Fraud Basics

Obtaining financial records with a ‘Subpoena Duces Tecum’

Frequently, CFEs who investigate financial crimes are tasked with obtaining financial records from banks, credit unions, credit card companies, investment houses, mortgage lenders and other institutions to help determine whether a financial crime has been committed and the dollar dimension of the crime.

While individual victims and other witnesses might voluntarily produce their own financial records to an investigator, the investigator should get records directly from the financial institution(s) in question. These records will be more complete, they’ll be authenticated by the subpoenaed institution, they won’t have passed through anyone else’s hands and they’ll be easier to get admitted in court during the trial process.

Financial institutions usually require a valid legal order commanding them to produce these records, and a typical legal order instrument is the Subpoena Duces Tecum, also known in some jurisdictions as a Subpoena for Production of Evidence. It’s literally a subpoena that orders a person to bring documents or other tangible evidence to court. (Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.) The Subpoena Duces Tecum is also often used to order the institution to produce records with no court appearance required if so stated on the instrument.

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