Secret Service agents in North Carolina have the dual mission of protection and investigation. Agents are responsible for protecting national and visiting foreign heads of state, designated national sites and special security events such as the Democratic National Convention, which was held in Charlotte in 2012. North Carolina’s field offices were recently on full alert for President Obama’s January 15, 2014 visit to a high-tech company in Charlotte to promote his Jobs bill.
The investigative mission focuses on safeguarding the nation’s financial infrastructure and preserving the integrity of the economy. Headquartered in D.C., the Secret Service and has over 125 field offices in the United States, including four in North Carolina. Finance-related criminal investigations are the primary function in these offices:
- Charlotte, state’s largest city; 704-442-8370
- Greensboro, central North Carolina; 336-547-4180
- Raleigh, state capital; 919-790-2834
- Wilmington, port city; 910-313-3043
Requirements for Becoming a Secret Service Agent in North Carolina
Getting a good education is the first step in preparing for a career in the US Secret Service. Agents are required to have at least a four-year degree from an accredited university/college. North Carolina residents are fortunate that their state has over 20 colleges/universities from which they can earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice or a related field.
Other requirements for secret service jobs in North Carolina include:
- Citizen of the U.S. between the ages of 21 and 37
- Valid driver’s license
- Excellent eyesight and physical condition
- Approximately three years experience in criminal investigations, law enforcement or the military
- Submit to a urinalysis screening and possible polygraph
- Able to qualify for a top security clearance
- Able to pass a specific Secret Service “suitability and security clearance process” even if the applicant already has a security clearance
Successes of Secret Service Field Offices in North Carolina
Greensboro. A joint investigation by the Greensboro Secret Service and the Department of Insurance led to the May 2012 grand jury indictment of an insurance agent accused of defrauding clients by leading them to believe they were investing in legitimate CDs and annuities when the agent was actually using the money for himself. The insurance agent was faced with up to 30 years in federal prison.
Wilmington. A lengthy investigation by Wilmington secret service agents resulted in the February 23, 2011 indictment of James Walter Goddard on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Goddard ran an illicit lending business in which he called himself the “Credit Doctor of North Carolina.” Instead of curing the people who came to him for help “Doctor” Goddard added considerably to their pain.
Five years earlier an investigation by Wilmington Secret Service agents led to the arrest of eight different individuals for attempting to defraud the US government by filing false claims for damages due to Hurricane Katrina.
Charlotte. The Charlotte secret service must be commended for the fine job they did during the Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte on September 3-6, 2012. In addition to protecting individuals during the event, the Secret Service spent many weeks working with local law enforcement planning such things as transportation routes, road closures, limited pedestrian access, restricted air space, etc. The Wilmington special agent-in-charge commented that “The level of security for the 2012 democratic convention was higher than for any event North Carolina has ever hosted.”
Thanks to the alertness of Charlotte special agents, Donte Jamar Sims was sentenced to prison on May 29, 2013, for threatening the life of President Obama. Sims’ Twitter account contained numerous postings like, “I aim my assault rifle at Obama’s forehead.” Sims admitted he posted the messages, saying he hates the president.
Charlotte Metro Electronic Crimes Task Force
The Charlotte Metro Electronic Crimes Task Force (CMECTF) is a US Secret Service-led multi-agency task force that was created for the purpose of investigating and combating electronic and financial crimes. The kinds of crimes investigated include:
- Computer crimes/online enticements
- Network intrusions
- Website defacements/hacker cases
- Credit card fraud
- Bank fraud
- Counterfeit corporate checks
- Identity theft related to financial info
The task force also educates private citizens and local businesses about cyber safety.