Pretexting and Asset Searches – Dangerous Pitfalls

A recent press release from the Department of Justice illustrates the potential dangers in using pretexts and subterfuge to locate bank accounts and other non-public consumer information. Below is the text of the press release. The press release itself can be found here.

Long-Time Private Investigator Sentenced for Practice of Making Pretextual Phone Calls

PHOENIX, Ariz. – On September 9, 2019, Keven Lawrence Cody McCleve, 61, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan M. Brnovich to three years’ probation and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. McCleve was also ordered to give up all professional licenses and not acquire any professional license while on probation.

McCleve worked as a licensed private investigator for over 30 years. During this time period, he developed a practice of making phone calls to banks and other financial institutions and lying about his identity. He made pretextual calls in an attempt to obtain personal banking information about individuals he was investigating. McCleve often provided a bank with an individual’s social security number, date of birth, and other personally identifiable information in an effort to convince the bank McCleve was that particular individual. In response, banks then frequently provided personal information about the individual’s bank accounts, including account balances, and recent withdrawals and deposits.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Andy Stone, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix

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