The Secret Service provides protective services for visiting heads of state and for national special security events; however, the primary function of Tennessee’s Secret Service field offices is investigating and combating financial crimes. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in electronic crimes in the state.
There are four Secret Service field offices in Tennessee. Their locations and telephone numbers are:
- Chattanooga; 423-752-5125
- Knoxville; 865-545-4637
- Memphis; 901-544-0333
- Nashville; 615-736-5841
Requirements for Becoming a Secret Service Agent in Tennessee
Secret Service agents are usually hired at the GL7 or GL9 level. The basic requirements for a Secret Service career in Tennessee are:
- United States citizen
- Between the ages of 21 and 37
- Valid driver’s license
- Good health/excellent physical condition
- Able to qualify for a top secret security clearance
Educational requirements for GL7 level are:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- In upper one-third of graduating class and
- 3.0 or higher grade point average OR
- One year experience carrying out criminal investigates, conducting surveillances, apprehending/arresting violators and organizing evidence for prosecution
Educational Requirements for GL9 level:
- Master’s degree or its equivalent (LLD, etc.) OR
- One year specialized criminal investigation with surveillance, undercover, interviewing and interrogating experience as well as organizing evidence for prosecution
There is a one-time recruitment bonus equal to 25 percent of the annual wage for proficiency in a foreign language.
Getting an Education in Tennessee – There are over a dozen accredited four-year public colleges in Tennessee and over 25 private institutions. There are also several online schools from which to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Approximately 100 students graduate each year in Tennessee with degrees in criminal justice.
How to Apply for a Secret Service Job in Tennessee – Details about the hiring process and online application forms are available at the Secret Service employment website. Call any of the Tennessee field offices listed above for information about job opportunities in Tennessee.
Combating Crime in Tennessee
Electronic Crime – Headed by the Memphis Secret Service office, the Mid-South Electronic Crimes Task Force is said to be the top computer forensics lab in the nation by volume of investigations. The task force employs two federal agents, three digital forensic examiners and one police officer.
Rick Harlow, special agent in charge of the Memphis office, said they are especially interested in cases that have multiple victims from a common source. In 2010 the task force was responsible for cracking a widespread international computer crime ring that made the mistake of hacking into the computer system of a Memphis delicatessen. Harlow said the agency will, “always try to find the point of compromise in order to help businesses limit their liability.”
Bank Fraud – A Secret Service investigation resulted in the December 2013 federal jury conviction of a Nashville man for bank fraud. The defendant was involved in a scheme to de-fraud federally-insured financial institutions that issued loans for the construction of modular homes in Nashville and Franklin TN. Mortgage-fraud schemes like this are only one of the many kinds of financial crimes the Secret Service deals with.
In July of 2013 the Tennessee Secret Service found that James Robert Jones, a former assistant inspector general with the U.S. Army, abused his position by using the personal financial information of active duty army officers, many of whom were deployed in Afghanistan, to obtain loans in their names. Jones could face 50 years in prison. Todd Hudson, special agent in charge of the Nashville office, remarked that the case, “illustrates how the combined efforts of the Secret Service and our military law enforcement partners help to protect our financial institutions.”
In August of 2013 Pavan Voleti of Nashville was recently released from prison after serving time for making fake credit cards when the Secret Service intercepted mail intended for Voleti that contained a credit-card scanning device. A warrant to inspect his residence revealed an ATM machine in his closet along with equipment to make bogus credit cards. When asked why he risked going back to prison so soon Voleti blamed it on “either an addiction or madness.”