A Mounting Battleground: Federal Crimes
There was a time not so long ago, when the topic of federal crime conjured thoughts of international intrigue, espionage, and mysteries tracked by the FBI. Such criminals did not seem to be a lurking threat among the general population, and few employers entertained the thought of them popping up in a pool of job candidates. In fact, with the exception of a few regulated industries, a federal criminal history search was often not a standard component of an employer’s background investigation. However, with the recent and rapid rise in federal crimes, it would appear that those days are gone.
In 2018, Commercial Investigations LLC saw about a 400 percent increase in federal criminal convictions when compared with data from 2016 and 2017— and the year is not over! With numbers continually on the rise, it is important to recognize and understand new trends and prepare for emerging threats in a shifting paradigm.
One of the major contributing factors to the evolution of federal crimes has been the advancement of technology. In particular, computer and internet technology has enabled a new territory of federal crimes with a host of new criminals. The distinctive characteristic of this emerging new class of “cybercrimes” is that they are conducted “by wire,” that is, over the internet. The FBI specifically includes identity theft and computer crimes as federal crimes. But generally speaking, laws that are broken across state lines are considered a federal crime.
There are a few critical things to keep in mind when exploring federal crimes and federal criminal inquiries. Federal criminal records include offenses prosecuted at the federal level. It is important to realize that federal convictions will not show up in statewide or county level searches. It is also important to note that federal and national searches are not the same. A national, or multijurisdictional search, covers a large collection of national databases but should not be confused with a federal criminal record search.
So what does this mean for business owners, hiring managers, or any organization running background investigations? It’s a great time for a policy review! At Commercial Investigations LLC, if your policy does not specifically state ‘Federal Criminal’ as a search, then it is not included in your background investigation. Please consider contacting a member of our business development team to explore adding federal criminal inquiries to your package at 1-800-284-0906.