Sunday, December 18, 2005


Seeking information on Identity Theft issues? Check the Federal Trade Commission’s web site on Identity Theft There are two excellent handouts which you may want to get copies of. These both can be downloaded or ordered in hardcopy from the FTC.“ID Theft: What’s It All About” is a pocket size booklet that summarizes how ID theft occurs and what to do about it if you’re a victim.“Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft” is a 52-page manual that goes into great detail on the nature of the crime and how to fight it. They can be bulk ordered, and may make for a good handout to victims when reporting such crimes.

Friday, November 25, 2005


The following information was passed on from Ret. Det Al Meller (NYPD), who rightly felt that this information could be of value. An important priority for law enforcement is the safe return of missing persons. But few of the approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States have uniform procedures for taking a missing persons report or obtaining critical information for the identification of human remains. At the same time many coroners and medical examiners have not been able to obtain the benefits of a national database that can help identify missing persons. Under the President’s DNA Initiative, the U.S. Department of Justice has developed model State legislation that suggests how States can improve the way missing persons and human remains information is collected, analyzed, and shared. The model legislation is the product of collaboration with Federal, State, and local law enforcement, experts, victim advocates, forensic scientists, and key policymakers. It takes into account many proposals and comments received at a national strategy meeting held in Philadelphia in April 2005. The Justice Department encourages all States to use and adapt the model State legislation to meet their needs. The legislation, support materials, case studies, field assessments, and other additional resources can be found on Note also that this is an excellent site for investigative information on all DNA issues. There is a training course available for investigators which can be ordered here as well (free of charge). Now available on: is the NIJ training course “What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA”.

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?"The crow answered: "Sure, why not."So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it. Moral of the story: To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very high up.

Here’s a site that lists most departments throughout the country, providing contact information as well. An excellent source if you are seeking out-of-city assistance in hunting a perp, etc.

This site can help provide prisoner inmate searches and sex offender registry searches throughout the country.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


From the web site of Diogenes LLC, a full service investigative agency named after the ultimate skeptic, Diogenes. Their motto: “Truth is knowledge, only verified”.
"A man does not look behind the door unless he has stood there himself."
"If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck... it is a bird of some sort."
Benedict Arnold was always the first one to rise when George Washington walked into the room.
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
"Singularity is almost invariably a clue. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult it is to bring it home."
"I have become convinced there is no one truth, nor two; there are often several truths."
"In the war between falsehood and truth, falsehood often wins the first battle, but truth wins the last."
Their web site has an excellent Investigative Resources page. Check it out, and bookmark it; you’ll probably find yourself referring to it often.

Tele-Track: Tele-Track is otherwise referred to as the “Fourth Credit Bureau”. It’s a great source for locating hard to find low income and transient persons. TeleTrack collects information from what are referred to as “Sub-Prime” businesses such as rent-to-own furniture stores, check cashing facilities, used car dealers, secured credit card issuers, cable TV companies and others. To find out more, check out their site at:

Did you know that you can type a VIN into GOOGLE and it will link you to information on the year, make and model of the VIN? Likewise, this same type of search can be performed with several other number sets including UPS/Fed EX tracking numbers, UPC codes, telephone area codes, patent numbers, FAA tail numbers and FCC equipment IDs. For more details go to and click the What's new at Google? link and then scroll down to search by numbers.

If you want to check out the live camera feed of Times Square, go to:EarthCam- Times Square

Here are some sites that are very useful in helping to locate people.

PeopleSpot: A portal dedicated to helping you find people. There is a huge reference list of sources, aids, and resources you can use from this new portal.

SkipEase: A massive link list providing links to dozens of search sites that are very useful in locating missing persons.

Skip Tracer Tool Box: Another very well done and extensive links page.

Telephone Directories on the Web: This site links you to over 350 telephone directories, yellow pages, business directories and email directories in over 150 different countries.


Insurance companies maintain a Special Investigations Unit to conduct specialized fraud investigations. Usually staffed by retired detectives, the Special Investigations Unit’s are probably a good starting point for the detective seeking investigative assistance. When contacting an insurance company, ask to speak to someone in their Special Investigations Unit. For more information you can check out the web site for the:International Association of Special Investigations Units 410-931-8100

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Identity Theft Protection

There is a website available to assist with Identity Theft:

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies, are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance. The FCRA also provides you the right to "Opt-Out", which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you.
Through this website, you may request to:
Opt-Out from receiving firm offers for 5 years
Opt-Out from receiving firm offers permanently
Opt-In and begin receiving firm offers. This option is for consumers who have previously completed a request to Opt-Out.
If you choose to Opt-Out, you will no longer be included in firm offer lists provided by these four consumer credit reporting companies. If you are not receiving firm offers because you have previously completed a request to Opt-Out, you can request to Opt-In. In doing so, you will soon be among the many consumers who can significantly benefit from having ready access to product information on credit and insurance products that may not be available to the general public.

Taking part in this program (if you "opt out") will remove the opportunity that thieves will have to grab your mail with those "free Offers" of credit cards we all get (most of us...) Once in the hands of the bad guys, they can apply for and receive the offered credit card. Billing can then be re-directed and you may not know for months you have been a victim. is a centralized service to accept and process requests from consumers to "Opt-In" or “Opt-Out” of firm offers of credit or insurance. is a joint venture among Equifax Information Services, LLC, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Innovis Data Solutions, Inc., and TransUnion, LLC (collectively the "Consumer Credit Reporting Companies"). is the only internet website authorized by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion for this purpose under the FCRA. Please note that, as a security precaution, consumers should never provide their personal information to any other company or person in connection with requesting Opt-In or Opt-Out services. will not contact consumers via email, telemarketing or direct mail solicitations.

Friday, October 14, 2005


A more “intense” google-search system. Try it out!


A device has recently been developed that reads SIM cards from mobile phones.
The new program can recall all deleted messages in the card. As long as there is memory available, the program will show what is in the card. The information can be copied to a spreadsheet for future reports and analysis.
Some police agencies have already started using the device, which originated in Europe.
Sound interesting? You can check the company’s web site at:
Or you can e-mail them direct at:

Sunday, October 02, 2005


Sick Trinkets

There is a growing community of collectors seeking items now known as “murderabilia.” Paintings by serial killers and other garbage are being scarfed up on the internet as soon as the stuff is posted. It’s hard to imagine spending one’s extra cash on crap that used belong to the “Unabomber,” Ted Kaczynski, but people are lining up on E-bay to buy everything that the whack-job used to own. Among the items for sale are Ted’s smelly sneakers, his infamous typewriter, and his copy of Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style.”


In Detroit, the graduates of a recent police academy class are going back to school after 26 recruits made a rather large error when Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings visited them. What was their mistake? They forgot to salute the boss as is called for in departmental procedures. The recruits will now have an extra week of classes to brush up on their technique.


The last thing you want to do if you’re operating a mobile meth lab out of your car is fall asleep in the vehicle. But if you do decide you need some rest, do not park the drug lab in front of the county jail. Otherwise it might get written up in American Police Beat. In Waterloo, Iowa, drug manufacturer and total idiot Kirk Alan Marvel, 42, was busted in his mobile meth lab when officers noticed that he was not responding to series of green lights at an intersection. They woke Mr. Marvel up, arrested him, and took him across the street for booking.


China has surpassed both the U.S.A. and Europe in terms of total beer consumption world-wide. Chinese people now account for one out of every five beers consumed on earth.

(reprinted from APB)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

A Call To Arms

“Our brother and sister police officers in New Orleans are currently carrying a double burden: the job of trying to maintain law and order in a devastated major American city, all the while trying to cope with their own pain and loss – of their homes, families, friends, and their town. This is the worst imaginable scenario police officers can face. There may be many organizations that claim to assist the police, but if you donate, you should do so with confidence. The Police Association of New Orleans, the organization representing New Orleans’ police force , is working with NAPO’s Relief Fund to ensure that your donations will go directly to their members in need.” The National Association of Police Organizations is a Washington, DC based coalition of police unions and associations from across the United States. NAPO serves to advance the interests of America’s law enforcement officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. Both the NYC Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) and the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) were founding members of NAPO when the organization first formed in 1978. Donations can be made by check or credit card. Donation forms can be downloaded from or donations can be sent directly to the NAPO Relief Fund, c/o NAPO, 750 First Street, NE, Suite 920, Washington, DC 20002-4241. Phone: 202-842-4420 Fax: 202-842-4396

(reprinted from NY COP Online Magazine)

Thursday, September 29, 2005


The “NIGERIAN (419)” Scam – named after the code in the Nigerian Criminal Code that relates to larceny by fraud, is a widespread scam that – like many con games – is hard to believe that someone would fall for. But fall for it they do, to an enormous amount of money as well. The Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. This appears to be one of the largest, and longest running, scams in the world. It is also a very dangerous one. According to the State Department, by 1996 over 15 people had been murdered after they travelled to Nigeria to participate in this "opportunity." Even more have been beaten or subject to threats and extortion. There are a number of variations on this scam, but all involve the same themes: You receive a letter, fax or email from a government official or businessman from Nigeria, telling you confidentially of a large sum of money that is available. You are asked to assist in the transfer of that money, for a share of the profits. The proposal, typewritten on official-looking stationary(lately not though), offers a 25 percent commission for assistance in transferring surplus funds of up to $38 million (obtained from "over-invoiced government contracts") from Nigeria to the United States. The solicitations request the reader provide a bank account number in order to complete the transaction. "Investors" who respond to the offer will be required to pay a never-ending assortment of legal fees, personal expenses and government bribes until the victim is drained of all assets. If you go along with the ruse, you will be asked to send money for transaction and transfer costs. Sequential "emergencies" come up requiring further payment and causing delay in the transfer of funds to you. This confidence scheme is very elaborate and sophisticated. Some of the con artists are Nigerian civil servants, and they will forward to you official and official-looking documents to demonstrate their legitimacy. These rip-offs, which contain variations in theme, are widespread. The U.S. Secret Service gets reports of about 100 victims per day, and receives 300-500 pieces of scam literature forwarded to them each day. In Nigeria, the scam is widely known as the "419" scam, named so after the provision of the Nigerian penal code that relates to fraud. A victim who gets lured into the scam at times will be asked to travel to Nigeria or a neutral country to make certain necessary arrangements for the transfer of funds. He will be asked to bring expensive items, such as high priced pens or jewelry, to facilitate the transaction.Upon arrival in Nigeria, victims are taken to hotels close to the airport. In Nigeria, strings of hotels near to the airport in Lagos are known locally as "419 hotels" because they are known to be used in this enormous rip off. Alone in a foreign country, disoriented, and without familiar resources, the victim has no way to fend off the 419 gang that will target him in the hotel. In an elaborate con, they will arrange meetings with civil servants in government buildings or in official-looking buildings. The victim will be told to transfer even more money and to sign contracts that commit to greater losses of money. If the victim goes along with the con, he will be allowed to leave the country without harm (and without money). But resistance can lead to extortion, beatings and murder. In one case a victim who had already spent thousands of dollars on various fees, was told that additional money was needed to "decoat" a suitcase full of "coated" one hundred dollar bills. The victim was told that the bills were temporarily defaced with a black film to mask the origin of the money, and a special, very expensive solution, must be purchased to "decoat" the bills. To circumvent the expense of mailing the letters, these criminal enterprises use counterfeit postage, costing the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in lost revenue. Under Universal Postal Union regulations, Nigeria is charged a terminal dues fee by the delivering country for this foreign-originating mail. Most 419 letters and emails originate from or are traceable back to Nigeria. However, some originate from other nations, mostly also West African nations such as Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast (Cote D’Ivoire) etc.

Trickery & Deceit; The leading case in support of the legality of trickery and deceit in the course of a criminal interrogation is Frazier v. Cupp, decided by the US Supreme Court in 1969. The court upheld a conviction based in part upon a confession obtained by trickery and deceit, in that a murder suspect had been told falsely that a suspected accomplice had confessed. The two qualifications to the rule, however, is that the trickery and deceit must NOT be of such a nature as to “shock the conscience” of the court or community, nor can it be one that is apt to induce a false confession. Examples of these exceptions include posing as a chaplain or a defense attorney in order to gain a confession, as well as making promises that cannot be fulfilled and would induce a false confession. You cannot tell a subject “If you confess, we’ll let you go” or “If you confess, the last 10 people that did so only got probation”. You CAN promise that “I will let the judge and the prosecutor know that you have cooperated and ask them to take that into consideration”. Be aware that, when testifying in court regarding a statement, a common cross-examination questioning tactic by a defense attorney is to pose the question in a manner that makes you believe a “Yes” answer is an admission of fault. A common question posed by a defense attorney: “Isn’t it true that you tricked and lied to my client in order to get him to confess?” is intended to make it sound as if doing so is a bad thing. IT’S NOT; trickery and deceit IS ALLOWED! The correct answer to that question, “Yes I Did” is proper.

Known worldwide as Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization was established to assist police organizations throughout the world coordinate their efforts. Through the exchange of information that is timely, accurate, relevant and complete, INTERPOL coordinates joint operational activities of member countries, while also making available the know how, expertise, and operational assistance.There are currently 179 member countries belonging to INTERPOL. In the US, the services of INTERPOL are accessed through the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) of INTERPOL.The mission of the US National Central Bureau is to facilitate International law enforcement cooperation as the United States representative with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), on behalf of the U.S. Attorney General. The major functions of the USNCB are to transmit information, respond to requests by law enforcement agencies, coordinate and integrate information for investigations of an international nature and identify those involving patterns and trends of criminal activities. The USNCB serves as a point of contact for both American and foreign police seeking assistance in criminal investigations that extend beyond their national boundaries. Known within the international community as INTERPOL Washington, the USNCB brings together US police at all levels, providing a neutral territory where jurisdictions and mandates are interwoven to permit cooperation and assistance to the fullest extent possible. USNCB assistance is given/extended equally to all US federal, state and local enforcement agencies, as well as to police authorities in INTERPOL member countries. An integral part of the service INTERPOL provides to member country police forces is the dissemination of subject lookouts and advisories through the circulation of INTERPOL notices.
Seems like no matter what, we remain second class citizens...

Deputy, Critical Of Sheriff, Told To Ride The Bus

A deputy in Wisconsin who blasted Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. in a union newsletter has been given a curious new assignment. The deputy was reassigned to a one-man foot patrol.
In addition to walking his new beat, Deputy Michael Schuh, 55, was told he had to take a bus to and from the north side area of Milwaukee – an area that has seen high rates of violent crime and a spike in homicides.
Deputy Schuh was ordered to take a county bus to and from the neighborhood, and to contact every home and business in the area to improve relations with community leaders and business people. Deputy Schuh was also ordered to hand out Sheriff’s Department business cards to the people he visited, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“Convince them that we’re the good guys – we’re on their side and can’t succeed without their participation,” Schuh was informed in a memo from Captain Eileen Richards.
The memo detailing Schuh’s reassignment was given to the Journal Sentinel newspaper by Roy Felber, president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association. That organization is calling the reassignment a dangerous form of retaliation and says it’s planning a lawsuit.
The new assignment came just after the publication of the Milwaukee Deputy Association’s newsletter where Schuh questioned Clarke’s courage and the fact that he used deputies to escort him everywhere.
Sheriff Clarke insisted that the reassignment is not retaliatory but rather an operation designed to address a string of murders on the north side. But not everyone bought the argument, including Roy Felber. “You’re not going to solve anything throwing one deputy there,” Felber said.
Schuh, who is a Vietnam veteran, said that danger was part of being a deputy and that he would do as he was told. “I’ll report for duty,” Schuh said. “I don’t work for Clarke; I work for the citizens of Milwaukee County.”
The parent union of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA), AFL-CIO, was quick to respond with a pledge of legal and monetary help. IUPA President Sam Cabral was clearly enraged at the actions taken against Deputy Schuh.
“To require Deputy Schuh to use public transportation to reach his assigned beat and patrol it on foot without anything as basic as a properly equipped cruiser, to expect him to rely on ahand-held radio to summon backup when the sheriff is accompanied by armed guards to safe havens like the airport, is hypocrisy at best and a complete lack of courage at worst.”
Schuh wrote an opinion column known as “The Sacred Cow” in the July issue of The MDSA Star, the union’s newsletter.
In it he was responding to a written comment on roll call message boards that was viewed as questioning the courage of some deputies. Felber said that deputies were told Clarke authored the message-board comment.
After hearing about the message board posting, Schuh wrote the following about Clarke: “If you are afraid or you have lost your courage and you need two deputies and a sergeant to escort you every time you fly in and out of the airport and patrol deputies to drive by your house when you’re out of town, you should resign and go home!”
Schuh said that he wrote the column out of frustration over deputies’ belief that Clarke too often blames them when things go wrong.
County Supervisor Roger Quindel told the AP he was not aware of Clarke starting a program to assign deputies to patrol the central city on foot.
“It seems like a viciously vindictive, ill-thought-out program to punish an individual for exercising his First Amendment rights,” Quindel said.
Clarke stated he was focused on finding new ways to combat the senseless violence in the community, in a written statement after the controversy erupted.
“We’ve had over 170 murders in this county in the last 18 months, the last three in a 12-hour time frame, countless shootings, armed robberies and other aggravated assaults and you’re asking me about some deputy’s assignment? Are you kidding me?” the statement read.
The deputies’ union and Clarke have clashed repeatedly over the Sheriff’s disciplinary moves. Sheriff Clarke says that he is trying to instill a more demanding culture in the agency, but the union is saying his decisions are arbitrary and unfair.
As we went to press, Sheriff Clarke said he would let Deputy Schuh have a partner and a police car for his new assignment. But the Deputy’s Association said it was too little, too late.
They want the entire order rescinded, period – otherwise they will move ahead with their lawsuit against the county charging that the agency is in violation of Deputy Schuh’s First Amendment rights of free speech.

(reprinted from APB).

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


How can you verify someone’s credentials when they claim they are a Ph.D.? One way of doing this is to make a personal visit to the University library of the school that granted the degree. Another way, which is much easier to try, is to attempt to verify the existence of the individuals doctoral dissertation on-line. The web site, Dissertation Abstracts, is a free and easy to use service. When you open to their home page, look at the right hand side and choose “Dissertation Express”. Then select “Individual Searcher”.Scroll through, read the agreement pages and follow the instructions. You will only need to pay a $30 fee if you wish to actually purchase a copy of the dissertation. You select the category to “Pay By Credit Card”; DON’T WORRY – you won’t actually have to pay anything to conduct the search, only if you eventually want to purchase the actual paper. By typing in the subjects last name and first initial you will be able to scroll through the choices. You will be given the persons full name, school for which it was written, and the year it was published. The database dates back to the 1860’s, so it should be there. However, like anything else on-line, it is not a fail safe method; not being listed does not necessarily mean that person is not a Ph.D. Listing is not mandatory. The only true fail safe method is to actually visit the school library to hand search their records.

With the help of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, here are some notable dates in law enforcement.
April 1631: Boston establishes first system of law enforcement called the "night watch." Officers served part-time, without pay.
1712: First full-time, paid law enforcement officers hired by the City of Boston. September 24, 1789:
Congress creates the first Federal law enforcement officer, the United States Marshal. May 17, 1792:
The first officer in United States history, Deputy Sheriff Isaac Smith, of the New York City Sheriff's Office, is killed in the line of duty.

Trace evidence is evidence that may be present at a scene, but its minuteness necessitates special scrutiny. The particular evidence may hold some specific significance in linking a victim, a suspect, a scene, and the activities of what has occurred. An investigator, evidence technician, and other support personnel determine the significance it may play in understanding what happened and who was responsible; a crime lab technician analyzes and interprets the evidence. Trace evidence is based on the philosophy that there must be an exchange of items between individuals and an environment. This exchange – known as Locard’s Principle – includes trace materials that may only be discovered through a deliberate and thorough processing procedure. The clothing of the suspect is a primary source of trace material. Three possibilities exist for developing trace evidence: 1. Trace materials from the victim may have collected on the suspect.2. Trace material from the environment, linking the particular suspect to a particular location, may be present on the suspect. 3. Standards from the suspect must be collected and compared with items collected from the victim and the scene to link the individual to the area and the crime. From the victim, you may find trace evidence collected that came from the suspect. Trace evidence from the scene may also be found, which comes important in cases where a body has been “dumped”. Clothing is a primary accumulator of trace evidence, and care and caution must be taken in handling, collecting, and packaging these articles. If a suspect is still wearing the clothing believed to have been worn at the time of the crime, you should first examine visually for any signs of evidence. The suspect should stand on a clean piece of wrapping paper. As each item of clothing is removed, it should be wrapped separately. After the suspect has removed all his clothing, the wrapping paper should be collected, folded inward, and bagged separately. Never shake or handle possible evidence any more than absolutely necessary. Never place clothing items in a plastic or an air tight container. Moisture causes bacterial growth, which makes analysis unproductive. Never turn the pockets inside-out. The pockets, cuffs, and pants pleats often are receptacles for trace evidence. If trace evidence is removed from clothing prior to sending it off for trace analysis, note the precise location of where the item was recovered.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Important Date:

April 1965: The New York City Police Department was beginning a campaign to urge the public to use a newly established emergency telephone number: 440-1234 – to report emergencies. This number was the originator of the 911 concept.

An e-mail that was sent to a friend, that I thought I should share, notes some of the stupid label instructions that are taken from actual consumer products. Some of them are noted here:
On a Bag of Fritos: “You could be a winner. No Purchase Necessary! Details Inside”(The shoplifters special?)
On Tiramisu dessert printed on BOTTOM of box: “Do Not Turn Upside Down”
On bread pudding box: “Product Will Be Hot After Heating”
On Nytol Sleeping Aid: “Warning: May Cause Drowsiness”
On a child’s Superman costume: “Wearing Of This Garment Does NOT Enable You To Fly”

Cemetery Records online
Over two million records from nearly 4,00 Cemeterites worldwide. This site is very well organized and allows visitors to browse cemeteries by locale or perform a surname search of the entire site. a grave.

Here is another surname search--results returned of include name, date of birth, date of death, and the place of burial.You can also search for a specific cemetery.

Did you know that the annual loss relative to non-health insurance fraud is approximately $1.5 billion dollars? The National Insurance Crime Bureau ( reports that ten percent or more of property & casualty insurance claims are fraudulent. Insurance is classified as either external fraud, or internal fraud. External fraud includes fraudulent activity committed by applicants for insurance policies, third party claimants, or professionals who provide insurance services to claimants. Internal fraud refers to fraud within the insurance industry itself. This includes bribery of company officials, misrepresentations of facts by insurance personnel, employees, agents, etc. for their personal enrichment. Elements of FraudFor insurance fraud to exist, four key elements need to be present:1. Intent to defraud. 2. Knowledge – that what the person is doing is wrong, or a false statement. 3. Misrepresentation – creating or making a false impression that leads to payment. 4. Reliance – The insurer would not have paid for the claim but for the misrepresentation. Some good sources of information concerning insurance fraud can be found at these sites: Barry Zalma is a west coast attorney who specializes in insurance fraud, and his web page contains numerous articles on various aspects of insurance fraud, as well as some good links. . The Insurance Information Institute carries current stories on various forms of fraud. The National Insurance Crime Bureau is an excellent source of fraud information. Almost all insurers belong to this group and there is a lot of material available on their site. If you’re looking for some checklists on insurance fraud, you can check the web sites of these private insurance companies:

Friday, September 23, 2005


Remember, your work product – and your reports – are a direct reflection of who you are. Sloppy written reports reflect poorly on your investigation; a jury will be led to believe that a sloppy report reflects a sloppy investigation. Just think embarrassment on the witness stand. Spelling errors in a report reflect poorly on your investigation. Some detectives have turned to the word processor to help in this aspect, but keep this in mind – spell check is different from intent-check. Spell check can fix, or even highlight, misspellings, but cannot identify what you meant to say. It does not know the difference between the word “to, two and too” and which word should have been used in the context of the sentence. If you misspell a word but your misspelling is actually another word, it is not going to be corrected and if left in the report that way, looks sloppy and unprofessional. It also shows that you do not proofread your work. If you have pre-set wording for common tasks, such as for an interview of the complainant, or photo viewing, you need to make sure that the wording is proper; otherwise you’ll be duplicating the error every time you utilize it. If you prepared a pre-set wording text and left items out to be filled in, make sure you fill them in. A common example would be a sentence wording where you “fill in the blank” appropriately, i.e. “On the above date I xxx the complainant for an interview”, wherein you would appropriately enter “called”, or “visited” in place of the xxx. If you fail to do this, your report will most certainly be brought up for review – and potential embarrassment - at trial. Proofread your pre-set wording! Remember – a detective writes reports – be sure your reports properly reflect your work.

Thanks to Retired Det.Capt. FRANK BOLZ (NYPD) the father of Hostage Negotiation, for the following contribution on sh*t.
Now, they can't say you don't know SH*T.
Subject: Manure
In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship, and this was also before the invention of commercial fertilizer. Large shipments of manure were common. It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time, someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM! Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening. After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.Thus evolved the term "S.H.I.T " , (Ship High In Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of this word. Neither did I. I always thought it was a golf term.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is just the latest example of how well-intended privacy laws are creating a society that is being suffocated by over-regulation and lawsuit-happy lawyers. The Associated Press reports that HIPAA, the new federal medical privacy bill, has been cited on numerous occasions by hospitals for denying law enforcement officials access to crime and accident victims. In one notable case, the victim of a botched robbery was taken to a South Carolina hospital with a gun shot wound. Police went to the hospital to interview the victim and see if he could identify the shooter. Hospital administrators not only refused to let the investigating officer see the victim, they also refused to confirm that the victim was in the hospital, citing HIPAA patient confidentiality! When one of the lawyers who helped draft the law (for the Clinton administration) was interviewed about this, he replied that police merely need to obtain a warrant when they want such access. Do we really want to live in a world where detectives have to go to a courthouse to get a warrant to interview a crime victim?
Notorious outlaw, "Billy the Kid," kills six law enforcement officers in New Mexico.
October 26, 1881
Legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, his brothers and "Doc" Holliday, win the Wild West era's most famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Fingerprinting is first used in the United States.
Alice Stebbins Wells, of the Los Angeles Police Department, becomes the first female officer with arrest powers.
Berkeley, California Police Department becomes the first agency in the country to have all patrol officers using automobiles.
Here is a great site, which directs you to the appropriate federal investigative law enforcement agency by Type of Crime:

Sound investigative techniques are timeless. The following story is taken from the Book of Daniel, chapter 13, and illustrates a very early investigation, detailing the prudence of looking beyond appearances and separating interviewees – especially suspects. Just as we probably do every day of the week even today.“In Babylon, there lived a beautiful, virtuous woman named Susanna, the wife of Joakim. Two elders were appointed as judges, who were not men of good character. Each privately lusted after Susanna.One day, the two men were leaving Joakim’s house and each contrived to leave and return secretly to visit Susanna. They ran into one another, and startled, confessed their common desire for the married woman. Meanwhile, Susanna entered her garden prepared to bathe. She sent her servants away and told them to close the gate. The two men approached her in the garden and made their indecent proposals. She refused. They threatened to make a false accusation of adultery against her. Again she refused, saying she would rather risk a stoning than to sin. She cried out, and the two men made their charges against her to the people who hurried to the commotion. They said they came to the garden and found her lying under a tree with a young man, not her husband, whom they chased but were unable to catch. The crowd was swayed by the testimony of the respected judges. Susanna was being led off to execution when suddenly a young man named Daniel objected. He said he could prove the men had lied. The crowd hesitated and allowed him to proceed. Daniel had the men separated and spoke first to one, asking him to describe the tree under which Susanna and her alleged lover were shaded. “Under a mastic tree”, replied the elder. Daniel put the same question to the second judge. “Under an oak tree,” came his reply. The whole assembly cried aloud and rose against the two elders, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury. The men received the sentence of death which they had contrived for Susanna. And from that day onward Daniel was greatly esteemed by the people.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The following statements, taken from Detecive Supplementals, could easily have been written by Yogi Berra if he was a detective.
“They were living domesticatally.
They’re habitating at …
Seeking the location of his whereabouts…
He was of Jamaican assessment.
Seeking to identify his identification.
Identified a pattern of unrelated incidents.
Was wearing a multi-colored white tee shirt
Known to congregate by himself.
The eyewitness is blind and did not see anything.
They went into a feet pursuit.
He has numerical arrests on his rap sheet.
The bus driver was working off duty at the time.
The information was received from an anonymous CI.
His sister states that she is not related to her brother.
The suspicious package was examined and determined to be not suspicious.
The unarmed security guard fired two shots at the perp.
All the calls that day happened another day.
Also, does anyone know when the word “conversating” became a recognized word in the English language?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Justice Served (Finally)

Remember Tyco? Former CEO Dennis Kozlowski and former CFO Mark Swartz were both sentenced in New York State by Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus to 8 1/2-25 years in prison for their roles in looting almost $600 million from their company in a grand scheme in the 90's. On the positive side for the two, they would have gotten much more prison time if sentenced in federal court...the downside...New York State Prison System has no "Club Fed". The new salary for the mega bucks earning pair...$1.05 per day. Enjoy Fellas!!
Top Ten Signs You’re Not Going To Get A Conviction

1. The warrant was signed by a guy who played a judge on television.
2. The arrestee is the hometown’s Major League Baseball franchise’s new pitching ace. (David Wells signed by Red Sox.).
3. You recognize half the jury because you’ve arrested them at least six times each.
4. Judge’s nickname – Old Softy.
5. The defense has pictures of the beers in the fridge at department’s crime lab.
6. Your probable cause is “A whiff of mischief.”
7. She’s a he.
8. There’s audio tape of your partner saying, “Yeah, I got your f%$ing warrant right here!”
9. Your main witness needs a drink to calm down from the crack.
10. Johnny Cochran.

(reprinted from APB)

What's the difference? Mass murder is defined as a single horrific incident in which a killer annihilates a number of victims. Mass murderers are people like Richard Speck, who killed seven nurses in Chicago, Illinois on July 13, 1966, or James Oliver Huberty who walked into a McDonald's Restaurant in San Ysidro, California and killed twenty patrons before turning a gun on himself. Serial murder was originally described in 1980 as "lust murder". The term first came into general usage around 1982-83. Unlike traditional mass murderers, who suddenly crack under pressure and kill everybody in sight, serial murderers kill and kill and kill, often for "years on end" (most recently apprehended "BTK"). The general definition of serial murder, as defined by Prof. Steven Egger in his text THE KILLERS AMONG US, is when "one or more individuals commit a second murder and/or subsequent murders. There is generally no prior relationship between victim and attacker, and subsequent murders occur at different times and have no apparent connection to the initial murder. Subsequent murders are usually committed in different geographical locations. The motive is not for material gain; it is the murderers desire to have power or dominance over his victims. Victims may have symbolic value for the murderer, and may be perceived as being unable to defend themselves or alert others to their plight, and to be powerless at the time".

Monday, September 19, 2005


Here are some tips on using a camera on surveillance, provided by the California Association of Licensed Investigators. If you have cause to use a camera, you might want to keep these tips in mind as ways to prevent your camera lens from fogging:*Keep the camera wrapped in a towel to absorb moisture.*Be careful of changing temperatures too rapidly; inside vs. outside temperature changes can fog the lens quickly, at a time you may need it the most.*Keep the camera on charger when it’s in the car. The charger will heat the battery and help eliminate moisture.
Credit where credit is due

I want to take a minute and acknowledge John Cornicello, Boss (Lt.) of Brooklyns' 77 Pct. Detective Squad in where else....NEW YORK! Many of the postings on this site are due to his research and time spent on his own site..."The Squad Room". A great insightful place for investigative information and fun facts mostly regarding NYPD related issues.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Upon arrival at the scene, don’t touch anything.Observe, Describe, and Record what you see. Your description should enable someone reading it months later to get the feel of what the scene looked like to the arriving investigator.Remember such details as lighting, weather, smell, etc.Be sure in recording your description of your observations at the scene that you are writing what you see, and not what you think you see (do NOT interpret).

The National Criminal Justice Reference Service provides some quite valuable investigative material for free, accessible on line as well. The following documents can be downloaded on-line, or ordered as a "hard copy" from NCJRS. Well worth checking out.
"What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence" Document # BC000614
"What Every Law Enforcement Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence"Beginning Level CD-ROM as well as an Advanced Level CD-ROM.Beginning Level: Document NCJ 182992Advanced Level: Document NCJ 184479
These must be ordered by telephone. See telephone number below.
"Death Investigation: A Guide For the Scene Investigator". Provides suggestions for a thorough and competent investigation of a death crime scene. NCJ 167568. Can be downloaded at:
"Eyewitness Evidence: A Guide for Law Enforcement". Recommends procedures for obtaining the most reliable and accurate information from eyewitnesses, includingsuggestions for interviewing witnesses and identifying suspects. NCJ
These documents may be ordered directly from NCJRS by calling: 800-851-3420.

As reported in the NY TIMES recently, the federal government crime statistics indicate that the surge in business fraud and white collar corruption continues. “The bursting of the stock market bubble, combined with the changing face of the American population, has led to a surge” in white collar crime.The last decade has seen violent crime, including the rate of murder, robbery, assault and other property crimes has declined or flattened. On the other hand, a marked increase in accounting and corporate infractions, fraud in health care, government procurement and bankruptcy, identity theft, illegal corporate espionage and intellectual property piracy has been observed.Attributed to some of this are technological advances like the Internet. Equally important, it is reported, are the demographic changes, like the aging and growing prosperity and education of the population.Fraud is on the rise as the same time as other crimes are decrerasing.According to Joseph T. Wells, a former FBI agent and founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, “There are at least two reasons. Crime is largely a factor of age, and fraud is the crime of choice of the older perpetrator, so as the society ages, you have, and should continue to see, an increase in fraud cases”.The education level of society is also cited as a contributing factor. As the education level has risen over the past 20 years, the message is clear in the mind of the better-educated public that if you want to commit a crime, fraud is the way to go. “The take is better, and the punishment is generally less”, states Wells.Executive compensation packages are also given as a motive to manipulate financial statements for short-term personal gain.The White Collar Crime Reporter, a trade publication for lawyers and investigators, recently said “White-collar crime is spinning through the roof. It’s spinning new varieties daily and the incidence and amounts of money being stolen are incredible”.The area of white-collar crime has a triangle that they refer to as “The Fraud Triangle”. People commit fraud because of three factors: financial pressure, the perception of an opportunity, and rationalizing it as O.K. “All three of these elements have been increasing”.

On a two acre patch of land in Tennessee behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center sits a research facility operated by Murray Marks, an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee. Marks is a Forensic Anthropologist, and his research facility, dubbed "The Body Farm", studies the decomposition of the human body in order to "help law enforcement catch killers".This research is enabling forensic scientists answer the question "How long has the victim been dead". The research is geared to determining "Time Since Death", or TSD, by studying the progression of decomposition in a controlled environment. Professor Marks and his research facility has been helping to train FBI agents and Medical Examiners for several years. Indeed, the first question most investigators will ask the ME at the scene of a "dumped" body will be "How long has he/she been dead"? By studying decomposition in a cadre of environments, Dr. Marks is capable of providing the research information that can determine the TSD in a more accurate manner.The University of Tennessee's Anthropology Department is nationally renowned in forensic anthropology. Dr. William M. Bass is the forensic anthropologist that started the "Body Farm" at UT. Since retired, he is the mentor to Dr. Marks and all those who study forensic anthropology. The Body Farm started in 1980. Dr. Bass, already a noted forensic anthropologist, was frustrated over the lack of scientific data available on human decomposition. "He became obsessed with wanting to study the whole postmortem continuum, rather than just glimpsing the snapshots in time that he had been seeing". Since then this research has produced groundbreaking data and technology.Thanks to the Farm, a pair of specialists invented a device that lifts fingerprints off a corpse, and the FBI has improved a ground-penetrating-radar device that detects buried bodies. The most revolutionary discoveries at the farm have come from studying the bugs and the flies that appear post mortem on a human body. So not only have they advanced the science of forensic anthropology, they have also rapidly advanced the science of forensic entomology - the study of insect science as it relates to human decomposition.

The first police department to utilize bullet comparison as an investigative aid was Scotland Yard.
Using fingerprints in criminal investigations was first suggested by a microscopist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1877, but he was ignored. Tokyo was the first to give it a try in 1880.
The Sorbonne produced the first truly serious study of hairs in 1910, and the first police lab was established in France.
DNA was first used forensically in England.The lifting of trace evidence with tape was developed by a Swiss criminalist lab.
Superglue fuming for latent prints was developed by the National Police Agency in Japan.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Investigation is a very inexact science which we must nonetheless approach as a science.An intriguing aspect of investigations is that most cases are solved more by common sense and persistence than by sophisticated skills. Check every possibility, get others to assist, follow up on the most minor piece of evidence, obtain every possible detail, trust your intuition, and stay with the search tenaciously – these are the laws of our “science” of investigation.

Report writing is not a peripheral activity that has little to do with the real business of investigation. On the contrary, the individual who argues that he can investigate a problem and solve it but he cannot write reports is comparable to an auto mechanic who says, “I can remove and repair your engine but I can’t install it back in your car.”If he cannot finish the job, he is not what he claims to be.Report writing is a natural and necessary part of the very job description of an investigator. The investigator who avoids or puts off writing reports, is in the position of a fireman who avoids fires or puts off arriving at the scene of a fire. Such people are in the wrong business.An investigative report is a clear, comprehensive, written documentation of facts, presented chronologically, which is an objective, first person recording of the investigator’s experiences, conversations, and observations regarding a specific assignment, and from which the events of the investigation can be reconstructed even after a lapse of time.The investigative report reflects, in writing, the investigator’s work on a case. It should be able to stand the test of time.A good report, when read by a stranger five years later, will make as much sense as it did to the writer on the day it was written.The ultimate test of a good report is simply this: If the reader of the report has a question, the report is deficient.Since the final version of the report is in writing, it follows that correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as legibility will reflect either favorably or unfavorably on the investigator who wrote it. He does not have to be a consummate stylist, but he does have to be able to organize and present his facts clearly. Lapses in grammar, spelling, and punctuation often have the troublesome result of making things unclear.

(note: Thanks to the John E. Reid & Associates, and to “The Process of Investigation” by Charles Sennewald, for portions of the above.)

No matter how you slice it, a major part of the detective’s duties involves writing reports. “If it’s not in a report it didn’t happen” is a phrase we have all heard, and uttered, over and over again. According to the text “Professional’s Guide to Investigative Report Writing”, some basic tips can be followed. Remember, strong reports “are like athletes: trim, lean, and moving swiftly to the finish line”. Padding reports with repetitive wording serves little value. Report the facts, trim the fat. Will your report tell a story to someone who was not there (i.e. the Jury)? That’s the purpose of the report, isn’t it? When referencing the investigator (writer of the report) some like to use indirect terms, such as “this writer” or “this investigator”, as they feel it implies greater neutrality, or just plain sounds better. But isn’t this awkward phrasing best eliminated by simply using the term “I” or “we”?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Believe It Or Not

If you are going to mess around with a married woman, it’s probably a good idea not to do it in the house she shares with her husband. But 44-year-old Jeffery Freeman was the kind of guy who lived on the edge. He not only fooled around with a married woman in her husband’s bed, he actually lived secretly in the couple’s bedroom closet. Needless to say, Rafael DeJesus Rocha-Perez – the husband – was not too happy when he found out that his wife was cheating on him with a guy who lived in the closet. But he may have gone overboard when he beat Mr. Freeman to death after he heard a snoring noise coming from the closet. Oddly enough, the homicide victim ran a company that conducted background checks for landlords and employers.
The following information is provided by the Social Security Administration and pertains to the misuse of a social security number. What To Do If Someone Misuses Your Social Security Number is the title of the pamphlet. This information is provided here for your reference, and use in dealing with victims of Identity Theft.What Should I Do To Report That Someone Is Using My Social Security Number?You should report this information to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Depending on the circumstances of your particular case, we may open an investigation. Even if we don't investigate, we're interested in learning how your Social Security number has been used by someone.What If I Have Credit Problems?If someone has used your Social Security number to get credit, Social Security cannot fix your credit record. To resolve your credit problems, you need to:· Immediately contact the creditors who approved the credit (follow up with a letter). · File a police report. · Contact the fraud department of the major credit bureaus. · Ask to have a flag placed on your record, requiring creditors to contact you before approving additional credit using your name and number. Ask how long the flag is posted on your account and how you can extend it, if necessary. · Add a victim's statement to your report; include your name, state the problem and provide a telephone number where you can be reached. · Request a copy of your credit report from each major credit bureau and check for signs of fraudulent activity. If you've been denied credit, you may be entitled to a free copy of your report. If you haven't been denied credit, the most you can be charged is $8.
Some actual quotes as heard from real Detectives

“Those 2 lebonese (lesbian) girls that live down the street”
“I got minstrel (menstrual) pain”
“The bullet went in my thigh and missed my tentacles (testicles)”
“The doctor said he got trouble with his veins from flea bites (phlebitis)”
“When I was born I had the un-biblical cord wrapped around my neck”
“ My mom can’t walk, cause she got onions (bunions) on her feet”
“She’s got general herbies (genital herpies)”
Master Links 4 Master InvestigatorsThis is a pay-for-services site, but has some interesting (free) links for investigators.
Here’s a good “Crime Scene Investigators” Site, with information and links pertaining to crime scene investigation/searches, etc.
Resources & Links 4 Investigator
Main Site
This site will introduce you to gang hand signs, which are flashed by gangmembers either to members of their own gang or as taunts to other gangs.Some express an attitude, such as "Power" or "No. 1," while others are usedto identify the gang to which the flasher belongs.

Monday, September 12, 2005

With 9/11 just behind us I urge all in the law enforcement community to reflect on what we lost that day in 2001. Those who had loved ones or knew someone in the towers that day no doubt still feel as though it was just yesterday. Let us all never forget. Not only did we lose brave men and women dedicated to helping others but we lost a sense of security that will never return....