BUSINESS BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
As a business owner or corporate executive, you are the decision maker for your organization. You are charged with protecting the interests of your company or corporation. When hiring new executives or engaging contractors and vendors, it is critical to your organization’s mission that those who will have access to your facilities and corporate assets be properly screened and thoroughly investigated. In addition to exposing your business to potential expensive litigation or fraud, Federal and State governments can also impose fines for not properly screening vendors. Our licensed investigators conduct in depth research on potential executives and screen vendors and contractors to verify their identity, check for criminal history information, conduct research against Patriot Act Sources (see full list below), verify references, verify professional licenses, and evaluate their financial stability and litigation history.
Furthermore, whether you guide a Fortune 500 corporation or are self-employed, the introduction of a partner into your business requires that due diligence be conducted. You have to know who you are dealing with; you have to verify information provided and develop information your potential partner may have purposefully failed to disclose. It is simply not enough in today’s challenging economic environment to just “trust your gut” before entering into any significant business arrangement with someone. Too often a business client will relate that they had been dealing with the person for a long time and therefore “thought they knew him/her.” While having a history with an existing a partner business is a great starting point, there is no substitute for knowing the facts about where that business or individual has been in the past.
Our investigators have the ability and training to make sure that you know exactly what and who you are dealing with before an investment of time and money is made into any new business venture or partnership. Whether the potential partner is your neighbor or an international investor, we have the resources to identify the information you need to in advance. Act intelligently by having all essential information first; don’t react later with regret for not having done your due diligence.
CRIMINAL RECORDS BACKGROUND CHECK
It is important to understand the different types of criminal history searches available, especially in New Jersey. Criminal records searches, which are one component of the background investigation, can be obtained from a number of different sources in New Jersey. Our investigators know how to leverage the various systems that best suit your objectives.
The following is an outline designed to help you better understand criminal records as well as where the information originates and what time period is covered by the search:
“National” Criminal Search – This search provides limited research on an individual and is typically comprised of data culled from database providers. The results are received instantly. After reviewing the source descriptions below, it should be obvious that this type of search is NOT a comprehensive or complete criminal records search. The sources of the data include:
State Department of Corrections records from approximately forty-two (42) states. Note that some of the data is historical and may not be include recent data on an offender. Also note that some of the results are obtained on a very strict, exact name- only basis, which means if your subject’s first name is searched as Stephen and he was in prison as Steven, no records will be produced. This search also provides data on people who have actually been committed to the care and custody of the Department of Corrections as opposed to those who have been given probation. In some cases, unless the offender is still incarcerated, their name will not come up as having been in prison.
Court Records from approximately twenty-three (23) states. Each of the available states provides different data and has different date ranges for what is available. Some states provide both felony and misdemeanor information while others provide only felony offenses. Some of the states exclude certain counties from their “statewide” research and some provide only historical data which fails to provide current conviction information.
Arrest Logs from approximately twenty-two (22) states, limited to only certain counties (sometimes only one county) with a limited date range.
New Jersey Statewide Criminal History Record via NJ State Police – This is probably the most comprehensive criminal records search tool available to a NJ State Private Detective Agency. Using a person’s name, date of birth, social security number, address, sex and race, the NJ State Police, through the State Bureau of Identification will search for conviction records on the subject of the inquiry. Often times, a pending indictment against an individual who has yet to have their case adjudicated will also be reported. The date range for this data can go back decades.
New Jersey Statewide Criminal History Record via PROMIS GAVEL PUBLIC ACCESS TERMINAL – This search can be conducted at a County Court House in New Jersey. The search criteria are based on a name only format. A working knowledge of the PROMIS GAVEL PUBLIC ACCESS system allows the investigator to review multiple name matches to determine if the subject of the investigation is the same as the person contained in the court records, either by a date of birth or an address match. This system, which includes court data from all twenty-one NJ Counties, goes back to approximately 1994 for indictable offenses with approximately five counties going back to approximately 1989. The system may not include municipal offenses unless those cases were sent to the county for Grand Jury presentation. This system provides a fast turnaround for some criminal record information, but it should not be considered a complete criminal records check in New Jersey.
Municipal Records Research
There are over 500 Municipal courts in New Jersey that handle traffic violations, misdemeanor offenses, disorderly person’s offenses and municipal code violations. All of the municipalities can be searched for information pertaining to the subject of a criminal background investigation. This research should be included as part of any thorough inquiry.
Federal Court Research
The Federal Courts provide access to a name index for the majority of Federal Districts across the nation. In some cases, actual court documents can be reviewed instantly. Unfortunately, the search criteria are based on “name only” inquires. Additional research and document review is necessary to determine if the subject of an inquiry is the defendant named in the Federal Court file.
International Criminal Research
Through vetted and trusted international partners, we have the ability to conduct international criminal history research in virtually any foreign county. Each country has different search criteria and search requirements and often times a release is necessary. The type of information received in response to an international criminal history inquiry will vary depending upon the jurisdiction. These searches can be done relatively quickly and economically considering the information that is being sought.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
More than ever in today’s world, information is the key to making informed, intelligent decisions. These critical judgments can affect your safety or have long term emotional and or financial consequences. It is therefore imperative that you consult a private investigator to protect yourself from the unknown.
Many people believe if they “Google” a name they have properly performed a background investigation. While conducting general Internet research in an effort to learn something about a person or entity is not to be discouraged, it is only one component of a proper background investigation.
Our NJ Private Detectives have the tools and experience to obtain information legally, quickly and completely so that you are fully aware of whom you are dealing with. These types of inquires can be initiated as a result of entering into a potential business relationship with the subject or even after a deal has been consummated. It is highly recommended that at a minimum preliminary inquires be made before using the services of a legal, accounting, investment or medical professional or a contractor, builder or other home repair specialist. Not knowing the facts about a person’s background can have devastating consequences.
Conducting a background investigation at the start a dating relationship or after becoming engaged is very important and is a significant investment in both your emotional and financial future. Our investigators have seen an increase in Internet dating scams that are becoming more prevalent in today’s digital world. These scams evolve after meeting a person on-line often through reputable dating websites. The con usually progresses for months while the perpetrator builds trust before asking for a “loan” to help them out of some seemingly impossible predicament. The scam artist typically takes advantage of a recently divorced or widowed person’s lonely heart. As a service to the general public, we can often detect a fraudulent dating scam in minutes at very little or no cost at all. Thereafter, investigation to identify the fraudster and attempt to recoup your money can be made.
As evidenced by the Investigation Discovery show, “Who the Bleep Did I Marry”, people often find out when it’s too late that their partner had misrepresented their background. We can outline a cost effective preliminary background investigation to help quickly and economically answer your questions and protect yourself from fraud and abuse. We can also provide an in-depth and comprehensive plan that will leave no stone unturned to get the information you need to make critical decisions in your personal or business life.
Some specific areas of background investigation that we have the ability search include:
- Asset Research*
- Background Profile including Address & Family History
- Bankruptcy Records
- Concealed Weapons Permits
- Corporation & Business Research
- Credit Records*
- Criminal Record Research*
- DEA Controlled Substance License
- Demographic Research
- Divorce Records*
- Drivers License Records*
- Educational/Graduation Verification
- Employment Research*
- FAA Pilot License
- Federal Firearms & Explosives
- Focused Internet Research (Open Source Data)
- Gambling Research
- Hunting/Fishing License
- Identification of Personal Identifiers*
- Identity Verification
- International Inquires – Civil, Criminal, Employment, Educational
- Interviews of associates, employers, friends & relatives
- Litigation History & Records
- Media Research
- Military Service Verification/Historical Research
- Mortgage Research
- Patriot Act Source Lists
- Professional License Verification & Inquires
- Real Property Ownership Research
- Salary & Wage Research*
- Sexual Offender Registries
- Vessel & Boat Search*
- Voter Registration Files
* Searches may require a release from the subject and or a legally permitted “Permissible Use” as outlined by the GLBA, FCRA or DPPA. Inquire with our licensed NJ Investigators to determine if your situation is justifiable under NJ Law.
Often times we handle cases for people after something has gone terribly wrong in a relationship. The refrain is always the same; “If I had only contacted you first, I would have saved so much time, money, etc.” Please do not wait until it’s too late. Make informed decisions by having the facts first. No one should enter any significant relationship without taking advantage of the services of a licensed private investigator to make sure they have all the facts.
PRE-EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
As an employer, you need to know the laws associated with conducting background investigations of perspective or current employees. Conducting an improper pre-employment investigation can have dire consequences including litigation instituted by an applicant/employee or having your organization exposed to potential theft, fraud or workplace violence. Employing a knowledgeable investigative professional to conduct your pre-employment screening, guarantees that the laws will be understood and followed and that mistakes are not made that might jeopardize your organization.
Please beware of unlicensed, pre-employment screening companies that promise a complete background check in one day at very little cost. In our experienced opinion, these services provide no long term value nor do they provide the care and attention these types of sensitive inquires require. They do not conduct real investigations but rather supply database searches with mass produced, computer generated reports. This type of service can lead to negligent hiring practices, which can result in significant legal action being taken against the employer. According to a December 2011 article, an unemployed woman was offered a job but failed to pass the background check. The screening company that conducted the search provided information to the employer that the applicant had a fourteen count indictment pending against her for fraud. The applicant did not get the job. However, the applicant was in fact eighteen years older than the person who had allegedly committed the fraud. It took two months for the applicant to clear her name and by then the job was not longer available. There is no excuse for this type of negligence.
As pre-employment background specialists, our investigators are well versed in the applicable state and federal laws that relate to the scope of a pre-employment investigation and the dissemination of information gathered. We strictly comply with all requirements of the Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act as it relates to adverse decisions, dissemination, privacy and retention of files.
Our process begins with having the employee execute a general release allowing our investigators to access personal data about the applicant/employee’s background. The release also requires that the applicant/employee certify that the information contained in the release document is truthful and accurate.
Our investigators then verify that the information provided does in fact match the applicant who is applying for the job. We then conduct proprietary database inquires to develop a profile of where they have lived and if they have used alias names or alternate identifiers. Very often an employer believes that an applicant’s criminal history records should be searched in the county or state of residency. However, if the applicant has only lived in New Jersey for a few months the research has no value. Investigation needs to be conducted where the person actually lived and worked and should not be limited to one state or county. The potential employee’s level of responsibility and access to corporate assets should guide the decision making process as to how in depth the investigation should be.
Common sense dictates that if you conduct research using bogus identifiers (name, date of birth or social security number) or if your research is centered in a location where the subject has only lived for a short time, no records will be found.
Another step in the process is a critical review of the application submitted to the employer to uncover untruths, exaggerations or missing data. Statistically, since the economic downturn began the number of applicants that include significant misrepresentations has steadily increased.
Using in house resources, our investigators can also quickly and accurately search and interpret credit history, litigation history, media research, identify and conduct a social network evaluation, search national and statewide Sex Offender Registries and review driver history (if applicable to the job function). In addition, we expertly conduct reference interviews, verify educational records, review and verify professional licenses and make inquires for adverse actions taken against a licensee as well as verifying former employment. Our detectives can also investigate an application that contains missing information such as residency or employment gaps to help provide answers.
Depending upon the industry for which the applicant has applied, research can be conducted against Patriot Act Sources including:
- Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
- Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)
- Non-Proliferation Sanctions
- Counter Terrorism Sanctions
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission List of Regulator & Self-Regulatory Authorities
- Defense Trade Controls Debarred Parties
- FBI’s Most Wanted
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Special Alert List
- Foreign Agent Registrations
- International Police Most Wanted and Red Alerts
- OFAC – Palestinian Legislative Council
- OSFI – Canada
- Politically Exposed Persons
- State Department Terrorist Exclusions
- Terrorists Inside & Outside of European Union
- United Nations Named Terrorists
- US Bureau of Industry & Security – Unverified Entities List
- US Bureau of Industry & Security – Denied Entities List
- US Bureau of Industry & Security – Denied Persons List
- World Bank Ineligible Firms
- Bank of England Sanctions
We complete our review by providing a detailed report of our findings. Typically, we complete a preliminary report within one business day and provide a final report as quickly as individuals, Boards, Institutions and various jurisdictions will respond to our requests for information.
When weighing the costs paid for your pre-employment screening services, it is important to factor in the expense of litigation when a proper investigation is not conducted.
Every step of the pre-employment screening process is personally handled by a licensed investigative professional who makes sure that the information our clients rely upon to make important hiring, promotional or re-assignment decisions is accurate and that a thorough investigation is conducted thus avoiding potential litigation and making the workplace a safe and fraud free environment.