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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

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

Adultery in Virginia–Proving It

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2009

A popular topic in Virginia law is adultery. (NOTE: NO LEGAL OPINION HERE)  Usually, adultery is considered in light of grounds for divorce.  In Virginia there are two kinds of divorces: 1. bed and board divorce and 2. absolute divorce.  I am not going to bother using the latin terms that the Commonwealth favors, but suffice to say that the bed and board divorce amounts to a perpetual separation protecting persons and property. If you get a b&b divorce, you cannot remarry during the life of your ex spouse.  An absolute divorce, permanent and you can remarry, may be granted on one of three fault grounds or on a no-fault separation ground.

Adultery is one of the three grounds for an absolute divorce.  So, what is adultery? A person who, being married, voluntarily has sexual intercourse with another person who is not his/her spouse commits adultery.  If a spouse finds out about the adulterous act, he/she could file for an immediate divorce, but to get the divorce based on adultery, you must prove adultery by clear and convincing evidence based upon proven facts and reasonable inferences drawn from the facts. The Virginia courts have said that “strongly suspicious circumstances are insufficient.”

So, adultery can be proven based on circumstantial as well as direct evidence. It all depends on the facts in a case. A lot depends whether the trier of fact finds the witnesses credible. In addition, adultery grounds must be corroborated by a third party other than the husband/wife. Many people use private investigators to gather evidence of adultery, and the investigators may testify about their investigation.  The Virginis courts have noted in the past that a private investigator’s testimony will be subjected to the strictest scrutiny by the courts and acted upon with caution. 

In next post I will give examples from various Virginia cases dealing with adultery.

Bill Lowrance

NOTE: I am not giving legal opinion and I am not your lawyer if you read this page.

If you want my legal opinion contact me at 703 506 1600, www.lowrancelaw.com

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VA Freedom of Information Advisory Council

Posted by Bill on June 8, 2009

Interesting public records activity in Virginia.

The Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, FOIA Council , is having a meeting today the Personal Identifying Information Subcommittee of the FOIA Council. Meeting is today, Monday, June 8, 2009, 1 p.m., in the Speaker’s Conference Room, Sixth Floor, General Assembly Building, 910 Capitol St., Richmond, VA.  See Memo and agenda HERE

Agenda includes:

Review of bills referred by the 2009 Session for further study by the FOIA Council:

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; disclosure of official records; exceptions. Provides that records of the Department shall be subject to the disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, except that personal information, as defined in § 2.2-3801, of individual applicants for or holders of any hunting, fishing, boating, or trapping license issued by an agent of the Department shall be withheld from public disclosure, provided that such individuals have requested that the Department not disclose such information. However, statistical summaries, abstracts, or other records containing information in an aggregate form that does not identify individual applicants or licensees shall be disclosed. The bill provides, however, that such information may be released (i) in accordance with a proper judicial order, (ii) to any law-enforcement agency, officer, or authorized agent thereof acting in the performance of official law-enforcement duties, or (iii) to any person who is the subject of the record.

HB 2471 (Hugo); Freedom of Information Act; salary records of teachers. Provides that the disclosure of the names of individual teachers is not required under FOIA in response to a request for the official salary or rate of pay of employees of a local school board.

HB 2630 (Crockett-Stark); Law-Enforcement Officers’ Privacy Protection Act. Allows a law-enforcement officer to request that personal information about the officer be withheld from disclosure on public records. For purposes of the Act, “personal information” includes the officer’s name, social security number, address, phone number, and any other information that could be used to physically locate the officer. NOTE:  You will recall that Delegate Crockett-Stark was present at the April 27, 2009 FOIA Council meeting to discuss HB 2630.  She indicated that there is a similar law in place in Ohio that was enacted because a family member of a law enforcement officer was murdered after personal information about the officer was made available. She stated that her sheriff had requested a similar law in Virginia.  Staff noted that in Virginia personal information about public employees is exempt from FOIA; however, real property assessment records and court records are open to the public as a matter of law.   The Council noted that there are two competing policies at work in this instance– privacy versus a community’s awareness of the identity of its officers.  The Council asked Delegate Crockett-Stark to have her contact call Delegate Griffith to identify the specific issue of concern so that the scope of the bill could be narrowed to address the issue.

SB 1332 (Cuccinelli); Private entities operating, managing, or supervising any portion of the state highway system. Provides that a private entity that operates, manages, or supervises any portion of the state highway system and receives funding from the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions shall be considered a public body for purposes of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) of the Code of Virginia as it relates to that portion of the private entity’s business operations responsible for operating, managing, or supervising the portion of the state highway system. 

At the April 27, 2009 FOIA Council meeting, members of the Council agreed that the issue behind this bill was unclear.  Senator Griffith directed staff to re-invite Senator Cuccinelli to address the Council at its next meeting.  Therefore no action is required by the Subcommittee at this time.
 
Social Security Numbers and the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act (GDCDPA):

Collection of SSNs: The Council has already indicated its intent to continue studying this area, which will coincide with the analysis of the results of last year’s survey regarding collection and use of SSNs.  This year’s study will focus on identifying and eliminating the unnecessary collection of SSNs by government. It is hoped that by limiting collection in the first instance, the need for additional protections to be added later will be reduced or eliminated.  In addition, because the SSN survey produced an unexpectedly large volume of responses that necessitated additional time for analysis, SB 1318/HB 2426 were passed in 2009 as recommendations of the FOIA Council to delay until 2010 the implementation date prohibiting the collection of an individual’s social security number unless collection of such number is (i) authorized or required by state or federal law and (ii) essential for the performance of that agency’s duties.  Note that in light of HB 2427 (May), establishing the Protection of Social Security Numbers Act, as discussed below, the Council needs to decide what further action, if any, needs to be taken

Disclosure of SSNs: HB 2427 (May) establishes the Protection of Social Security Numbers Act (the Act), which will become effective July 1, 2009.  In brief, the Act exempts from FOIA the first five digits of SSNs except under certain limited circumstances, and provides penalties for improper disclosure.  The final four digits of SSNs found in public records will remain open to public disclosure under FOIA.   In past meetings the Council has debated the merits of this and other protective schemes that would limit the disclosure of SSNs.  Again, the Act’s passage in 2009 raises the question of whether any further action regarding disclosure of SSNs is necessary at this time, and if so, what form should that action take.

Bill Lowrance

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, lawyers, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Research, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Twitterers?

Posted by Bill on February 13, 2009

Any of you Twitter?  Worldwide Twestival is ongoing.

Twitter Festival Read Here

Bill Lowrance

Lowrance Law LLC

McLean, VA, Law Firm

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IRS Mileage Rates New 2009

Posted by Bill on December 2, 2008

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2009 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2009, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 55 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The new rates for business, medical and moving purposes are slightly lower than rates for the second half of 2008 that were raised by a special adjustment mid-year in response to a spike in gasoline prices. The rate for charitable purposes is set by law and is unchanged from 2008.

The business mileage rate was 50.5 cents in the first half of 2008 and 58.5 cents in the second half. The medical and moving rate was 19 cents in the first half and 27 cents in the second half.

The mileage rates for 2009 reflect generally higher transportation costs compared to a year ago, but the rates also factor in the recent reversal of rising gasoline prices. While gasoline is a significant factor in the mileage rate, other fixed and variable costs, such as depreciation, enter the calculation.

See Whole Story Click Here

Bill Lowrance
Attorney at Law

Lowrance Law LLC

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | 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 »

100 Top Websites For Everything

Posted by Bill on October 6, 2008

 Great organized information resource from PC World.  If you want to know something, learn about something, find people, search public records or almost anything informational check out this good resource.  Click Here

Bill Lowrance www.lowrancelaw.com

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Research | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Warnings About Facebook

Posted by Bill on September 28, 2008

From the Washington Post: Brian Krebs Security Article

Fake Facebook ‘Add Friends’ E-Mail Adds Malware

Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpacegive scam artists and virus writers new ways to package tried-but-true tricks. The latest example of this making the rounds is an e-mail that appears to be an invitation from Facebook to add a friend: A recipient who opens an attached image to take a look at their new friend instead opens the door for hackers to compromise his PC.

Better watch out for phony Facebook mail.  As usual, do not open and attachment.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA www.piava.org

Posted in computer forensics, Investigations, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Texas Taxpayers Hurricane Ike And IRS Tax Relief

Posted by Bill on September 25, 2008

IRS allows Hurricane Ike Texas residents a break on tax return filing, tax payments and other time sensitive acts due on or before September 7, 2008 and before January 5, 2009. 

 

Specifically, the relief postpones until January 5, 2009, certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. The postponement applies to return filing, tax payment and certain other time-sensitive acts due on or after September 7, 2008, and before January 5, 2009 –– including individual estimated tax returns and corporate tax returns that were due September 15, and extended individual returns due Oct. 15.

 

In addition, the IRS will waive the failure to deposit penalties for employment and excise deposits due on or after September 7 and before September 22, 2008, as long as the deposits are made on or before September 22.

 

Following the hurricane’s landfall on Saturday, September 13, the federal government declared the following Texas counties a presidential disaster area qualifying for individual assistance: Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller and Washington.

 

“We are giving taxpayers in these hard-hit areas until early next year to file their returns and make payments,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “All Americans have concerns for those affected by this devastating hurricane, and our hope is that this extra time will allow people to stay focused on the rebuilding and clean-up effort.”

 

Read whole IRS article for further information about covered area, covered taxpayers, types of relief and about casualty losses.

 

Read Here

 

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA www.piava.org

 

 

 

 

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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 »

IRS Recommends Business Entity

Posted by Bill on June 23, 2008

Of all the choices you make when starting a business, one of the most important is the type of legal organization you select for your company. This decision can affect how much you pay in taxes, the amount of paperwork your business is required to do, the personal liability you face and your ability to borrow money. Business formation is controlled by the law of the state where your business is organized.

This fact sheet provides a quick look at the differences between the most common forms of business entities. The most common forms of businesses are:

Sole Proprietorships
Partnerships
Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

While state law controls the formation of your business, federal tax law controls how your business is taxed.  Federal tax law recognizes an additional business form, the Subchapter S Corporation.

Read

Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

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

IRS Increases Mileage Rate

Posted by Bill on June 23, 2008

The Internal Revenue Service today announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rates for the final six months of 2008. Taxpayers may use the optional standard rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes

The rate will increase to 58.5 cents a mile for all business miles driven from July 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2008. This is an increase of eight (8) cents from the 50.5 cent rate in effect for the first six months of 2008, as set forth in Read here

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

At The NALI Conference Today

Posted by Bill on June 13, 2008

PIAVA is at the NALI conference today in Arlington, VA.  Yesterday, NALI members and conference attendees toured the Library of Congress learning all the various types of information available through research.  After that the members/attendees walked up to Congress to talk with their representatives about current issues in the professional investigative industry.

Today, various people are giving presentations on attorney/private investigator relationships, “At Risk Protection & Investigations,” managing large investigations, locating hidden assets, fraud investigations, business due diligence investigations and digital forensics.  Attendees receive continuing education credits for going to the sessions.

Some of the exhibitors here are Jimmie Mesis, PI Magazine, www.pimagazine.com, IRB’s Kristen Gilley, www.irbsearch.com, is here along with OTL Tactical, Beth Kalyan, www.otltacticl.com, Tina Green, El Dorado Insurance, www.eldoradoinsurance.com, Mike Yergey, Yergey Insurance Agency, www.yergeyins.com, Paige Arrington, G.A. Public Records Service, www.gaprs.biz, Shawn Monroe, www.paraben.com, and Amanda Cunha, Locate Plus, www.locateplus.com.

Our good friend Rosalie Folino, J&R Folino, LLC, www.jrfolinollc.com, stopped by and assisted the writer in clarifying information and, most importantly, spell checking live time.

Now is lunch time, and we will be back with more news later.

Bill Lowrnce

President PIAVA

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

Troy Fleming Attends NALI Conference

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008

Troy Fleming, legal investigator for Brown & Jennings PLC law firm in Roanoke, VA, is attending the NALI Conference in Arlington, VA. Troy is the Southeast Regional Director of NALI.  NALI is the National Association of Legal Investigators headquartered in Lansing, MI. see www.nalionline.org

Troy is a member of PIAVA and represents the Roanoke, VA, chapter.

Troy is also a member of the Inner Circle of Investigators, www.icinvestigators.com, an elite group of investigators specializing in sophisticated civil litgation matters.

The National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) was formed in 1967 with its primary focus to conduct investigations related to litigation. Membership in NALI is open to all professional legal investigators who are actively engaged in negligence investigations for the plaintiff and/or criminal defense, and who are employed by investigative firms, law firms or public defender agencies. An applicant must have a minimum of 24 months of documented full-time employment in this endeavor.

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NALI Conference Social Hour Starting Arlington VA

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008

The NALI members attending the conference here in Arlington, Va, are arriving for the social hour.  Later tonight there is a dinner and PIAVA will be around to see if the food is good.

Follow the news and events at the NALI conference here at the PIAVA Blog.

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

Court Challenge To New Virginia SSN Law

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008

 BJ Ostergren, a Virginia privacy advocate, filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a new Virginia law prohibiting citizens from disseminating Social Security numbers that anyone can legally obtain from government Web sites.  Click Here Read Whole Article

Ostergren claims the statute is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech. She filed in the US District Court and is asking the federal court in Richmond to block enforcement of the law until the case is decided.

Ostergren has mined famous people’s personal information, such as SSNs, and put them on her website to show how the government does not protect citizen information. 

The Virginia General Assembly passed the new legislation last summer, and, if I had to guess, I would guess that the new law was aimed at Ostergren hoping to stop her posting public officials personal information.

 

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At NALI Conference Arlington VA Today–Right Now

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008

PIAVA is at the NALI conference in Arlington, VA.  We are on site now and will be posting the latest happenings.  NALI’s membership is composed of professional investigators.  NALI members are here at the conference from all over the United States.

More to come later.

BIll Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

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National Association of Legal Investigators–NALI

Posted by Bill on June 12, 2008

NALI is having its national conference today through Saturday in Arlington, VA. Click here for information, at the Doubletree Hotel, Arlington, VA. City-National Airport, 300 Army Navy Drive,Arlington, Virginia 22202, Tel: 703-416-4100.

PIAVA is an exhibitor at the conference and will be posting news and information from the conference live.  Check back through out the next few days to updates and information.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

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

Private Investigator Licensing For Computer Forensics

Posted by Bill on June 7, 2008

Intersting article about private investigation licensing for computer forensics experts.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Summary. Some states define “private investigator” for PI licensing purposes in ways that can include digital forensics. State PI legislation invariably exempts lawyers, but the scope of that exemption may be limited to people who have an employer-employee relationship with the attorney, meaning that third-party digital forensics examiners (“DFEs”) may have to be licensed as PI’s. The limited scope of the attorney exemption could also bring what many consider as litigation support activities within the scope of state PI regulation. There can be criminal penalties for unlicensed PI’s and, in at least one state, for people who hire unlicensed PI’s.

DFEs operate in a fundamentally different manner than private investigators and PI regulation should not extend to digital forensics. To the extent there is regulation it should be consistent across the Unites States – the national and international scope of many companies and transactions means that many cases and investigations will necessarily be multi-jurisdictional and consistent rules are needed to avoid unnecessary burden and expense.

Click Here For Whole Article

Posted in computer forensics, Investigations, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

IRS FAQ Stimulus Payments-All You Want To Know About Taxes

Posted by Bill on May 8, 2008

 Our friends at the IRS have published FAQs for all you want or need to know about stimulus payments: Click Here for FAQs.  Want more information Click Here for more FAQs.

You can also go to the Econ Stimulus Payment Center at Click Here for Econ Stimulus Center 

I hope some of you received the stimulus payment and put the extra “surprise” money to good use.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

Posted in Investigations, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, Public Records | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »