NEWS “without comment”
U.S. Attorneys – Northern District of New York
June 02, 2021
When Investigation Crosses the Line – Three Plead Guilty to a Slew of Charges in USA
When it comes to accessing personal information (In the USA) private investigators do have some special privileges.
However, we are still restricted with what we can do with the information we find.
It can be tempting to take an investigation too far in pursuit of the truth, but there are some lines that just should not be crossed.
Sabrina Scott crossed one such line and took Stephen Mockler and Andrew Panessa with her.
Scott was employed by a private investigator firm, PDJ Services in Texas.
During her time working there, she had access to the personal identifying information of the people her firm was investigating including social security numbers.
She then provided Mockler and Panessa with this personal identifying information – including social security numbers – and asked them to use it to access confidential tax records.
Both Scott and Panessa requested tax information from Mockler, who would impersonate the taxpayer to the IRS to gain access to confidential information.
He was able to successfully pose as the taxpayer because he could answer personal identifying information and answer security questions with the data provided by Scott.
Mockler would then bypass the private investigation firm, sending the information on to the firm’s client, for a fee of course.
In the process of carrying out this arrangement, the three broke a collection of laws including wire fraud, misuse of a social security number, and aggravated identity theft.
The three have pleaded guilty to a slew of charges but have not been sentenced yet.
Mockler and Panessa face up to 20 years in prison each for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and five years each for misuse of a social security number.
They also face two consecutive years in prison for aggravated identity theft and up to $250,000 each in fines.
Scott faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for conspiracy to misuse social security numbers.
All defendants face up to three years of supervised release post-imprisonment.
The temptation to shirk some laws for a side hustle can be strong.
If one were so inclined, the opportunity, incentive, and rationalization are all there.
But, the key component is; that if one be so inclined.
Scott, Mockler and Panessa were so inclined, and their “investigation” turned into identity fraud.
Sadly the owner of PI Agency PDJ Services passed away a few months ago
With kind consent of Nicole Bocra Gray
Infinity Investigative Solutions