Transcript of Von Holt, Part 3
About the San Francisco office
Note: Transcripts have been edited for readability and are not word-for-word reflections of the audio sections.
Mark "The Red" Harlan:Why don't you tell us a little bit about the structure of this office here, how it works and the kinds things you do on a day-to-day basis.
Special Agent Chris Von Holt: Well the structure's pretty straight forward. Tom Meyers is the Special Agent in Charge. He runs the office. Rosa Alvarado is his assistant. Rosa runs the day-to-day operational things of the office. She's more a general manager of operations on a day-to-day basis.
The office itself is split into four squads. I run the Counterfeit Currency Squad. Primarily what we do is investigate counterfeit money. We do other things as needed -- we help the other squads out. Or on protection assignments, we work protection if someone is in town. There's a Fraud Squad, they deal primarily with fraudulent credit cards, various other access devices, cellular phone fraud, computer fraud, a few other things. Then there's a Protective Intelligence Squad, they deal exclusively with protective intelligence matters such as threat cases, people who write letters, those overheard making threatening remarks regarding the President and Vice President or whoever else we protect. The fourth squad is a catch-all, they do special investigations, which include background investigations, they do some bank fraud, and few other things in a catch-all capacity.
RED:You're a "Special Agent," right?
CVH:Well, I like to think of myself as "Extra Special," but generally speaking, "Special Agent" is the title. Actually my title now is Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, which just means I've reached a supervisory level and I run the Counterfeit Currency Squad -- a frontline supervisory position.
RED:Do you actually do any work anymore, or do you just boss people around?
CVH:(Laughs) Well you'd have to ask the people that work for me to get a real answer to that ... I still get "out in the streets," to use a expression, when we're doing search warrants or arrests if I can, but the majority of my job is front-line administrative. Assigning cases, reviewing reports, reviewing the counterfeit notes that come in throughout the district.
RED:Right now I'm looking at your desk and it has a lot of money on it. How often do you get a tupperware bin that's filled with ... this has to be $10,000 in currency, or more ... do you get one of these on a daily basis? Everyday you come in and it's, "here's your $10,000 of fake currency."
CVH:Not daily for that amount. That's probably a couple of days worth. There's quite a few dollars spent in the Bay Area, you have to remember we cover a large district.
RED:From what? Roughly the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge down to San Jose, or something bigger than that?
CVH:Actually we go all the way up through the northern end of California on the coast, down past the end of San Francisco, east out through Vallejo and then down south toward San Jose. It's pretty much by county; we've got San Francisco, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties.
RED:Have you seen the movie "The Matrix" yet?
CVH:I have not. I've seen the promos for it.
RED:I'll give you the quickest of synopses. Essentially the premise of the movie is that the world is not what it appears to be. You're actually inside a giant computer program -- we're in a computer program right now -- and the bad asses in the computer world are people called "Agents," who wear, suspiciously, sunglasses and wires out of their ears.
RED:Now you're not part of that whole thing, right? You're not part of this whole underworld computer program thing ...
CVH:Well, as far as I know I'm not ... but I suppose you could take that one step further and say the people that were involved wouldn't even know they were involved. We're made fun of occasionally, with the ear pieces and the lapel pins and the dark sunglasses. That's okay. That's part of the act in some ways in the protection side of things. The people that work for me wear anything from suits to shorts and t-shirts, depending on what situation they're in. So that protection image actually works to our advantage in some ways.
If the President or Vice President or whoever we protect is somewhere, and you see a bunch of people in dark blue suits and red-striped ties, and sunglasses, you know that we're there and those are the people that we pretty much want you to see. There are other people there that are dressed more casually, doing other functions, that presumably you're not going to see. So it's all part of the mystique.