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Practical Handbook for Professional Investigators, Third Edition

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Practical Handbook for Professional Investigators, Third Edition

This new 3rd Edition is an unparralleled guide to the ins and outs of private investigation, including several new chapters on insurance fraud, death, fire and arson, to name a few.

By Rory J. McMahon,

ISBN: 9781439887226

Retail price: $99.95   $74.95



  • Contains new chapters on death and terrorism investigation
  • Explores insurance fraud, fire and arson investigation, and liability claims investigation
  • Includes new sections on surveillance, subpoenas, and testifying in court
  • Summarizes the Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Explores niche markets in the investigative industry
  • Provides tips for starting and running a successful investigative agency


An increase in fraud cases has escalated government accountability and corporate oversight, and media attention on cases ranging from missing persons to white-collar crime has increased the visibility of professional investigators. This has resulted in a great source of increased work for the profession.

The third edition of Practical Handbook for Professional Investigators continues to supply an up-to-date, nuts-and-bolts learning tool for students and an everyday reference for investigative professionals at all levels.

More relevant than ever, this edition adds two new chapters on death and terrorism investigations and several new sections, including:

  • Insurance fraud, fire and arson investigation, and liability claims investigation
  • Indicators of online marital infidelity
  • Obtaining governmental records to locate people and sample reports for skip tracing
  • Practical considerations for surveillance and procedures for interception of wire or oral communications
  • Service of subpoenas for witnesses in federal courts
  • Testifying in court—including witness and evidence preparation, trial tactics used by attorneys, and an investigator’s rights as a witness
  • The Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Niche markets in the investigative industry
  • Managing and marketing an investigative practice, running a paperless office, and customer retention

An unparalleled guide to the ins and outs of private investigation, Practical Handbook for Professional Investigators, Third Edition belongs on the shelf of every professional and trainee.


Table of Contents

Job Outlook
Skills Needed to Become a Successful Investigator
Three Methods That Investigators Use to Obtain Information
What Is an Investigator?
Attributes of a Successful Investigator
Foundations of Investigation
Types of Investigation
Assignments Performed by a Professional Investigator
Sources of Information
Missing Persons
Undercover Operations in Business Settings
Asset Protection—Loss Prevention—Access Control
Interviews, Interrogation, and Taking Statements
Introduction to Interviews
Purpose of the Interrogation
Taking Statements
Legal Investigations
The Legal Investigator
Structure of the U.S. Constitution
The Bill of Rights
Habeas Corpus
Criminal and Civil Procedure
The Concept of Crime
The Effective Limits of Criminal Law
The Authority to Arrest
Investigative Detention Short of Arrest—Stop and Frisk
Interrogating the Accused
The Trial
Legal Investigations
Role of the Legal Investigator
Conducting Legal Investigations
Case Study: United States v. Nancy Walter
Case Study: United States v. Pedro Huezo
Fraud Investigation
Corporate Fraud
Economic Crime Schemes
White-Collar Crime
Corporate Crime
Boiler Rooms—Telemarketing Fraud
How to Conduct a Criminal Fraud Defense Investigation
"Eating the Elephant": Defense Investigations for Complex Fraud Cases
Case Studies
Appendix 6.1: Sample Activity Reports
Computer Crime
Computer Crimes
Computer Fraud
The Computer Crime Investigator
Investigative Methodology
Areas of Computer Abuse
Institutional Vulnerability
Appendix 7.1: Investigation of Computer Fraud
Appendix 7.2: Computer Crime
Appendix 7.3: The Internet and the World Wide Web
Computer Forensics
Criminal Investigation
The Investigative Function
Role of the Criminal Investigator
Reasons for Investigating Crime
Limitations on Solving Cases
Investigative Theory and Methods
Types of Evidence
Uses of Evidence
Development of a Set of Suspects
Methods of Investigation
Phases of the Investigation
Rules of Evidence
Role of the Police
Government Agencies
Nuts and Bolts
Conducting a Criminal Investigation
Investigator’s Pretrial Responsibility
Case Studies
Component Method™ of Criminal Defense Investigation
Suggested Reading
Appendix 8.1: The Grand Jury
Death Investigation
An Overview of Death Investigation
What Is Death?
Medicolegal Death Investigations in Criminal Cases
The Investigative Protocol
What Is Death Investigation?
Are All Deaths Autopsied, or What Determines an Autopsy?
Key Concepts to Review and Analyze
History of Decedent
Forensic Autopsy
Determine the Cause and Manner of Death
In Conclusion
Terrorism Investigations
Terrorism Defined
Types of Terrorism
Government Approach to Terrorism
Government Tactics
Criminal Activity by Terrorist
Your Client
Suggested Reading
Case Study: Terrorism Investigation
Insurance and Arson Investigation
Ideal Requirements for Insurability
Insurance Contracts
Insurance Adjusting
Types of Insurance
Government Regulation of Insurance
Insurance Fraud
Fire and Arson Investigation
Liability Claims Investigation
Appendix 11.1: Sample Investigative Report 295
Appendix 11.2: Sample Vehicle Fire Report 299
Appendix 11.3: Car Theft, Past, Present and the Future 302
Appendix 11.4: Car Insurance Scam 305
Domestic Investigations
Appendix 10.1: Sample Activity Report
Appendix 10.2: Indicators of Online Marital Infidelity
Due Diligence and Background Investigations
Due Diligence Investigations
Scope of Investigations
Content of Investigations
Legal Constraints
Pre-employment Screening
Locates and Skip Tracing
The Basics of Skip Tracing
Relevant Federal and State Statutes
Beginning the Process
Skip Tracing Resources
Searching for Financial and Business Information
Searching for Legal Information
Search Engines
Other Internet Sites
Government Records
Appendix 14.1: IRB—Custom Comprehensive Report (Sample)
Appendix 14.2: Sample Forms
General Rules
Foot Surveillance
Automobile Surveillance
Surveillance Equipment
Technical Surveillance
Practical Considerations
Procedures for Interception of Wire or Oral Communications
Appendix 15.1: Notes on Surveillance
Appendix 16.1: Glossary and Sample Logs
Service of Process
Types of Service
Proof of Service
Pitfalls to Avoid
Service of Subpoenas for Witnesses in Federal Courts
Appendix 16.1: Florida Statutes Governing Service of Process
Testifying in Court
The Investigator Pretrial
The Investigator during Trial
Preparation of Witnesses by Investigator
Preparation of Evidence
The Investigator as a Witness
Trial Tactics Used by Attorneys
Testifying in Court for Law Enforcement Officers
Expert Witnesses
Tips for Testifying in Court
Your Rights as a Witness
Types of Evidence
Testifying as a Witness or Victim, or an Expert Witness
Confidentiality and Privacy
Keep Informed
Promote Education and Advocacy
Business Conduct
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
Fair Representation to Clients
Treatment of Competitors
Legal Issues
Render Services That Match Your Qualifications
Client Relations
Equal Rights
Appendix 18.1: U.S. Association of Professional Investigators (USAPI) Code of Ethics
Appendix 18.2: Ethics
Appendix 18.3: Investigative Ethics
Appendix 18.4: Summary of the Rules of Professional Conduct
Finding a Niche
How to Find Your Niche
Double-Check Your Choices
Niche Markets in the Investigative Industry
Getting Licensed
Operating a Professional Investigative Agency
Choosing a Name
Form of Operation
Business Problems
Licenses and Permits
Appendix 21.1: Tips for Operating Your Agency
Appendix 21.2: The Paperless Office
Appendix 21.3: Managing and Marketing Your Investigative Practice: An Interactive Discussion
Appendix 21.4: Case File Management
Appendix 21.5: "PI" Should Also Mean "Professional Image"
Appendix 21.6: Three Ways to Raise Prices without Losing Customers
Professional Associations
National Associations
Additional Specialty Associations of Interest
International Associations
State Associations
Appendix 22.1: Recommended Associations

Published:  June 18, 2013


Pages:  580