Drugs, Fraud, Pornography... Oh, My! The Background Check Information Gap Blog Post Banner

Bank robbery. Major drug crimes. Bribery. Child pornography. These are but a few of the criminal offenses that many employers’ background checks will miss because they ignore federal crimes.

The most prolific source of criminal records are the local-county courts. In fact, more than 95% of the records that we report to clients originate at the local-county level.

However, by relying exclusively on county criminal records, which reflect violations of state laws, employers risk missing significant criminal cases originating in the federal courts, which focus on criminal acts under federal law.

Though federal offenses are a small percentage of the criminal records we report to clients, they are almost always items of interest to employers. This is why we always recommend that employers include them in their standard background investigation.

More than three-quarters of the federal offenses we report are related to the manufacture, distribution, or sale of controlled substances (marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine being the most common substances). There are very few workplaces where these offenses would not warrant additional consideration by an employer.

Second only to drug offenses are fraud and financial crimes. Recent examples from our files include:

  • Bank fraud
  • Possession of embezzled mail
  • Bulk cash smuggling into or out of the United States
  • Engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity (money laundering)
  • Conspiracy to defraud the United States
  • Knowingly making a materially false statement to federal investigators
  • Aiding and abetting access device fraud
  • Bankruptcy fraud Failure to pay taxes
  • Unlawfully accepting property of another
  • Embezzlement of public moneys or property

We’ve also recently reported a number of less-common federal offenses that are equally relevant to many hiring decisions:

  • Bank robbery
  • Intentionally damaging a reproductive health facility
  • Transporting undocumented aliens within the United States
  • Possessing matter containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct
  • Retaliation against a witness
  • Misprision (active concealment) of a felony
  • Interference with commerce by threat or violence
  • Knowingly devising a scheme to avoid competitive bidding
  • Conducting activities such as soliciting, paying and accepting bribes through a pattern of racketeering
  • Program fraud – knowingly accepting a bribe for the purpose of influence
  • Tainting a consumer product to cause commercial harm
  • Misappropriation of property under the control of special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States and aiding and abetting
  • Operating under the influence of alcohol on federal property
  • Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to the commission of a drug trafficking crime
  • Unlawfully transporting firearms
  • Possession of a stolen firearm

Many of the cases we report are brought under the RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) statutes, meaning that the individual was a part of a larger criminal enterprise.

Imperative’s recommended criminal background investigation, used by most of our clients, includes federal criminal court research. Before you hire your next employee, contact us to discuss the importance of federal criminal records.