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Posts Tagged ‘Investigations’

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 »

Pitfalls When Using The Web To Find Someone

Posted by Bill on November 24, 2008

Posted by:
Ed Hruneni
VP PIAVA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

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 »

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

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

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 »

Background Checks–Mistakes

Posted by Bill on May 31, 2008

  Business Week recently published an article entitled “The Trouble with Background Checks.”  Click for Story Here

The article points out that the “$4 billion business of background screening is booming.” Professional investigators know that “background checks” includes many things, and some checks may be very thorough or be shallow and produce mistakes. Many companies are looking for mass produced, inexpensive “background checks” to decide hiring employees. The prospective employee must consent to a background check of unknown origin and unknown detail.

Business Week points out that background screening companies profits have soared over 40% last year. The trouble with many background checks is making sure the information is correct, accurate and up to date. In addition, it is very nice to know the competency of the employees actually doing the background check. These type of background checks are generally just a search of computer data bases of various kinds. Some “screeners” will interview references. But will some reference dislike the applicant and tell vicious tales about the person? Who knows? Will the “background screener,” who is likely underpaid, be able to discern from the conversation the truthfulness of the reference’s statement?

I have been contacted by some government contracted background investigators who were checking on applicants for government jobs. i was not impressed with the method, nature or thoroughness of the interview. I could have told the investigator that the applicant was personally known to me to be the devil, and I do not think that would have slowed down the questioner.

If you are having background checks done by one of the larger companies, make sure you know what you are getting in return for you $24.95, $54.95 or whatever the amount you pay for the background check.

Bill Lowrance
President PIAVA

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

Do Not Hire A Criminal

Posted by Bill on May 27, 2008

   The NY Times has a story today about running background investigations or checks on job applicants especially at higher levels.  You do not want to hire a CEO or CFO of a company if the person was convicted of embezzlement, do you?  The story gives examples of accountants or other financially responsible employees stealing money and company assets.

Better read this before hiring a new employee.

Click Here NY Times

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc. McLean, VA

Posted in crime, fraud, Investigations, private detective, private investigations, private investigator | 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 »

Virginia Courts Digitally Scanning Court Records

Posted by Bill on May 11, 2008

  Virginia Clerks of the Courts are scanning court records allowing electronic access to court documents normally seen only in the paper file in the clerk’s office.   Lawyers have expressed concern about their client’s personal information in the court records will be seen by anyone on the Internet. 

Read the whole story here: Virginia Lawyers Weekly

Bill Lowrance

President Piava

Information Insights Inc.

 

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

Tax Information On The Web In Italy

Posted by Bill on May 10, 2008

A recent read of BBC News reveals that the Italian outgoing government published every Italian citizens declared earnings and tax contributions.  Well, as you might guess there was a public “negative” response and the information was taken down after being on the tax authority’s web site for 24 hours.

Probably the most sacred information to Americans is tax return information.  It is a grievance felony to release tax return information without proper authority.  Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 6103 provides that all tax return information is confidential, private and may not be released or disclosed without specific statutory authority.  The IRS cannot turn over tax return information to anyone, government or private sector, without following specific procedures and statutory provisions.

There are certain exceptions and situations allowing the IRS to release tax return information.

However, there are important exceptions that you should be aware of.

IRC 6103(d) provides that return information may be shared with state agencies responsible for tax administration. The state agency must request this information in writing, and the request must be signed by an official designated to request tax information.  It should be noted that the IRS and almost all states have signed memorandum of agreements relating to specific enforcement programs.

IRC 6103(i)(1) provides that, pursuant to court order, return information may be shared with law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of non-tax criminal laws.

IRC 6103(k)(6) allows the IRS to make limited disclosures of return information in the course of official tax administration investigations to third parties if necessary to obtain information that is not otherwise reasonably available.

IRC 6103(l)(1) provides that return information related to taxes imposed under chapters 2, 21, and 24 may be disclosed to the Social Security Administration (SSA) as needed to carry out its responsibilities under the Social Security Act. Chapter 2 relates to self-employment income and does not normally concern employers. Chapter 21 concerns social security and Medicare (FICA) tax, and chapter 24 deals with income tax withholding.

The IRS may therefore share information with SSA about social security and Medicare tax liability if necessary to establish the taxpayer’s liability.   This provision does not allow the IRS to disclose your tax information to SSA for any other reason.   SSA employees who receive this information are bound by the same confidentiality rules as IRS employees.   Therefore, they generally cannot disclose the information to state social security administrators, state officials or other Federal agencies.

IRC 6103(e)(6) and (c) provide for disclosures to powers of attorney and other designees.  If you are notified of an audit by the IRS, you may want to have someone other than the authorized officer of your entity represent you or participate in the meeting.   You may bring any individual you wish into the discussion, in person or by telephone.   You may give oral consent to speak with a third party if necessary to resolve a Federal tax matter.   However, oral consent does not substitute for a power of attorney or a legal designation, and the discussion is limited to the issue for which the consent is given.   

Well, so much for the highly technical aspects of the Internal Revenue Code.  Have you read it?

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

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

Surveillance Cameras-DC 5000 NYC 3000 Chicago 6000

Posted by Bill on May 1, 2008

 Smile because soon everywhere you travel, even through airports, you will be under surveillance.  Washington, DC, announced today implementation, Read Surveillance Camera Story, of an around the clock monitered camera surveillance system (up to 5000 cameras).  The camera feed will go to the central office of the DC Homeland Security to be monitored by people.  Of course, no one knows who will be monitoring, when, how or what.  Will some errant monitor peek into your apartment window?  There are serious concerns by some DC Council members about lack of planning, security and privacy.

The story points out that NYC and Chicago have 3000 and 6000 cameras, respectively, out there monitoring activity.  Right now most security cameras are pointed to public areas in various parts of the cities.  Will cameras soon be placed in residential neighborhoods?  Personally, I do not want one on my street.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

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

Social Networks–Almost Everything You Want To Know

Posted by Bill on April 12, 2008

This is a great article about social networks. by Nelson Doyle, a high tech blogger.  Learn all you want to know.  BTW, research in social networks often turns up much needed information for investigators.  Click here: Social Networks

Also, check out social networks “bookmarking” groups at Social-Bookmarking Communities

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

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

Want Your Attorney To Fight For You

Posted by Bill on April 12, 2008

  When and if any of us get to a situation in which we need a lawyer, how do you choose one?  Of course, you want an attorney that will represent your interests and fight for you.  In Oregon there are at least two attorneys who will fight for their clients.  You can read the whole story here: Oregon Live Story 

The first few lines of the story are:

“There are plenty of fights between attorneys in the Multnomah County courthouse every day, but rarely do they include actual blows.

That’s why jaws dropped last week when two attorneys duked it out in a first-floor hallway in front of a crowd of spectators, including a few county sheriff’s deputies and Portland traffic cops.

Attorneys David Lawrence and Aaron Matusick had been in landlord-tenant court Thursday for a hearing and began shouting at each other when they left the courtroom, according to witnesses and officials who investigated the fight.”

Hey, that’s my lawyer!

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

 

Posted in attorneys, Investigations, lawyers, private detective, private investigations, private investigators | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian Federal Government Databases

Posted by Bill on April 8, 2008

  Do you need to research anything about our Canadian friends?  Check out this site for Canadian Federal Government sites available on the Web.

Click Here: Canadian Federal Government Sites

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

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

Surveillance Symposium–Univ. of Chicago Law Review

Posted by Bill on April 8, 2008

 

Surveillance Symposium: University of Chicago Law Review, published Winter 2008

Read legal, scholarly articles on privacy, surveillance, data mining and the law. 

Click Here: Univ. of Chicago Surveillance Symposium Articles

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

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

Competitive Intelligence–The Best Guide

Posted by Bill on April 7, 2008

  Sabrina Pacific, publisher of llrx.com, recently updated her “Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide.”  The Guide has links to dozens of research areas from search engines to webstie trackers.  If you do research to find information on the internet, check this out: CI Guide

Bill Lowrance
President PIAVA
Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

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

Criminal Records Research

Posted by Bill on April 7, 2008

  One of the best public records online search systems is SearchSystems.net.  We have a link to Search Systems in the left column.   Search Systems says it has the “largest, most up-to-date and reliable directory of public records and best resource for background checks and criminal records on the Internet. Online since 1997 and ranked Number for public records since 2001, SearchSystems.net continues to be by far the best resource of business information, corporate filings, property records, deeds, mortgages, criminal and civil court filings, inmates, offenders, births, deaths, marriages, unclaimed property, professional licenses, and much more. Easy access to billions of records!”

Recently, Search Systems put up a Criminal Records Search Guide on its web site.  See Criminal Records Search Guide

The Guide contains a lot of good information about criminal records such as how and where you find them, catagories of records, searches for records and the truth about a national criminal records search.  If you need to search a lot of public records, sign up for a SearchSystems.net account.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc., McLean, VA

 

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

Insurance Fraud Investigations–April 19

Posted by Bill on April 5, 2008

  PIAVA member and vice president, Ed Hruneni, vice president of Investigative Services, American Security Programs, is having a private investigator continuing education program on investigating insurance fraud.  PIAVA member, Ken Mitzkovitz of Detect Inc. in Alexandria, VA, will present a two hour program in his speciality–insurance fraud investigations.

Ken has over 22 years of investigative experience primarily related to insurance investigations.  Ken will also give great tips on conducting a surveillance in insurance investigations.  Attend this program and learn how to prepare a fraud investigation.

The program will be on Saturday, April 19, 2008, 10 a.m. until noon, at American Security Programs, 22900 Shaw Road, Dulles, VA 20166.  The cost is $35 per person.  To register call 703 834 8900 or email hr at securityprograms.com.

See   insurance-investigations flyer.

Also see “Red Flags” of Insurance Fraud Insurance Fraud–Red Flags

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.,

McLean, VA

 

 

 

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

Tax Changes 2008

Posted by Bill on April 5, 2008

  Ann Fourt, excellent PIAVA member and CPA, outlines tax changes for 2008.

There have been a number of changes in the tax law for 2008 that business owners and private investigators  should be aware of. The following allowances or limits have changed beginning January 1, 2008:

The tangible property expense allowance (Section 179) dollar amount for assets purchased and placed in service during calendar year 2008 is increased to $250,000. This is an economic stimulus measure and dollar limit applies only to 2008 assets placed in service for business use. Section 179 is not applicable to automobiles or trucks and vans, but is available for most other tangible assets, such as furniture, computer equipment, cameras, microphones and surveillance gear, or other gear.

For calendar year 2008 only, there is a special first-year depreciation allowance totaling $10,960 for automobiles and $11,160 for trucks or vans purchased and placed in service in calendar year 2008.

The standard mileage allowance for business use of an automobile in 2008 increased to 50.5 cents from 48.5 cents in 2007. Be sure to keep contemporaneous records of your business and personal use mileage as your accountant will need to know the total mileage driven for each vehicle as well as the business mileage.

The self-employment earnings ceiling for Social Security tax is increased to $102,000 in 2008, breaking the $100,000 threshold for the first time. There remains no earnings ceiling on the Medicare tax.

Homeowners who lose a home to foreclosure in 2007, 2008 or 2009 may qualify for relief under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007. This Act allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of indebtedness on their principal residence that would otherwise be taxable. Lenders report the fair market value of the house and the amount of debt forgiven to the borrower and the IRS on Form 1099-C. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring as well as debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure qualifies for this relief. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if a married taxpayer files a separate return). Form 982, which the IRS began accepting electronically on March 3, is used to claim the exclusion benefit. The rules are complicated, so consult your tax advisor for further information.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA

Information Insights Inc.

McLean, VA

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