Legality of Legal Searches

All searches conducted by Craig Fallenberg, P. I. are accomplished in full compliance with current financial privacy legislation, including the new Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (Senate 5.900), which became law in November, 1999.

Recent legislation was designed to help prevent serious financial crimes, such as “identify theft.” Unfortunately, the far-reaching restrictions of these new laws will likely result in making it more difficult for legitimate creditors to collect judgments and other lawful financial obligations. While we support the laws’ intentions of introducing sanctions in cases of “identity theft,” we feel that debtors and financial “deadbeats” may well benefit from this new litigation. However, our clients can rest assured that every one of our searches are conducted in compliance with these laws, and that we will continue to monitor any new legislation to ensure that our search products continue to conform with applicable federal and state laws.

Many of our searches are conducted through specialized databases, which are carefully controlled and restricted to those in the investigative trade. These databases, some of which contain billions of records, are assembled from legally-obtained public record information. These databases provide the investigator and asset researcher with powerful tools that, quite simply, cannot be found in other publicly-accessible information sources, such as those found on the Internet. These databases provide enhanced search capabilities, often screening and merging millions of records, and provide a comprehensive profile on the search subject that could not be developed, on a cost-effective basis, through any other means. Public record information found in these databases include real estate ownership, mortgages, lawsuits, judgments, tax liens, bankruptcies, vehicle ownership, driving history, criminal history, business affiliations, corporate status, fictitious business names, present and previous addresses, watercraft ownership, aircraft ownership, major stock ownership, etc. Some of the databases to which we subscribe provide us with dozens of searches, which are made possible by the careful collection, screening, and cross-matching of legal public record information.

Prior to the introduction of the recent federal legislation, many asset search firms provided detailed account balance information for certain “liquid asset” searches, such as bank accounts, brokerage firm accounts, etc. In almost all cases, this information was developed through a pretext, usually by contacting the bank or financial institution and impersonating the search subject. The use of these types of pretexts involving the bank or financial institution, or the impersonation of the search subject, is now specifically prohibited under the new law.

In response to the new federal legislation, our investigators have developed new methods and techniques to obtain this valuable and “hard-to-get” information, through entirely legal and ethical means, and in full compliance of the law. With more than ten years of experience in the asset search field, we will continue to offer “liquid asset” searches, only in situations involving judgments, child support, or other legal financial obligations of the search subject that have been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction.

In some cases, the banks and financial institutions will only confirm the existence of accounts, while in other instances, the banks and financial institutions may provide additional information, including an indication of average account balances, etc.

In compliance with the recent federal legislation, it should be stressed that at no time will the investigator ever utilize a pretext when dealing with banks and/or financial institutions, and the investigator will never misrepresent their true identity or attempt to impersonate the search subject in any manner. All information developed in the course of these searches is obtained in a legal, ethical, honest, and professional manner.

Please feel free to contact our office at 800/700-0399 should you have any questions, or should you wish to discuss this matter with our research staff.