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PI Continuing Education

Posted by Bill on September 29, 2008

Ed Hruneni, VP of PIAVA, and VP of Investigative Services, American Security Programs, www.securityprograms.com, Dulles, VA, contacted me today advising that he is sponsering a great continuing education program for private investigators.  On Saturday, October 11, 2008, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., American Security Programs will present a “Financial Fraud” seminar.  The cost is $35.  Topics will include mortgage fraud and other common fraud schemes.  You will learn about interviewing real estate professionals, buyers, sellers, loan officers and real estate appraisers.

The good news is that the speaker is Bill Stollhans who is the former Chief Financial Officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well former Assistant Director.  Mr. Stollhans is now a licensed private investigation business owner.  His company is Potomac Investigative Services LLC.  Mr. Stollhans has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and investigations.  Mr. Stollhans is a member of PIAVA and is the past president.

Read all about the program financialfraud here.  If you need continuing education as a private investigator, don’t miss this.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA www.piava.org

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Kroll Investigating Hollywood?

Posted by Bill on September 28, 2008

Michael Thomas at Daily Caveat, reports that Jossip.com reports Kroll is at it again.

  Kroll is a world leader investigative group.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA http://www.piava.org

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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 »

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 »

“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 »

SEC Edgar No More

Posted by Bill on September 1, 2008

SEC Announces Successor to EDGAR Database“IDEA” Will Make Company and Fund Information Interactive

Washington, D.C., Aug. 19, 2008 — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox today unveiled the successor to the agency’s 1980s-era EDGAR database, which will give investors far faster and easier access to key financial information about public companies and mutual funds.

Read whole story:  Click Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA www.piava.org

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

US Federal Courts Redact Information

Posted by Bill on September 1, 2008

From The Third Branch Newsletter of the Federal Courts:
Read whole story:  Click Here

To protect the privacy of litigants, the Federal Rules of Practice and Procedure require that certain personal data identifiers be modified or partially redacted from federal court case files. These identifiers are Social Security numbers, dates of birth, financial account numbers, and names of minor children, and in criminal cases, also home addresses.

But redaction, once a matter of drawing a heavy black line through the words on paper, has changed with the electronic filing of documents. A black bar drawn over the text is no longer enough to block it from view. In an electronic file, the obscured text still lurks beneath the highlighter box and can be readily recalled. The text is hidden, not excised.

Attorneys filing pleadings recently in a Connecticut case learned that lesson the hard way. They created black boxes to cover text they wished to redact. Unfortunately, simply pasting the text into a Word file revealed the hidden information. Changing the text color to white so it disappears against the white screen/paper is similarly ineffective.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA, www.piava.org

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Research | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

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 »

Intelligence Community Reference Book–At Last The “Idiots Guide”

Posted by Bill on June 18, 2008

 

Want to know all about the National Security Act of 1947 or the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 or even the Counterintelligence Enhancement Act of 2002?  Well, you can get in bed on a rainy afternoon, flop under the covers and read this book.  It has everything you want to know from homeland security to information privacy and other legal rights of Americans.  Check it out:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released the Intelligence Community Legal Reference Book. This book was published in 2007, but has just been released to the general public. It includes legislation, procedures, and guidelines related to intelligence and national security. All documents in the book are unclassified.

Bill Lowrance

Information Insights Inc.

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, lawyers, PI Chatter, private detective, private investigations, private investigator, private investigators, Public Records, Research | 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 »

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.

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

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 »