Employment Screening 101: The Federal Criminal Search-Part 5

Jason Morris

For Today’s posting I am going to discuss another underutilized search, the Federal Criminal History Search. Typically used for higher level hires, the Federal Search can be an effective way of identifying individuals not found in the State Court System. There are many crimes that don’t necessarily fall under local laws, they fall under federal jurisdiction. These crimes may include: tax evasion, embezzlement, counterfeiting, kidnapping, bank robbery and many other “white collar” crimes. This search lists criminal filings in any of the nation’s Federal District Courts. Federal district court searches are the first option we recommend for a client that wants to go above and beyond a comprehensive felony and misdemeanor court search. Because not all crimes are handled at the local level, running the federal district court search in the same geographical areas as the countywide searches delivers an added layer of protection.

Imagine this. You own a large company in the financial sector. You hire a recruiter to find a “C” Level executive to fill an important position. You hire a competent employment screening firm to conduct a thorough background check on the candidate. You select from a menu of very thorough criminal searches including a Countywide Felony & Misdemeanor Search and a National Criminal Database Search. You make the hire only to later find the following case: SEC Brings Civil Fraud Claims against Former CFO” Now just as a disclaimer, I don’t know Gregory Reyes, I have never even heard of him, I simply did a bit of research on Google to find a “C” level executive who has been convicted of a federal crime. My point is this; a simple Federal Criminal History Search would have uncovered this case had you utilized this type of criminal search. Please note, no other type of Criminal Search would have uncovered this record, it’s only found at the Federal Level. While you can’t use Google to find this information during a background check (a subject we will cover later), you customers and employees can, imagine the embarrassment!


In conclusion, we certainly understand budget constraints when doing a background check. Hiring for a higher level position should include a higher level of vetting. Typically a background check should cost no more than the candidates’ first days’ salary. Don’t save money by putting your company or organization at risk.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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