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Federal Background Checks: What you Should Know

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Do you need a federal background check? If you're not sure, don't worry, we'll explain everything in this comprehensive guide. A federal criminal background check includes information on federal-level criminal cases, such as robbery, fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, and white-collar crimes. Employers and hiring managers can utilize federal background checks to conduct comprehensive investigations of potential employees.

If you're wondering if a federal background check is necessary for your situation, keep reading to find out more.

What is a Federal Background Check?

Federal laws, or statutes, are created by the United States Congress to safeguard the citizens of this country. Some criminal acts are federal offenses only and must be prosecuted in Federal District Court. These charges do not appear on state or county-level criminal searches. Performing a federal records search provides a more comprehensive view into an employees' background by revealing higher-level, white-collar crimes and those occurring across state lines.

This search is ideal for high-level positions, employees with access to secure or financial information, or all financial or banking industry employees.

Where are Federal Criminal Records Stored?

Federal crimes are prosecuted in United States district courts, which are trial courts. Federal crimes may be appealed in the United States courts of appeals (or appellate courts). So federal criminal records might come from either district courts or appellate courts though records will only come from appellate courts if the case was appealed.

The district in each state stores federal criminal records. FOR EACH STATE, the U.S. District Court can have one district or may be divided up into multiple districts. This search is matched against the U.S. Federal District Court Master Name List and is a name match-only search. Records are reported according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

What Comes up on a Federal Background Check?

Federal background checks will report convictions on Federal-level criminal cases, such as robbery, fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, and white-collar crimes. Employers and hiring managers can utilize federal background checks to conduct comprehensive investigations of potential employees.

Federal criminal records are cases brought by the Federal government from 94 federal district courts nationwide, including:

  • Tax evasion: Illegally attempting to avoid paying taxes
  • Identity theft: Using another person's personal identifying information (e.g., name, Social Security number, etc.) without their permission to commit fraud or other crimes
  • Counterfeiting: Creating fake currency with the intent to pass it off as real 
  • Kidnapping: Confining and/or transporting a person against their will 
  • Embezzlement: Withholding something of value from its rightful owner without their consent with the intent to appropriate it
  • Interstate trafficking: Unlawfully importing goods, often controlled substances, across state lines.

What are White-Collar Crimes?

White-collar crimes are financially motivated, nonviolent, or non-directly violent offenses committed by individuals, businesses, and government workers. Crimes of this sort are defined as deceptive, dishonest, or violations of trust that do not require the use of physical force or violence.

Fraudulent activities come in many different types and forms, but federal law defines them as white-collar crimes. These federal offenses can be committed by anyone, regardless of their social or economic class. The only thing that ties these crimes together is their motivation: to gain some financial advantage.

Examples of White-Collar Crimes

  • Bank fraud
  • Bribery
  • Computer crimes
  • Copyright infringement
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit card fraud
  • Economic espionage
  • Elder financial abuse
  • Embezzlement

How do Federal Background Check Work?

Federal background checks are conducted using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. This system contains records from all federal district and appellate courts.

A federal background check is a search of 94 federal district and appellate courts to uncover convictions and pending cases of federal crimes.

Get Started With Federal Background Check From Orange Tree

Orange Tree completes the federal criminal search using the same online databases utilized by the court clerks. 

We will report all available and reportable felony and misdemeanor records that the court has available, including; deferred, pending, fail to appear and warrant information according to the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA). 

The federal criminal check will include an overall result and status. If a record is located, the record may include the following information: level of offense, disposition, age of the record, identifiers used to match the record to the applicant.

More companies are considering Federal Criminal searches as standard practice for background screening. As these charges do not appear on the state or county level, a federal records search provides a more fully comprehensive view into an employees' background by revealing higher-level, white-collar crimes and those occurring across state lines. 

Orange Tree is here to help employers like you find the best fit for their open position. You must consider the different types of criminal checks when hiring and retaining employees. This will help you choose the best background screening plan for the industry and position you are hiring for and protect you from risk!

With over 30 years of experience, our team at Orange Tree understands the legal and financial implications of employers' hiring practices. We are committed to working with employers to design and implement a comprehensive screening program that fits their business needs. Our team can assist you every step of the way to prevent negligent hiring lawsuits.

Want to learn more about how our team can be of service to your organization? Schedule a call today.