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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Woodland Hills

Private Investigator Admits Posing as Federal Agent

October 24, 1998|SOLOMON MOORE

A private investigator pleaded guilty to illegally accessing a Social Security Administration computer by posing as a government agent over the phone, federal prosecutors said Friday.

In 1994, Daniel Yelin, whose one-man Woodland Hills agency was called Sources Investigative Services, began calling Ann Minor-Ziff, a Social Security Administration employee, for Social Security numbers, addresses and other biographical information, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Yelin, 29, called Minor-Ziff on a weekly basis for three years telling her he was a federal fraud investigator named Gary.

Mrozek said those telephone calls enabled Yelin to serve his clients who were trying to locate individuals or obtain other kinds of information.

Last year, Minor-Ziff's supervisor questioned her about her excessive number of database queries and subsequently uncovered Yelin's true identity.

Prosecutors say Yelin could face a maximum five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a three-year probation during which he would be prohibited from working as a private investigator. He is scheduled for sentencing Feb. 1.

"These databases provide so much biographical information," said Mrozek. "This is a crime we take very seriously and when brought to our attention we will prosecute these people."

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