Identity Theft

Interviewing and Prosecuting Suspects, Part Two


Examining identity theft suspects requires systematic, methodical techniques designed to yield evidence for possible prosecution.

If an identity theft suspect has been arrested, request copies of the mug shot, fingerprints, palm prints (if taken), and the booking or arrest sheet. The booking sheet will usually contain an address, emergency contact, or next-of-kin information and possibly attorney and bonding information. Bail bondsmen can be helpful in locating suspects.

If you interview the suspect in custody and you're a law enforcement officer, make sure the suspect understands his or her Miranda rights. If you're not a law enforcement officer, you don't have to give the Miranda warnings, but it doesn't hurt to “remind” the suspect of them, to avoid a “silver platter” issue later if the suspect confesses to you and you later provide the confession to law enforcement. Reduce whatever the suspect tells you to writing. If you're authorized to do so, take a sworn statement. If not, take a witnessed, written statement. Many prosecutors prefer the second type. If the suspect's guilt is reasonably certain, yet he or she persists to deny, take the negative statement and use it later to attack the suspect's credibility if necessary.

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