Private Investigations and Personal Security/Query


I was wondering if it was within the law for a private investigator to conceal information about a crime from the police if given details about the crime by his client?
For example, the client might tell the PI that they had encountered a murdered body and had fled the scene due to not wanting to be involved as they feared they might be viewed as the prime suspect, despite the client claiming that he hadn't killed the relevant victim.

Also, I'm curious as to what tricks PIs can use which are still within the law in order to get info? For example, pretending to be a hotel guest who has lost his keys in order to get the maid to unlock a door  -is that still within the law, despite being dishonest?


Great question. In California, the Private Investigator's allegiance is to his client first. If an investigator has second hand knowledge (hearsay) of a crime he can be compelled to testify by way of a subpoena just like any other witness. However, you choose to use the term conceal information about a crime from the police which is very different. It appears that you are trying to combine the two. Using your example, the PI has information about a crime that is second hand. The PI did not see the crime itself nor did he take part in it. The PI doesn't even know if his client is telling him or her the truth. So the question for you is, how could the PI conceal information about a crime someone else allegedly has information about? So to conclude this portion of your question, a private investigator in not compelled to provide second nor 1st hand information about a crime that he did not witness, unless he is subpoenaed like all other citizens. If the PI conceals evidence of a crime it is illegal. (IE- Hides a gun used in a murder. Destroys records linking his client to a crime.)

With regards to your second question, there are so many tricks that we use most of which I would never disclose publicly. However, the techniques we've used over the include using a rouse or conducting a pretext to obtain certain information. Using your related example above, obtaining a key and accessing another hotel guests room would be criminal fraud, trespassing/burglary/breaking & entering, etc. in most states in the US. It is not illegal to be dishonest, however it is illegal to be dishonest when trying to intentional deceive others for personal gain or to damage another individual. This is fraud... It is a very thin line we walk but when PI's are dishonest in most cases we are not trying to hurt or steal from someone. PI's lie to get to the truth...

So having the skills to obtain needed information is one thing. Using certain techniques and being knowledgeable of the applicable laws are another... "With power comes, great responsibility!"

Hope this helps!!!

         “The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”
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Blessings, Peace & Prosperity!          

Claude D. Ammons - QM
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Claude Ammons


I enjoy answering questions relating to private & general investigations including but not limited to locates, skip tracing, surveillance, stalking, child custody, criminal defense, civil, corporate security/executive protection, workplace violence/threat assessments, personal security, security surveillance systems and GPS tracking/monitoring products & services. Specifically, I answer questions regarding state laws concerning private investigation practices, as well as the best practices & standard operating procedures used by most reputable private investigative firms. I can give you state & federal references when dealing with issues that may or may not be legal in your specific state. IE- Some states have laws which conflict with federal law such as California's "2 party law" for surreptitious audio recordings. I offer tips on how to identify the right investigative firm for your particular case and what type of questions that investigative firm should be asking you. QUICK TIP #1: NEVER hire a Private Investigative firm that is not concerned about providing you a written contract that specifically outlines the agreement and responsibilities of both parties!!! A written contract should be expected & demanded by both investigative firm and client 95% of the time. I have numerous resources and will point you in the right direction. Whether it is hiring an attorney, a specialist or offering tips on conducting LEGAL investigations & research yourself. I offer advise regarding the kind of info you can legally obtain, what's not legal for you to obtain and when you need to hire a professional to obtain the info on your behalf. Lastly, I have over 20 yrs of experience as a Security Professional/Consultant and 12+ yrs within the Investigative profession. As the 2009 President of a state Private Investigation Association, I have professional knowledge, experience & established resources that supply me with the most recent legislative issues & industry trends.


Corinthian Group experience includes but not limited to all areas of surveillance including Workers Compensation Insurance Fraud, Domestic Infidelity Cases, Computer Investigations & Forensics, Personal Injury & Automobile Liabilty, Loss Prevention, theft interviewing & interrogation techniques, Under Cover assignments, Stalking prevention & suppression, surveillance tactics & countermeasures and surveillance system & lighting consultation experience. Corinthian Group also has experience in security consultation & protective services to the corporate & private sector. These services include Bodyguard/Executive Protection, identity theft prevention, work place violence & volitale terminations, GPS tracking/monitoring services, TSCM/Debugging( Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) and security system products & diagramming experience.

2009 PICA President (Professional Investigators of California Association) NCISS (National Council of Investigations & Security Services)-Member CALI (California Association of Licensed Investigators)-Member SCFIA (Southern California Fraud Investigators Association)-Member WAD (World Association of Detectives)-Member

Publications Hellium: Blog: and my m

PSO (Security Course) Weaponless Defense Tai Karate & MMA training Wicklander & Zulawski-Interview & Interrogation Techniques Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST)-832 Level 3 CA State licensed Private Investigator-CA PI # 23070 Law Enforcement Training Center-Computer Investigations

Awards and Honors
Elected as the Association President of PICA in 2009. PICA was an Association that focused on legislative bills that would have a negative impact on our profession if passed at the state level... PICA was a member oriented association that was positioning itselt to provide its members with resources to help them successful grow and or sustain their businesses. Awarded for presentation of GPS Tracking devices. Honored for service as the 2009 PICA President and the 2008 & 2007 PICA 2nd Vice President respectively.

Past/Present Clients
SCRMA (Southern California Risk Management Associates), Markel Insurance Corporation, Imhoff & Associations (Nationwide Criminal Defense Law Firm). Private clients are Confidential!

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