Private Investigators In Virginia

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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

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

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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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

ACFE Webinar On Social Engineering

Posted by Bill on June 6, 2008

AFCE, the premier certified fraud examiners site, is having a webinar on social engineering.  Social engineering is getting information from people through various manipulative schemes–pretexting, phishing etc.  This webinar sounds like it should excellent for the professional investigator.  See AFCE Webinar

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

Social Engineering – The Foundation of Today’s Fraud Schemes

June 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM EDT
Duration: 100 minutes

Many fraudsters are adept at utilizing social engineering to successfully execute their schemes. The art of manipulating people, whether through pretexting, phishing, or other information-collecting techniques, is based on exploiting human weaknesses and decision-making biases to the direct benefit of the fraudster. This presentation will detail the elements and indicators of social engineering, provide examples of current social engineering schemes, review the risks entailed by these schemes and provide best practices for risk mitigation.

Learning Objectives:
• Understanding social engineering principals
• Identifying the red flags of social engineering attempts
• Possessing best practices and resources for related risk mitigation

Who Should Attend:
• Certified Fraud Examiners and other anti-fraud specialists
• Law Enforcement
• Loss prevention and security professionals
• Forensic accountants
• Internal and independent auditors
• Business managers and professionals assuming fraud deterrence or investigation responsibilities

Speaker

Jon McDowall, CFE, PCI, CIFI

Chief Executive Officer
Fraud Resource Group

Prices listed below reflect the Early Bird Discount and will end on June 12:
Member $99
Non-member $149

 

Posted in crime, fraud, Investigations, PI Chatter, police, 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 »

Great Potential–Crime Reports

Posted by Bill on February 4, 2008

crime-fbi.jpg  Thanks to AbsTracked for this item.

Crime Reports is a crime reporting system for various jurisdictions.  The information comes from law enforcement agencies and is easily searchable for the latest crime reports for your area.  Unfortunately, Virginia is not one of the states included in this system yet, but I bet the system will grow and expand over the coming months.  The site says: “The CrimeReports.com service provides law enforcement agencies with an affordable and easy-to-use Web-based service for managing and controlling the sharing of crime data with the public, in near real-time. Community members can then access their neighborhood crime information for free, empowering them to make informed decisions to help improve the safety of their families, friends, property and the community at large.”

Currently, the following states have cities/counties participating in this on-line program:Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin. 

Many local jurisdictions in Virginia have the crime reports on the local law enforcement web sites.  You can check Fairfax County Police at Fairfax County Police crime

Check it out.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

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

Wayward Bobbies

Posted by Bill on January 30, 2008

yuma-state-prison-inside-cell.jpg  From our British friends, a story about wayward “Bobbies” and private investigators doing alleged illegal things and getting prison time:

“A private detective who helped to spy on the Jimmy Choo shoe boss Tamara Mellon was jailed for 21 months today.  David Carroll, 60, from Highgate, north London, played a leading role in a City-based agency operation, Active Investigation Services (AIS), which specialised in computer hacking and telephone tapping. London’s Southwark crown court heard that the company’s customers included the banking heir Matthew Mellon, who paid thousands of pounds to discover whether his estranged wife was concealing financial information in the run-up to their divorce.”  Read Story Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

Posted in crime, Investigations, law enforcement, PI Chatter, PIAVA, police, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Latest Anthony Pellicano News

Posted by Bill on January 30, 2008

justice  Latest news and happens in the Pellicano trial situation in Los Angeles.  LA Times Story Pellicano is the infamous PI in Los Angeles sitting in jail for all kinds of alleged illegal activities.  He was indicted by the USG on many alleged violations.  Previously posted Here  and Here

 Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Isights Inc.

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

Pssst, Ya Got Any Sangria? You Are Under Arrest

Posted by Bill on January 24, 2008

cocktail_sangria.jpg  Imagine, you are out late one night.  You slowly drive into Alexandria, VA, and slowly, even furtively, look down darken alleys and back streets.  You are looking for the right person.  You see that person skulking near a Spanish Tapia Bar. You pull over the car.  Nervously, he comes over to your window.  You whisper, “Hey, ya got any Sangria?”

Now you can read about the old Virginia law that outlaws mixing and serving of Sangria.  Yes, that fruity cocktail of wine and brandy that is a “must” at Spanish restaurants.  Serve it and you can go to jail for a year, whoa!

Click here to continue story

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

Posted in attorneys, crime, law enforcement, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators, Virginia | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Private Investigator’s Investigation Re-Opens Murder Case

Posted by Bill on January 23, 2008

justice.jpg  A New Haven Advocate story tells of private investigator Gerald O’Donnell’s investigation that may prove two men not guilty of a New Haven, CN, murder committed in 1993. 

 “The families of Taylor and Gould say that none of this would have happened if it weren’t for the “brilliant mind” of a private investigator named Gerald O’Donnell. O’Donnell, a retired Cheshire police officer and former inspector with Dearington’s office, is a workaholic with an obsessive attention to detail. He worked at the State’s Attorney’s office during the Vega murder investigation but, near retirement, was on the periphery of the case, he says.

O’Donnell was hired by Taylor’s defense attorney to look into the case and for three years has compiled news accounts, scoured records and tracked down witnesses never interviewed by the police. O’Donnell became convinced that Taylor and Gould had not committed the crime and compiled a 400-page binder of evidence that, he believes, will free them. In early November, O’Donnell handed the binder over to Dearington’s office.”  Click here to read whole story

Great work by O’Donnell.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PI Chatter, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NYPD Operation Lucky Bag–Doh! Doh! Doh!

Posted by Bill on December 29, 2007

nypd.jpg  I am “shocked,” “shocked”, I tell you that this is a true story of NYPD gone wild!

It seems that NYPD has been running a police decoy program in NYC lately–“Operation Lucky Bag.”  Here is the con.  NYPD leaves shopping bags, backpacks, purses, wallets etc. in and around subway stations or stores.  Anyone who finds the item, picks it up and does not turn in to a uniformed police officer in the vicinity is arrested and charged with, let’s see, grand larceny!  Lucky Bag started in 2006 and among the first 220 arrests about 100 were people with prior charges and convictions.  The rest were “clean.”  In dismissing one case, a Brooklyn judge noted that the law gives people 10 days to turn in property they find.  The judge suggested that NYC had enough real crime for the police to fight without the need to provide fresh temptations.  Oh, and the law does not provide that found items be turned over to a police officer.  Fortunately, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office began to dismiss Lucky Bag charges.  See NY Times Story Here.

I know some readers may not understand the significance of the use of the term “Doh” in the title.  My next post will explain all.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

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

More On NY Overturned Murder Conviction

Posted by Bill on December 29, 2007

justice  The New York State Investigation Commission is looking into recently overturned murder conviction of Martin Tankleff.  I posted the NY Appeals Court story on overturning the conviction based on new evidence turned up by private investigator Jay Salpeter.  See Prior Post Here.

Tankleff was convicted of the 1988 slaying of his parents.  The State Investigation Commission is investigating how Suffolk County, NY, police and prosecuting authorities handled the initial investigation.  The Commission has not enforcement powers, but it can gather evidence, refer cases to authorities or propose a special prosecutor.  Jay Salpeter, Tankleff’s private investigator who uncovered the “new evidence,” said that he had met and spoken with the Commission on more than one occasion.  See NY Times Article, and see more recent update Newsday Article

This incredible story shows the value of private investigators’ role in the criminal justice system.  It is obvious, if all allegations are true, that the local police and prosecutors investigated, prosecuted, locked up a guy and walked away.  Apparently, they did not listen claims of innocence from Martin Tankleff himself, or his family and friends. 

Prosecutors are subject to the NY Bar’s ethic rules as well as to the American Bar Association’s model rules of professional conduct.  The Rules provide that the prosecutor’s primary goal is to seek justice, not convict.  The prosecutor must assure that the defendant is tried by fair procedures and that guilt is decided on proper and sufficient evidence.   Maybe that rule was forgotten in this case?  See prior post on prosecutor’s ethical standards Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

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

Wisconsin Police Fingerprint Traffic Stops

Posted by Bill on December 24, 2007

trafficticket.jpg     If you’re ticketed by Green Bay police, you’ll get more than a fine. You’ll get fingerprinted, too. It’s a new way police are cracking down on crime.

If you’re caught speeding or playing your music too loud, or other crimes for which you might receive a citation, Green Bay police officers will ask for your drivers license and your finger. You’ll be fingerprinted right there on the spot. The fingerprint appears right next to the amount of the fine.

Police say it’s meant to protect you — in case the person they’re citing isn’t who they claim to be. But not everyone is sold on that explanation.  See WBAY TV Story

Bill Lowrance
President PIAVA
president@piava.org

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

More On Pretxing PIs

Posted by Bill on December 24, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

president@piava.org

Posted in attorneys, crime, Investigations, law enforcement, lawyers, PIAVA, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »