Our firm has located thousands of witnesses from across the economic spectrum throughout the United States and around the world. “Chasing Ghosts,” an article written by partner Philip Becnel and published in Pursuit Magazine, details some of the techniques and complexities of finding people. Generally, we use several investigative databases to locate people simply by plugging in their known information—names, former addresses, etc. The results can give us dates of birth, Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, current addresses, motor-vehicle records, liens and judgments, voter-roll records, real-property records, and court records. Using databases and public records sources, we are able to locate a majority of our witnesses within a relatively short amount of time.
It becomes more complicated, however, when known information about a person is limited, when a person has recently relocated or when someone tends to operate “under the radar.” Perhaps he only makes purchases in cash or resides outside of the United States. It can also be difficult to differentiate a witness from other people who have the same or similar names. In these cases, it takes creativity to flesh out a witness’s whereabouts, using nontraditional information sources and hitting the pavement to obtain human intelligence. Every piece of known information becomes potentially important.