other beverages that mix liquor with wine or beer. Restaurants with limited mixed beverage licenses may sell dessert wine.

Animal fighting-The fighting of any animals, except dogs, is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Dog fighting is a felony. Officers investigating animal fighting allegations may now conduct searches at night.

Driving-Anyone who fails the DMV drivers test three times must attend driving school before attempting to take the test again. Anyone under 21 who is convicted of drinking and driving loses his or her license for a year and has to pay a $500 fine or perform 50 hours of community service. The penalty for second and subsequent violations of the child restraint law is now up to $500.

Mental health-The standard for involuntarily committing someone to mental health treatment is lower. The person must have a significant risk of harming himself or others. Anyone who has been declared to be mentally incompetent or who has been involuntarily committed to psychiatric treatment is prohibited from purchasing a gun.

Miscellaneous-Anyone who knowingly buys or receives stolen goods is also culpable for the theft. Anyone who is fired from a job for failing a drug test is ineligible for unemployment compensation. The term “mentally retarded” has been replaced with “intellectually disabled” in state code.

Sex offenses-Legislators removed a loophole in state law that allowed men to escape prosecution by marrying girls 14 and older whom they were accused of attacking. Sex offenders who are prohibited from having contact with children may not go within 100 feet of a playground, athletic field/facility or gymnasium. Violation is a Class 6 felony. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for someone 18 or older to tongue kiss a child 13 or younger. Anyone found guilty must register as a sex offender.

Zoning-Localities may carry over zoning violations when a property is sold, an effort to prevent illegal boardinghouses from re-emerging.

 

Times Community © 2007 | Fairfax Times

 

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

www.piava.org

 

www.informationinsightsinc.com

 

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Virginia | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Data Collection Laws–US & EU

Posted by Bill on July 30, 2008

  I recently came across two good articles addressing the data privacy laws of the European Union and the data privacy laws of the United States.  The articles were published in the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management section’s “Law Technology Today.”

John Tredennick is the author. Mr. Tredennick is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and is one of the early pioneers in litigation technology. In his articles, he discusses the various laws and penalties of data privacy in the European Union, and compares Michigan and Texas recent laws requiring computer forensics experts to qualify as private investigators. If you do computer forensics work in Michigan and you are not licensed, you are committing a felony.

Read with interest:

Collecting Data in the EU—A Few Things You Should Know Before You Jump In the Water

By John Tredennick

“The rules for collecting data in other countries are different than in the U. S. and those differences are important. If you collect the wrong data in the EU or collect the right data the wrong way, the penalties could be more severe than monetary sanctions. You might end up in jail.  Here is a look at some of the issues you face collecting data in the European Union.”

Read Article

Collecting Computer Data in the U.S.: Pick the Wrong State and You Could Wind Up in Jail

By John Tredennick

“Two states have recently enacted statutes that make it a crime for unlicensed individuals to engage in computer forensics. Texas passed a law that would give regulators the power to impose up to a year in jail and a $14,000 fine on people doing “computer investigations.” Michigan went a bit further. On May 28 th of this year, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill that makes unlicensed computer forensics work in Michigan a felony punishable by up to a four-year prison term, damages of up to $25,000 and a criminal fine of up to $5,000.”

Read Article

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc McLean, VA

Posted in attorneys, computer forensics, crime, Investigations, lawyers, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Research | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Pellicano Case To Change Way Attorneys Use Private Investigators?

Posted by Bill on July 13, 2008

Attorneys are going to change the way they view hiring private investigators and what type of work is authorized for the private investigator.  This is all due to the Anthony Pellicano case in Los Angeles and the jobs he did for attorney Terry Christensen. See prior post on Pellicano Here

Los Angeles attorney Terry Christensen, managing partner at Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro, hired and used the private investigator services of Anthony Pellicano who was convicted several months ago for a multitude of federal crimes.  Christensen was indicted in 2006 when the federal grand jury alleged that Christensen paid Pellicano to record and report on telephone conversations in some high profile cases.  See Christensen Indicted.  Christensen was accused of paying Pellicano to illegally wiretap some individuals. 

Federal prosecutors allegedly have dozens of recordings of conversations between Pellicano and Christensen, and they intend to prove that Christensen paid Pellicano to illegally wiretap individuals in some of his high profile cases.  If convicted, Christensen could face up to 10 years in prison. U.S. v. Pellicano, No. 2:2005-cr-01046 (C.D. Calif.).

Now it is reported that many lawyers are thinking about the way they work with private investigators.

The National Law Journal published an excellent article, see Article, analyzing the Pellicano and other cases involving attorneys’ viewpoints on future use of private investigators.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA, www.piava.org

www.informationinsightsinc.com

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, lawyers, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

More Phishing Scams–Child Support

Posted by Bill on June 16, 2008

News from the FBI about new phishing scam:

 The FBI and its partner, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), have received reports of phishing attacks targeting users of EPPICards. The EPPICard is similar to a debit card. EPPICards are issued by a state agency for the purpose of receiving child-support payments. The cards are currently used in 15 states.

Individuals have reported receiving e-mail or text messages indicating a problem with their account. They are directed to follow the link provided in the message to update their account or correct the problem. The link actually directs the individuals to a fraudulent web site where their personal information, such as account number and PIN, is compromised.

Individuals have also reported receiving an e-mail message asking them to complete an online survey. At the end of the survey, they are asked for their EPPICard account information to allow funds to be credited to the account in appreciation for completing the survey. Providing this information will allow criminals to compromise the account.

Click Here For Whole Story

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

 

Posted in crime, FBI, fraud, Investigations, law enforcement, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »