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Information Resources for Case Development “Skip Tracing”. Presented by John Oback California Environmental Protection Agency Enforcement Intelligence Team. 1. Cal/EPA Enforcement Initiative. Cal/EPA-wide Data Dictionary Communication Strategy Enforceable Permits

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Information resources for case development skip tracing l.jpg

Information Resources for Case Development“Skip Tracing”

Presented by

John Oback

California Environmental Protection Agency

Enforcement Intelligence Team

1


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Cal/EPA Enforcement Initiative

  • Cal/EPA-wide Data Dictionary

  • Communication Strategy

  • Enforceable Permits

  • Enforcement Intelligence

  • Enforcement Program Operational Plan

  • Environmental Data Exchange

  • GIS Contracts

  • Regional/Cross-media Training Program

  • Single Complaint Tracking System

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What is “Skip Tracing?”

  • Obtaining & documenting all pertinent information needed to fully identify, locate, & contact persons and evidence related to your investigation

  • This is an overview- additional resources are available

3


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Document, Document, Document

  • If you fail to write something down and put it in your case file,

    • “It didn’t happen,” or,

    • “It doesn’t exist.”

  • Do it now

    • Same day or next day

    • Hand written notes are better than nothing

4


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Hop, Skip and a Jump

  • May or may not involve actual “skipping” or “hiding” from investigators

    • “Stonewalling” is more likely

    • Piercing the corporate veil

  • Skip tracing isn’t hard to do (usually)

    • We all do some form of skip tracing

    • There are many “tricks” (shortcuts)

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Why do Skip Tracing?

Skip tracing is a basic skill you need to:

  • Properly conduct an investigation

  • Fully document enforcement cases

  • Find and punish bad guys

  • Clean up the environment

  • Help deter future violations

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What do we trace?

  • People

    • Violator

    • Witnesses

      • Owners & Operators

      • Employees

      • Complainants & affected community

  • Companies

  • Equipment

  • Documents and other evidence

8


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Getting Started

  • Start a file!

  • Gather as much information as possible

  • List all identifying information on hand:

    • Name

    • Date of birth (DOB) or approx. age

    • Drivers license or Social Security numbers

    • Description (scars and tattoos)

    • Address, phone, employer, etc.

  • Ask yourself: “Who regulates these folks?”

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Where do we get information?

  • Investigation & case development

    • Witness statements

    • Other evidence

  • In-house files and databases

  • Sister agencies and professional contacts

  • Other government sources (DMV)

  • Internet

  • Pay services

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Traceable Items

  • Permits & other records

  • Vehicles

  • Utilities (telephone service)

  • Mailbox rentals

  • Credit accounts (loans & charge cards)

  • Real estate

  • Court & criminal records

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Helpful Cal/EPA Documents

  • List of Information Resources for Case Development

    • Streamlined version

    • WSP list is more comprehensive

  • Environmental Skip Tracing Checklist

    • Helps busy investigators stay on track

    • Standardizes case files

    • Streamlines case review

12


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Finding the Hard-to-Find

This is where it starts to get “fun”

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Database Resources

  • The Western States Project: “[email protected]

    • Available to all member organizations

    • Secure login required

    • http://www.regionalassociations.org/

  • US EPA: “OTIS”

    • http://www.epa.gov/idea/otis/index.html

    • “ECHO,” public version: http://www.epa.gov/echo/


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Licenses & Certificates

  • Permits & registrations

    • Contractors State Licensing Board

    • Business license

    • Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Training certifications

  • Trade associations

  • Union or club memberships

  • Special programs by suppliers, wholesalers, or manufacturers

15


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Other Regulators

  • The usual suspects (agencies)

    • Can they flag recent changes to their files?

    • Change of address information?

    • Any ongoing investigations?

  • Environmental Crimes Task Force

  • Franchise Tax Board

  • Employment Development Department

  • Department of Industrial Relations

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Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Trace both vehicles and people

    • Restricted: Must have an account

    • Rules apply

  • Change of address may have been filed

  • Information on other vehicles (assets)

17


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Corporate Records

  • Secretary of State

    • Officers

    • Designated contact for service of legal notices

    • Get a certified copy (a fee applies)

    • Political contributions

  • Regulatory filings, plans, etc.

  • Check the company website

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Financial Records

Generally, these are paid services

  • Dunn & Bradstreet (for companies)

  • Credit Bureaus

  • Rental Associations

  • Many other options

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Court & Criminal Records

  • Judgments

  • Divorces

  • Name changes

  • Bankruptcy Court

  • California Law Enforcement Tracking System (CLETS)

    • Arrest records

    • Restricted: Law enforcement only (Peace Officers)

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Phone Book

  • White & yellow pages

    • Business offices

    • Other branches or franchises

    • Competitors

  • Internet phone listings

    • Wider coverage (national)

    • Reverse directories

    • Examples of multi-search sites

      • “The Ultimates” www.theultimates.com

      • “Skipease” www.skipease.com

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Directory Assistance

  • Good place to uncover recent changes

  • Required to give information for 3 names

    • Helps with common names like John Smith

    • Required to provide listed address

  • Always ask for an address

    • Whether you need it or not

    • Otherwise, you'll just hear "Hold for the number please . . .”

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Directory Assistance (continued)

  • Get similar surnames

    • Relatives?

  • Get neighbors & associates

  • Call them!

    • Be nice

    • The Colombo approach

23


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US Postal Service

Send a letter to the subject’s last known address marked:

“DO NOT FORWARDADDRESS CORRECTION REQUESTED”

Letter returns with a sticker showing the forwarding address on file with the USPS

Risk of “tipping your hand” if the addressee gets the letter (be sure they’ve really moved)

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