Ten private investigators were indicted on December 5, 2007,in Seattle, WA, by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The alleged defendants collected information via pretext from the I.R.S., Social Security Administration, various State Unemployment Insurance Departments, private financial institutions, banks, pharmacies and hospitals. The alleged defendants fraudulently posed as the individuals about who information was sought.
If this is true, they broke Rule #1.
Washington State requires a Private Investigator to be licensed. However, it seems that BNT Investigations and the three named individuals in Washington state might not have state-issued Private Investigator’s licences. I don’t know the licence status of the others.
This type of behaviour is not new. In Canada, this issue was, in part, dealt with during the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Confidentiality of Health Records in Ontario, Canada, by Mr. Justice Horace Krever.
The Royal Commission heard from over 500 witnesses, including private investigation firms, insurance companies, hospitals, and others. During 1976 and 1977, the Royal Commission found evidence of hundreds of successful efforts to acquire health information from Ontario hospitals and doctors under pretext.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada admitted to the Royal Commission that its members had gathered medical information through “various sources” without the authorization of the patients.
Several investigation companies went out of business due to the Royal Commission exposing their activities.
Where there are clients willing to pay for this improper and unprofessional behaviour, there will be providers of such services.