Services

Background and Pre-Employment Investigations

There are as many types of background investigations as there are species of birds, and each background investigation plumbs different levels, depending on the client’s needs. The background investigation is the core of all investigative work, It is the core of investigation and must blend raw findings with balanced interpretation. Capitol Inquiry can assist with gaining perspective and insight into key relationships. We can review, test, and validate claims of trust and reputation. A background investigation can be as simple as a criminal history check, or as complex as verifying the credentials, qualifications and professional practices of a candidate for a top executive position.

 

Pre-employment background screening examines the character, general reputation, personal characteristics, lifestyle and habits of a job applicant to determine his/her suitability for a given role or job. It may be conducted with or without the applicant’s knowledge.

 

Capitol Inquiry conducts a thorough and diligent search of civil and criminal records, court filings, bankruptcy proceedings, judgments, liens, financial activity, credit history, social media, Social Security Number and date-of-birth verifications, employment history, educational background, and reference checks. In all cases, Capitol Inquiry will look for the “red flags’” indicators that a previous employer may be trying to get rid of a bad apple. If the reference provided sounds too glowing to be true, it probably isn’t.

Service of Process

Service of Process can be the most significant part of a legal proceeding, but this crucial step at the beginning of the court case often gets paid short shrift and downplayed in its importance. With efficient and proper service of process — the delivery of legal documents to defendants in a court proceeding — the case can advance in a timely manner. Without it, the case stalls, and risks being dismissed for lack of service. Capitol Inquiry has served tens of thousands of summonses and subpoenas over the past 27 years, and has filed many more Affidavits of Service that have been accepted by the courts.

 

The Due Process clause in the U.S.Constitution requires that defendants have proper notice of the court’s proceedings. To meet this rule, courts require plaintiffs to arrange for defendants to be served with a court summons and a copy of the complaint in a civil case, or a subpoena in a criminal case. Each division of the court has its own rules and procedures that must be followed. Defendants often are wise to the court’s requirements and evade service for as long as possible, thereby avoiding their day in court. Capitol Inquiry excels at Service of Process on evasive, reluctant, or uncooperative witnesses and defendants. Rules governing service of process vary by jurisdiction, and Capitol Inquiry is persistent, thorough, diligent, and conscientious in all our efforts to make timely service that passes each court’s test.

 

When Service of Process is completed, we provide a notarized Affidavit of Service for court filing. If service is not perfected, after multiple attempts, we provide a notarized Affidavit of Attempted Service detailing our efforts, findings, and results, and the defendant’s attempts to evade. Our Affidavits are guaranteed to be complete, professional and detailed for proper presentation to the court.

 

Capitol Inquiry has wide and deep experience working with the courts and the legal community. We can file new case documents with a variety of courts as needed to assist your case, including the miscellaneous or foreign subpoenas issued by lower courts that require Service out-of-state. We also specialize in non-domestic Service in foreign venues, pursuant to The Hague Service Convention, the European Union Council Regulation (EC 1393/2007), or through diplomatic channels generally effected by letters rogatory, i.e. formal requests to a foreign court for judicial assistance, service of process, or taking of evidence.

Missing Person Location

Law firms, estate attorneys, financial firms, and real estate investors and judgment holders often need help in locating people who are trying not to be found. Families and individuals also need these services, and their needs are often more critical. A missing child, elderly relative or family member may be In harm’s way, and a rapid, coordinated response with law enforcement, media and the community is essential, especially to find runaways and missing relatives in with medical needs. Four pieces of information are critical to begin the search for a missing or lost person; full name with at least a middle initial, complete date of birth, Social Security Number and a verified address within the last 10 years. The search is not impossible without at least two of the four identifiers, but the locate becomes more difficult for us, and more expensive for you. Our motto is, “anyone can be found.” The outcome hinges on how much money the client is willing to spend. Some people can be found through simple locates using the numerous proprietary databases and vast resources Capitol Inquiry has at its command. Others don’t want to be found, especially if they owe money, or want to avoid testifying. But we can find anyone if given the proper resources.

Investigative Support to Civil and Criminal Litigation

We work closely with attorneys, and prefer to have an attorney involved at some point to protect confidentiality and to guarantee we focus on what the attorney wants and needs. Lawyers demand the highest standard and can be relentless in the pursuit of justice for their clients. They expect — and get — the same from us when they enlist our services. Our investigators can assist your law firm by locating witnesses, uncovering evidence, conducting interviews, verifying statements, analyzing police reporting, locating assets and accounts, preparing FOIA requests, and developing background profiles on witnesses plaintiffs, litigants, or defendants. We work as part of your team , from initial complaint or incident, through the collection of evidence and assistance at every stage of the legal proceeding.

 

Capitol Inquiry has compiled juror profiles in 48 hours for its attorney clients to assist in the selection of the jury. In those instances, our clients prevailed at trial. The firm is proud of its success in supporting complex litigation involving intellectual property (IP) theft, financial asset misappropriation, money laundering, criminal misconduct, sexual harassment, fraud, forgery, copyright and trademark infringement, contract violations and employee wrongdoing, and antitrust claims before the US International Trade Commission (USITC) involving foreign competitors.

Witness Interviewing

Your legal case is only as strong as the evidence that supports it. Evidence must be formatted correctly and documented thoroughly. It may be in the form of written affidavits, witness statements, surveillance photo/video record, or certified documents.

 

Capitol Inquiry’s investigators are trained in the art of witness interviewing, and have the skills necessary to develop the trust and rapport essential in dealing with reluctant and even hostile Subjects. Investigators prepare carefully and familiarize themselves with the Subject and the case background. They watch the non-verbal responses by the witness and listen carefully to answers for details, and to be able to ask the critical follow-up questions. What a witness knows can help your case, but can also hurt it. A skilled interviewer knows how to navigate this risk, uncover the true underlying story , and consolidate the accurate testimony of witness.

 

Skip-tracing is the art of finding witnesses, defendants, debtors, fugitive, and other interested parties. Finding the key witness or defendant is critical to the success of litigation and legal proceedings. Over the past decades, Capitol Inquiry has tracked down more than 30:000 debtors, heirs, missing relatives, witnesses, defendants, interested parties, officers of defunct businesses, and key persons in foreign corporations. We have located scores of individuals living outside the U.S., including heirs and relatives living in “denied areas” or hard to access locations, e.g. rural Pakistan, former East Germany, Central America, Kazakhstan, etc.

Capitol Inquiry relies on its own in-house techniques – plus the most accurate, comprehensive and reliable proprietary databases NOT available to the public.

Witness & Defendant Location

Skip-tracing is the art of finding witnesses, defendants, debtors, fugitive, and other key parties. “Skip” refers to the person who may have “skipped town” and “tracing” meaning the process of locating that person. Finding the witness or defendant is critical to the success of litigation and legal process. Over the past decades, Capitol Inquiry has tracked down more than 10,000 debtors, heirs, missing relatives, witnesses, defendants, interested parties, officers of defunct businesses, and key persons in foreign corporations. We have located dozens of individuals living outside the U.S., including heirs and relatives living in “denied areas” or hard to access locations, e.g. rural Pakistan, former East Germany, Central America, Kazakhstan, etc.

 

Capitol Inquiry relies on its own in-house techniques – plus the most accurate, comprehensive and reliable proprietary databases. These are NOT available to the public. Skip tracing is performed by collecting basic “hard” information on the individual in question; and may involve analyzing fragmentary or dated information. Apart from social media and open-source internet searches (including dark web), we may employ “social engineering” or human factors to locate a party, e.g. the art of inquiring with individuals who know the party (discreetly, through third parties, or by pretext).

 

Skip-tracing often starts with the following “hard” data points: phones, SSN, true name and alias, driver’s license, vehicle tags, etc. Even if we just have a name, and one other particular, we can usually locate the person!

Personal & Technical Surveillance

Surveillance can be an essential investigative tool in obtaining information that is crucial to a client’s business activities or the outcome of civil or criminal litigation. Surveillance can determine whether a former employee is violating a non-compete agreement, document a worker’s compensation insurance fraud, locate hidden assets, confirm that a spouse or romantic partner is cheating, and evaluate whether the lifestyle of a parent is suitable for visitation rights and shared custody.

 

Capitol Inquiry’s investigators are skilled in the art of conducting moving and static surveillance. Successful surveillance operations in the Washington, D.C. area usually require two surveillance vehicles and more than two surveillance investigators. Planning a surveillance operation requires that the team be ready for sudden changes in mode of travel, unanticipated movements and changes in pattern. A good surveillance outcome depends largely on the willingness to commit the resources needed.

 

If the client’s budget is limited, Capitol Inquiry will adjust accordingly – but results can vary as a consequence, even if the investigator is operating “closely” with a “discreet/not-to-lose” objective. The use of multiple surveillants and vehicles simply lessens the risk of detection.

 

Static surveillance can be equally difficult. (Ever notice the guy who is “just hanging around”?) It is nearly impossible to watch a residence, business, or specific spot for a long period without attracting some attention from neighbors, bystanders, onlookers – and even police. (The investigator must have proper local credentials.) Surveillance is a skill that can’t readily be taught. and is learned and sustained through actual experience.

 

Often, technical devices can be of great assistance to the surveillance team on the ground. The surveillance specialist must be able to minimize his/her presence, alter appearances, and employ non-human elements when possible, such as a parked vehicle with hidden cameras, and covertly placed equipment and electronic surveillance devices, including GPS tracking devices and/or beacons.

 

Electronic countermeasures are utilized to determine if someone is attempting to eavesdrop on your telephone, intercept your digital-computer telecommunications, record your conversations from a remote site or has placed any device hidden on your premises. While this type of illegal monitoring is extremely rare, it does exist, and clients need to be re-assured an area is “safe.” The use of tracking devices, however, should be coordinated with an attorney, will require proof of the client’s ownership of the target vehicle, and will need a review of state requirements for legal deployment within a jurisdiction or across state lines.

Trademark Infringement, Contracting Fraud, Unfair Business Practice Investigations

Capitol Inquiry investigates complex financial fraud, forgery, embezzlement, intellectual property (IP) theft, copyright and trademark infringement, breach of contract and financial misappropriation cases. It is well known that parties in China, Russia, Thailand, the Middle East, and Africa perpetrate widespread trademark and patent infringement. Sometimes purveyors of counterfeit goods have terrorist or organized crime sponsors. Trademark infringement on the internet are especially difficult to trace. Web service hosts can be located in almost any country, and e-commerce web addresses can be taken down in a day.

 

Capitol Inquiry is focused on safeguarding international business and trade. We support your attorney’s comprehensive pre-complaint investigation – an essential phase before the litigation. We have successfully investigated international trade law violations, Trade Dispute Resolutions before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), U.S.Department of Commerce anti-dumping and countervailing duty complaints, unfair trade practices and claims before the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and in federal courts, including the Court of International Trade.

 

Before you spend the money to draft complaints and initiate litigation. make sure your attorney orchestrates a thorough and careful investigation of the underlying facts of your case. This is where Capitol Inquiry’s services will reap benefits many times the cost.

The comprehensive pre-complaint investigation enables your attorney to advise you legally and tactically prior to beginning formal litigation. A well-organized and comprehensive pre-suit investigation will (a) save you time and money, (b)prevent potential embarrassment and reversals, (c) help preserve your cause of action, and reveal more strategic options throughout the case.

 

Closer to home – street vendors pass off counterfeit t-shirts, perfumes, watches, sneakers and other “name-brand” products. Capitol Inquiry’s investigators and researchers specialists track these infringements – from origin through the supply chain – and discreetly document these illegal activities through photographic and video surveillance, purchases of samples of counterfeit products and collection of the evidence needed to prove your claim.. From the re-packaging operations in rural domestic or international sites, to the packaging warehouse and transshipment points, to the back-alley shops of Hong Kong (or New York), we have succeeded in documenting these fraudulent practices. Our experienced international network and the multi-language skills of our in-house investigators prove invaluable in these types of investigations.

Estate, Rightful Heir, and Inheritance Protection & Investigations

Finding lost heirs, beneficiaries, successors-and-assigns is similar to finding witnesses and defendants. In some estate settlements there may be no identified heirs but there may be relatives who qualify as heirs – but whose names may/may not be known and whose whereabouts are unclear. This is very common in “probate” cases where someone dies without a will. Through probate, the court has to figure out how to distribute the deceased person’s assets – and the family representative or attorney has to make a diligent effort to find the legal beneficiaries. Capitol Inquiry has specialized in these kinds of cases since its inception In 1991. Without proper investigation, rightful heirs may be overlooked by the courts and deprived of their legal claim to their fair share of the estate assets.

 

Estate assets sometimes go unclaimed. We work with family members, heirs and beneficiaries to prove their right to unclaimed estate assets. Often, those we locate are unaware of their relationship to the decedent, did not know of their relative’s passing, or had only a vague understanding of their connection to the distant relative.

 

Before you pay money to a “bounty hunter” firm that proposes to take a big parentage of the assets due you, contact us. We can do this work for a fraction of the cost.

 

Capitol Inquiry has successfully located next-of-kin, traced missing family members, and located unknown heirs for thousands of clients. We work with your attorney or family representative to prove legal right to unclaimed estate assets. And before we contact anyone, we conduct extensive research to verify the relationship to the decedent and prove that the person identified is, in fact, a legitimate heir.

Elder Care Investigations – Protective Care Strategies, Estate and Probate Issues, Nannie Fraud

Capitol Inquiry’s clients sometimes hear rumors that an elder relative is missing, mistreated, or in possible distress. They fear the loved one is being victimized or defrauded, but they don’t have the

Elder legal issues are on the rise. Far too many seniors are the victims of neglect – even abuse and exploitation at the hands of those pledging care: home-care aids, nursing homes, neighbors, family relations, members of their church and even strangers.

If you are concerned that your loved one is suffering exploitation, delay will only make the consequences grave for everyone, and rightful heirs may be cheated. Contact Capitol Inquiry today for a free consultation.

Last Will & Testament Fraud Investigations

To establish fraud in the case of a will or estate, a fraudulent beneficiary must have made at least one specific false statement to the testator – who then changed his/her will to benefit the beneficiary based upon that false statement.

 

Challenging a new will in court doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll win. It usually is very difficult to convince the court that a suspect will is a case of fraud. However, if your records, correspondence, evidence and witness testimony are compelling enough to raise reasonable doubt, then it’s entirely possible the court may find in your favor.

 

Investigation, therefore, makes all the difference in the case your attorney brings. Call us.

Real Property Title Searches & Asset Searches, Tax Lien and Foreclosure Issues

Real Estate Investigations are our specialty. Capitol Inquiry has provided investigative services, skip-tracing and service of process for clients in thousands of court cases to foreclose the rights of redemption on properties. The firm specializes in handling these types of cases, and this work continues to be a significant part of our caseload year after year. Our clients need to have property owners redeem or release their interests in properties to conclude tax sale foreclosures and quiet title actions. These cases are both time-sensitive and detail-sensitive. One missed deadline, an overlooked heir, the misinterpretation of a land record – any of these can result in dismissal of the case permanently. Capitol Inquiry provides a full array of services to these clients, including obtaining the details for the preparation and filing of the litigation, skip-tracing to locate owners and parties of interest, effecting service of process on defendants by our in-house process servers, filing Affidavits of Service with the courts and testifying in court.

 

In the mid-1990s, Capitol Inquiry developed a huge caseload in real estate-related investigations and research. By 2001, we started a separate affiliated company to handle this casework, and to expand the business into title abstracting and real estate settlements. (Capitol Inquiry may be the only investigator in the world so closely associated with full-service title services.) The result is that Capitol Inquiry is a specialist in tracing ownership, deciphering conveyances, interpreting lengthy/detailed land records and financial documents recorded against properties, and locating real estate assets and lien holders. We work hand-in-hand with the client’s attorney to resolve difficult title problems (“clouds”) standing in the way of real estate purchases and the assemblage of properties for commercial developments.

 

Tracing ownership of a property requires research of land records filed with the Recorder of Deeds in each county going back as far as 60 years. Sometimes this search also will involve inspection of plat maps and records in the Office of the Surveyor. Then, in the nearby courthouse, Capitol Inquiry’s real estate research specialists search for encumbrances, judgments, probate cases, wills, civil actions, easements, foreclosures, mechanics liens, federal and state tax liens, and any other filing against current and former owners.

 

These encumbrances can prevent “clear title” and legal conveyance of the property. This research is critical in determining successors of interest, legal or fraudulent conveyances, and rightful heirs to properties. Making proper determination requires the ability to examine and interpret the language and terms peculiar to land records. Capitol Inquiry has the skills to search court and land records – and understand and interpret public records such as settlement documents, probate, wills, deeds, trusts, releases, UCC filings, leases, Powers of Attorney, covenants, easements and other documents recorded against real estate.

 

Separately, the location of heirs, successors, and lien holders can be problem in real estate. Sometimes an inheritor or owner may not recognize they still hold an interest in a property – and sometimes they do not care to be found, for any number of reasons. Capitol Inquiry will use database searches, genealogical and family research, court records, to identify rightful heirs and parties and notify executors and personal representatives of estates.

 

Real Estate Investigations are our specialty, and the expertise of founder Ken Cummins, who also founded and managed a title company for 12 years as an affiliate of Capitol Inquiry.

 

Capitol Inquiry has provided investigative services, skip-tracing and service of process for clients in thousands of court cases to foreclose the rights of redemption on properties. The firm specializes in handling these types of cases, and this work continues to be a significant part of our caseload year after year. Our clients need to have property owners redeem or release their interests in properties to conclude tax sale foreclosures and quiet title actions. These cases are both time-sensitive and detail-sensitive. Capitol Inquiry provides a full array of services to these clients, including title search, obtaining details for the preparation and filing of the litigation, skip-tracing to locate owners and interested parties, effecting service of process on defendants by our in-house process servers, filing Affidavits of Service with the judges and testifying in court.

 

In the mid-1990s, Capitol Inquiry developed a huge caseload in real estate-related investigations and research. In 2001, ,en Cummins started a separate affiliated company to handle this casework, and to expand the business into title abstracting and real estate settlements. The result is that Capitol Inquiry is the expert in the field in tracing ownership, deciphering conveyances, interpreting lengthy/detailed land records and financial documents recorded against properties, and locating real estate assets and lien holders. We work hand-in-hand with the client’s attorney to resolve difficult title problems (“clouds”) standing in the way of real estate purchases and the assemblage of properties for civic projects and commercial development.

 

Capitol Inquiry is uniquely qualified to conduct these kinds of investigations. Ken Cummins witnessed enough mortgage fraud as a settlement agent before and during the housing crisis to be able to recognize the warning signs of mortgage fraud and to know how to investigate it. We specialize in interview techniques that reveal whether a borrower may have committed fraud in obtaining the now-defaulted mortgage loan; or if the borrower had been misrepresented by the mortgage broker and/or others involved in the settlement process. (This is more common.) Years of experience allow Capitol Inquiry to resolve these and other issues related to real estate transactions.

Cyber & Computer Forensics

Computer forensics is common in private investigation, whether evidence is collected to support court proceedings or to verify suspected activities of an individual. Capitol Inquiry’s computer forensics experts are among the best in the business.

 

Forensic data acquisition and analysis usually focuses. on computer hard drives, peripherals, external hard drives, and storage devices. Valuable evidence can be found in partial or complete text elements, photos, email, web-search history, documents, deleted documents, and various files. There may be other non-obvious, over-write and memory files available for examination. Almost always, time is of the essence for acquisition of digital evidence and getting the answers to the central questions in your case.

 

The retrieval of minor artifacts such as text messaging, social media, chat comments, pictures or video, locational information, internet search history, and application data from mobile devices (smart-phones, computer pads/tablets, GPS and navigational) can bolster your case and add value to your investigation. When available, we also analyze user call-detail records from the mobile network operator – wireless service provider/carrier, cellular company, or mobile network carrier – in an integrated manner for a complete approach to gathering the evidence.

 Additional Capabilities

Threat & Vulnerability Assessment

Risk Mitigation Strategies

Executive Protection

Compliance & Oversight Support

Political Opposition Research

Key Issue or Special Focus Investigations

Cyber Security

Social Media Link Analysis