Private Investigators In Virginia

PI Chatter Professional Investigators in Virginia

Archive for the ‘law enforcement’ Category

Competative Intelligence Update September 2013

Posted by Bill on October 8, 2013

One of the most popular sites for many investigators, attorneys and researchers is Sabrina I. Pacifici’s fantastic Competitive Intelligence site. See Competitive Intelligence Guide – Updated as of September 2013.

Sabrina I. Pacifici is Founder, Editor, Publisher of LLRX.Com; (established in 1996), the free web journal consistently recognized as a publisher of comprehensive, meticulously documented, non-partisan guides and content-rich resources, commentary and actionable information on Internet research and web-related current awareness issues invaluable to legal, academic, corporate, government and public interest researchers. LLRX  is a great site to keep up with all the latest in legal and technology resources.

Good reading and keep investigating and pay no attention to the forced WordPress Ads that pop up.

Bill Lowrance
Lowrance Law LLC
Attorney, Investigator and Legal Consultant

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, surveillance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Competitive Intelligence Update July 2012

Posted by Bill on August 26, 2012

One of the most popular sites for many investigators, attorneys and researchers is Sabrina I. Pacifici’s fantastic Competitive Intelligence site. See Competitive Intelligence Update July 2012

Sabrina I. Pacifici is Founder, Editor, Publisher of LLRX.Com; (established in 1996), the free web journal consistently recognized as a publisher of comprehensive, meticulously documented, non-partisan guides and content-rich resources, commentary and actionable information on Internet research and web-related current awareness issues invaluable to legal, academic, corporate, government and public interest researchers. LLRX  is a great site to keep up with all the latest in legal and technology resources.

Good reading and keep investigating.

Bill Lowrance
Lowrance Law LLC
Attorney, Investigator and Legal Consultant

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

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 »

FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide

Posted by Bill on October 29, 2009

FBI Seal Interesting article in NYT about release of the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, see NYT Article, See the Guide, or the DIOG, here  DIOG Part 1-4, DIOG Part 5-9, DIOG Part 10-11.11.9, DIOG Part 11.12-17, Appendices

The FBI says:  The DIOG establishes the FBI’s internal rules and procedures to implement the Attorney General’s Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations (AGG-Dom).  The DIOG and the AGG-Dom were promulgated in late 2008 to ensure that the FBI is equipped with all lawful and appropriate tools so that it can transform itself into an intelligence-driven organization that assesses and investigates criminal and national security threats to our nation and its people. Both documents have been released to the public as part of an ongoing effort to assure the American people that FBI employees will carry out their mission according to an established set of rules and with full respect for the constitutional and statutory rights of the people.

 These rules, which will be audited and enforced through a rigorous compliance mechanism, are designed to ensure that FBI assessments and investigations are subject to responsible review and approval and do not target anyone or any group on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or the exercise of any other right guaranteed by the Constitution.  

The DIOG is a living operational guide and its release to the public is intended to provide as much transparency as possible. It will be reviewed and changed periodically, as law and policy change and as circumstances dictate. Because it does govern FBI operations and investigations, not all of its contents can be released as they provide too much of a road map to those who pose a threat to the nation. The FBI will, from time to time, reassess whether additional information can safely be released.

All very interesting. Now you can investigate and get tips on investigations techniques.

Bill Lowrance, McLean, VA
www.lowrancelaw.com
www.informationinsightsinc.com

Posted in FBI, FOIA, Investigations, law enforcement, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Research, surveillance | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Hewlett-Packard Pretextors Fined

Posted by Bill on May 28, 2008

  From Wired:  A key figure who pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection to the Hewlett-Packard spying scandal was ordered Wednesday to pay hefty fines and to refrain from selling personal phone records obtain fraudulently via pretexting.

A Florida judge ordered Bryan Wagner to pay $428,000 in ill-gotten gains and his co-owner of Eye in the Sky Investigation, Cassandra Selvage, to give up $110,762, according to a default order in a civil suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. The two did not defend themselves in court, an FTC spokeswoman said.  Click Here for Wired Blog Story  See Also PC World Article

Click Here FTC Press Release

“According to the FTC complaint, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 provides that a customer’s phone records may only be disclosed “upon affirmative written request by the customer.” But the agency alleged that since at least 2005 Action Research Group, Inc., and its principals, Joseph and Matthew DePantes, sold confidential customer phone records, including lists of calls made and the dates, times, and duration of the calls, to third parties, without the knowledge or consent of the customers. To get the records, these defendants relied upon the other defendants, Eye in the Sky Investigations, Inc., Cassandra Selvage and Bryan Wagner, who obtained them from phone companies through “pretexting” – using “false pretenses, fraudulent statements, fraudulent or stolen documents or other misrepresentations, including posing as an account holder or as an employee” of a phone company. Selling the records constitutes an invasion of privacy that could endanger the health and safety of consumers, the agency alleged.

The DePantes and ARG agreed to settle the FTC charges. Defendants ESI, Cassandra Selvage, and Bryan Wagner are subject to default judgments entered by the court.

The settlement and default judgments permanently bar the defendants from obtaining, marketing or selling customer phone records or consumers’ personal information derived from those records. They also bar the defendants from pretexting or using others to pretext to obtain consumers’ information. The settlement order entered a judgment in the amount of $67,000 against the DePantes and ARG, the estimated amount of ill-gotten gains the defendants earned from their illegal scheme; the judgment was suspended upon a payment of $3,000 based on the defendants’ inability to pay. In the default judgments, the court ordered Wagner to give up $428,085 in ill-gotten gains and ESI and Selvage to give up $110,762.”

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

Pellicano Conviction–Future of Private Investigators

Posted by Bill on May 26, 2008

  Newsweek has a story about the recent conviction of California private investigator Anthony Pellicano.  Pellicano was convicted in federal court recently on racketeering and wire tap charges. Click Here for LA Times Story 

What is the future of the private investigation industry? How will the Pellicano conviction place restrictions on private investigators? Click Here Newsweek Story

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

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

Pretexting Couple Plead Guilty

Posted by Bill on May 26, 2008

    In December 2007 we wrote about the indictment and arrest of several private investigators and personal information researchers pretexting the IRS, medical offices, Social Security Administration and others for personal information.  Click Here to Read 

This month, May 2008, the two main pretexting individuals, Emilio Torrella, 36, and Brandy Torrella, 27, whose company BNT Investigations in Belfair, WA, sold the data for $30 to $300 a record to private investigators who used their services.  The Torrellas obtained the information through false representations.  This month the couple pled guilty.

The Torellas, who owned BNT Investigations in Belfair, sold the data for $30 to $300 a record to private investigators who used their services.

The couple face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft, plus additional time for wire fraud and conspiracy.

The year-long investigation, dubbed “Operation Dialing for Dollars,” led to the couple’s indictment in December 2007, along with the indictment of seven private investigators and another Belfair man, BNT Investigations employee Steven Berwick. Cases against those eight are set for trial in September.  Read full news article Click Here Seattle PI. See Torrella Plea Agreement

BIll Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

Posted in Investigations, law enforcement, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »