Investigation Miami Beach South Beach
Since the trial of O.J. Simpson, the profession of private investigation has risen to a new level of respect among both the legal community and public at large. The success of O.J.’s “Dream Team” was largely a result of the brilliant work of the defense investigators.
Investigation Miami Beach South Beach
The Dream Team found the witness who exposed Mark Furman’s racism. They fashioned successful responses to everything that the prosecution witnesses testified about.
All investigations, regardless of type or purpose, depend on the gathering of factual information. Gathering factual information is the main purpose of any investigation, without which no case would be solved, no stolen property recovered, and no missing person located. Factual information in a concise written report is the product that we sell to our client.
PRINCIPLES OF INVESTIGATION
Private investigation combines the skills of both science and art. Given the proper knowledge, tools, and money to operate, few cases exist that cannot be solved if the investigator devotes the time and energy necessary to complete the assignment.
Private investigators perform the following activities:
- Criminal investigations
- Matrimonial or domestic relations investigations
- Negligence investigations
- Expert witness
- Electronic countermeasures also called communication security
- Sweeps (i.e., debugging)
- Corporate investigation
- Shopping services
- Skip tracing
- “Day in the life” productions
- Undercover investigation
- Process service
TYPES OF INVESTIGATION
There are several types of investigation that will become part of your routine as an investigator.
Private investigators work either for the victim or for the defendant or his attorney in criminal proceedings.
Serious crimes, which may lead to arrest and conviction of a subject, are the source of cases for the legal/criminal investigator. Burglary, theft, homicide, fraud, auto accidents, arson, kidnapping, and so on, are all examples of activities where violations of laws have taken place and you may be called to investigate. These cases typically fall into two categories:
1. Felonies: serious crimes which may involve punishment by death or imprisonment in state or federal prison in excess of one year.
2. Misdemeanors, lesser crimes usually punishable by a fine or imprisonment in a city or county jail, not to exceed one year.
This pertains to anything involving lawsuits in which questions of money or property must be settled. Violations of the law are usually not involved. Divorce, bankruptcy, personal injury and negligence cases, and lawsuits of various types are examples of civil matters that may require investigation.
An attorney or client may hire an investigator to prove either one of the parties to the suit is liable. There are two terms an investigator must know.
1. The plaintiff is the party who brings a legal action; one who accuses another person of wrongdoing.
2. The defendant is the accused; the one who must defend himself against charges brought by the plaintiff. While he may be accused of wrongdoing, he is assumed innocent until proven guilty by the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney.
This type of investigation is conducted either for the plaintiff’s attorney to prove liability or for the defendant’s company or business to prove the absence of liability or absence of a permanent serious injury. This can be accomplished through the use of surveillance (often video or photo), locating and interviewing witnesses, or trying to establish that a pre-existing condition caused or was aggravated by the injury or that the defendant was at fault. A modest investigative fee often saves a client from a large monetary award.
An investigator may monitor what is going on in a business, investigate fraud within or outside the company, and provide diligence investigations or pre-employment screening.
This category includes a wide variety of investigative activities. Included here are the location of witnesses and missing persons, serving of legal process, skip-tracing, checks on employee dishonesty and fraud, security surveys, bodyguard work, surveillances, etc.
Personnel and Background Checks
This type of investigation is ordered by businesses and is undertaken in order to determine whether the character, history, financial status, credentials of an individual make him a suitable candidate for a job, a position of public trust, a large loan, credit, etc. Insurance companies investigate applicants; banks check on individuals applying for loans and also check the applicant’s credit rating.
Many private investigative firms offer a range of security services, including:
- Security surveys: to determine vulnerability and to suggest corrective measures against theft.
- Celebrity protection.
- Event protection or security (i.e., concerts).
- Sources of information useful for Investigations
FEDERAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Numerous agencies, bureaus, commissions and boards of the federal government do not open their files or release information on request.
However, as an investigator, you may find it possible to get information from the following agencies.
U.S. Postal Service
The Postal Service will supply forwarding addresses. There are two methods by which to obtain a change of address information. The first is to obtain a court order for the release of the information (e.g., when working a legal investigation). The second method (cheap and slow) of obtaining an address is to simply address an envelope to the last known address of the subject.
Under your return address write, “Address Correction Requested.” On the line below that write “Do Not Forward.” When the Post Office receives this envelope, they will not deliver it, but will note the person’s new address and return the envelope to you.
Most Post Offices can supply you with copies of applications on file for customers of postage meters, bulk mail permits, and business reply permits. You can also obtain information concerning the holder of a P.O. box, provided it belongs to a business.
Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (INS)
Records are maintained of all immigrants and aliens. Passenger and crew lists of all foreign vessels using U.S. ports are also kept on file.
Departments of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force
Records are kept of all persons who are, or ever have been, in military service.
U.S. Coast Guard
A listing is kept of all persons serving aboard U.S. merchant ships.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Records are maintained of all licensed handlers of narcotics and other drugs, such as physicians, pharmacists, and so on.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
- The alcohol tax unit keeps records of violations relating to the manufacture, storage, and sale of alcoholic beverages. This agency also enforces the National Firearms Act.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Records are maintained of licensed holders for all broadcast communications media.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI primarily serves as a clearinghouse for criminal identification records. On file are:
- Criminal records/fingerprints
- The national stolen property index, including stolen government property
- The national fraudulent check index
- Nonresident information on criminal offenses and subversive activities
- Social Security Administration
The original social security applications are maintained and names are listed (maiden or married for women), along with address, sex, race, and parents’ names and addresses, at the time of application. Current records on cardholders show a present employer.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Oklahoma City, OK)
Records of all licensed pilots, all aircraft, and aircraft parts are maintained here.
PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES
The number of resources in this category is limitless. The experienced investigator knows just how significant these sources can be. Subjects under investigation do not abandon lifetime interests and associations.
Investigation Miami Beach South Beach
Frequently, they keep in touch with organizations that have always served them, and in so doing they leave behind various records. The following are examples of private sources that have proved valuable to investigators.
Local telephone companies publish geographical directories that list subscribers according to a street address in addition to the regular telephone directories. They also maintain records of long distance phone calls.
Public Utility Companies (Gas, Electricity, and Water)
Applications for service usually contain the basic background information. Customers are usually filed according to address, rather than by name.
Files include complete service history, the number of meters in service, place of the last service, and the names of persons who have had service at that address previously.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Most individuals and practically all businesses have credit reporting associations that maintain credit ratings and files on them. Attorneys, wholesalers, retailers, physicians, and so on, are among the many groups represented. The Retailers Credit Association is a national credit reporting organization that maintains files on individuals. On record are basic biographical and financial information on all individuals who apply for credit. Information on the credit rating and financial stability of businesses and individuals can be obtained only for a sound reason because such organizations must protect privacy.
Insurance Reporting Agencies
Agencies serving insurance companies and underwriters gather information on policyholders. They have detailed records of bad risks in all types of insurance. Of particular value to investigators is the National Auto Theft Bureau. Maintained by auto insurance companies, this agency investigates abandoned and wrecked vehicles, wrecking yards, and junkyards. They also maintain files on professional auto thieves and theft rings and have a national teletype communications network.
Taxicabs, limousine services, auto rental companies, and so on, have very useful information which may include a complete record of a trip with time, location, destination, and stops en route recorded. Drivers from limousine services frequently make useful informants.
Private Investigative Organizations
Many detective agencies are willing to sell specific information they have compiled during the course of an investigation.
Real Estate Agencies
Information can be provided to residents and former residents of property; former addresses of residents; business, social, and character references; and handwriting samples.
Records of patients, illnesses, operations, scars, wounds, injuries, and complications are kept. Such information is often useful in establishing descriptions and identifications of subjects.
These are good sources of information on behavior, scholarship, family background, disciplinary actions, and financial status.
Valuable employment information can be obtained concerning the subject’s employment history, successes and failures, and financial standings.
Information may be provided as to where a subject has moved.
Records are maintained on all passenger lists. Included are names, addresses, ports of embarkation and disembarkation, and stateroom numbers.
Information can be provided concerning a subject’s travel, including departure times, itinerary, and insurance beneficiaries.
Repair records and invoices are maintained that might provide leads to stolen jewelry.
Information about families of the deceased is on file here.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR AN INVESTIGATION
Your effectiveness as an investigator will depend largely on your ability to obtain information from the following sources.
This includes identifiable objects and traces found at the crime and/or accident scene including fingerprints, clothing and personal effects, photographs, tire marks, notebooks, identification cards, credit cards, weapons, tools, etc. The types, nature, and importance of physical evidence varies with each case.
This type of evidence may be provided by modern, well-equipped laboratories maintained by law enforcement agencies, private investigative agencies, universities, corporations, and medical centers. Any type of physical evidence from blood samples to metal scrapings can be analyzed.
As an investigator, you may find yourself using such sources.
Records and Documents
A great deal of information concerning a suspect, missing person, or wanted man can be found in some of the records and documents of government and private agencies. In order to use these sources effectively, the investigator must know the type of information that a particular agency provides, and how to obtain that information. In some states, information is available under the public records law (see FS 119 in the State of Florida). Only active criminal record information is exempt. Law enforcement records would, in most instances, be unavailable, except following a request for discovery information once the defendant has been arrested and charged with a crime. Two simple rules will help you in your search for information:
1. Take the time to learn the sources in your locality and strive to develop new ones. Browse through listings under city, county, state, and federal governments in your telephone directory. Become familiar with titles and functions of the various agencies listed. Visit a public library and become familiar with the various documents, references, and directories available. Help from a cooperative librarian can cut your search time in half.
2. Develop sources of information before you need them. Remember, nobody but the court can force any person to produce records or divulge information except for public records. A smart investigator develops his sources carefully so that he can obtain information on a personal basis when he needs it.
Information from People
Despite all databanks, libraries, volumes of documents, and reports available today, people remain our primary sources of information. Cab drivers, reporters, clerical personnel, court employees, as well as specialists and highly placed professionals, have provided information that has led to the successful conclusions of many cases. The experienced investigator understands the importance of people as resources and devotes a great deal of time maintaining contacts and making new ones. As sources of information, people fall into two general categories: informants and clients.
Investigators classify their informants according to the type of information they are seeking. Informants are classified as victims, witnesses, or suspects, and are questioned for information concerning a specific event. Those classified as personal references are used to gather information in personnel investigations. Still another group, experts or specialists, are able to provide specific technical information about their fields of expertise. Investigators sometimes find it necessary to use paid informants who have connections with the underworld to gather information about criminal activities.
Whenever an investigator is assigned to a personnel investigation, he will be interviewing personal references supplied by the subject. Naturally, the subject will select people who will give him good reviews. Such people generally tend to provide good news only. The investigator who does a thorough job will search for the neutral person, the one who will provide balanced information that points out the subject’s weaknesses as well as his strengths. The best sources for such balanced information are professional people and former employers.
Anyone with special knowledge because of a profession or hobby is a potential expert. Biologists, psychologists, teachers, doctors, historians, and reformed criminals all qualify as experts. Success in getting information from such sources depends on the investigator. Specialists are usually people whose knowledge is in great demand. The investigator should do his homework before interviewing the expert. First, the investigator should outline the information needed and write out some important questions.
The investigator should also come prepared with a notepad and a tape recorder. He should also acquire some knowledge of the subject so that he can talk intelligently to the source. Finally, he should be brief and to the point.
These people can be useful in gathering first-hand information on underworld activities: gambling, prostitution, drug offenses, and organized crime. Information provided by professional informants has frequently been instrumental in solving crimes that otherwise would have remained unsolved. Paid informants are a dangerous source of information and are often misused. They are overly relied on as sources of information by law enforcement. Remember, credibility is a major factor in all investigations. Paid informants’ credibility must be proven before they can be relied upon as witnesses. If you use paid informants, you must take precautions to protect yourself and to safeguard your source.
First, determine the informant’s motive. Is he talking because he wants money or a reward? Is his motive revenge against someone? Is he looking for some personal favor from you? Experienced investigators have learned that the informant who is primarily interested in money is the most reliable and can be used repeatedly.
After determining the informant’s motive, you should plan on meeting privately with your informant. You should avoid close association in public.
Avoid calling paid informants by slang terms such as rat, stoolie, squealer, or snitch. Finally, protect your informant from possible danger. Never reveal his identity or use any information he gives you to his disadvantage. Offer privacy and protection, as well as money, in exchange for information.
CONDUCTING A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
An investigator should follow these steps when conducting a criminal investigation.
Interview the attorney and the client.
Obtain evidence. Check police reports, ambulance/medical/hospital records, court transcripts from all proceedings, complaints/indictments, the physical evidence, and check and review statements of prosecution witnesses for inconsistencies.
Visit and dissect crime scene and interview witnesses:
- Police, medical, or hospital personnel
- Factual witnesses
- Circumstantial witnesses
- Alibi witnesses
- Character witnesses
- Expert witnesses, for both sides, if possible
- Examine and analyze the evidence.
- Understand the defense theory, what is the defense attorney attempting to establish or disprove?
COMPONENT METHOD OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE INVESTIGATION
The Component Method was developed by Brandon A. Perron, a board certified criminal defense investigator, to provide public defender investigators and private investigators with a formula for conducting successful and comprehensive criminal defense assignments. In his book, Uncovering Reasonable Doubt: The Component Method, a Comprehensive Guide for the Criminal Defense Investigator, Perron writes that his method utilizes accepted and proven investigative procedures in an easy-to-follow format.
Each component of the investigation process is designed to uncover leads and develop questions leading to the next component. The subsequent components support the investigator’s efforts to track leads and answer questions developed in previous components. Utilization of the Component Method allows the criminal defense investigator to begin and end an investigation with the knowledge that an effective and professional investigation was completed.
The Component Method also performs well as a management tool. Senior investigators maintaining supervisory roles, as well as the responsibility for a significant caseload, are able to utilize the system to monitor the progress of subordinates.
In the Wasser Agency, professional private investigators are put at your service to conduct all kind of investigations. We are located in Miami Beach, South Beach Florida.
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on a variety of natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. As of the 2010 census, Miami Beach had a total population of 87,779. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century.