Mark Songer Forensic Document Examiner

Mark Songer, Forensic Document Examiner

Mark Songer is a court qualified expert in Forensic Document Examinations. He provides investigations, reports, and testimony towards the resolution of matters involving disputed documents or signatures, including: wills, checks, contracts, deeds, account ledgers, medical records, and autograph authentication. His other areas of expertise include employment background screening, casino and hotel surveillance systems and operation, proper procedure and protocol in the handling and destruction of classified materials, and the collection, storage and retention of biometric information.

Mark is a former FBI Special Agent and FBI Document Analyst, and was the designated handwriting expert for the Evidence Response Team-Los Angeles. During his tenure in the FBI, Mr. Songer instructed numerous law enforcement officers and examiners in handwriting identification, crime scene investigations and the proper collection of writing samples. He has also developed and implemented Criminal Justice and Forensic Science programs at several institutions of higher learning, including the University of California and La Sierra University. In addition, Mark is a former Adjunct Professor of Forensic Science at National University, San Diego, California and is currently an Adjunct Professor with Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida. Mark is also a life-time member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Former FBI Special Agent and FBI Forensic Examiner who has examined hundreds of handwriting cases ranging from violent crimes to the financial exploitation of the elderly. Qualified in both federal and state courts as an expert in forensic document examinations. Other areas of expertise include crime scene investigations, actions of law enforcement officers and security officers in the performance of their duties, use of force by law enforcement and security personnel, event safety and security, employment background screening, casino and hotel surveillance systems and operation, proper procedure and protocol in the handling and destruction of classified materials, and the collection, storage and retention of biometric information. Broad experience including: tribal security and law enforcement practices and procedures and gaming enforcement and compliance.

Professional Experience

Robson Forensic, Inc.

Associate

2013 to present

Provide technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony toward the resolution and litigation related to disputed documents or signatures to include: wills, checks, contracts, deeds, account ledgers, medical records, and voter and ballot card registration forms. Investigation and analysis includes: questioned signatures, suspect documents, identity theft, anonymous letters, alterations, obliterations, indented writings, altered medical records, graffiti and electronic documents. Additional analysis and investigations to encompass actions of law enforcement and security personnel, event safety and security, employment background screening, casino and hotel surveillance systems, the handling of classified materials and addressing issues related to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Songer Institute

Founder

2000 to present

Created a team of dedicated educational professionals, furthering the fields of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Emergency Management, Homeland Security and Strategic Intelligence, by channeling the training and development of students and practitioners through a continuous improvement model of delivery and content.

Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, CA

Indian Gaming Commission Chairman

2002 to 2005

Directed a Commission staff of 112 supervisory employees, who supervised 1,200 employees. Ensured gaming operations were in compliance with both Federal and State laws to include internal audits, internal control standards, approval and review of all tribal gaming ordinances and undertaking enforcement action if necessary as outlined in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Worked closely with the FBI, National Indian Gaming Commission and State Gaming Enforcement Division.

  • Responsible for all background investigations leading to a gaming license for both individuals and corporations.
  • Directed all investigative units to include inspectors, surveillance and security officer actions and operations.
  • Held administrative gaming license proceedings to determine eligibility of employees and vendors, and took required enforcement actions.
  • National Indian Gaming Commissioner (NIGC) certified.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

1994 to 2000

Special Agent, Los Angeles, CA 1996 to 2000

  • Designated handwriting expert for the Los Angeles Evidence Response Team (ERT).
  • Instructed numerous law enforcement officers and civilian examiners in handwriting identification as well as the collection of writing samples.
  • Received training in Threat Assessment Analysis and Behavioral Profiling.
  • Served as Relief Supervisory Agent for squad.
  • Assigned to various cases involving Foreign-Counter Intelligence (FCI), and Domestic Terrorism (DT).
  • Conducted Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) checks for new agents, congressional members and their appointees, and task force members.
  • Served on protective detail of VIP’s and Members of Congress upon visits to the Los Angeles area by providing pre-visit threat assessments identifying escape routes and secure safe locations in conjunction with local law enforcement. Venues include universities, auditoriums and government facilities.
  • Conducted white-collar crime investigations including excessive force, public corruption and other FBI jurisdictional matters. Gathered and analyzed evidence in preparation for U.S. Attorney review.
  • Arrested and apprehended fugitives from justice.
  • Conducted numerous surveillance and undercover operations in support of ongoing cases.
  • Utilized various interview and interrogation techniques as part of an investigation.
  • Developed confidential informants to gather intelligence on illegal activities, domestic terrorism and foreign-counter intelligence matters.
  • Obtained a classification rating of Top Secret (TS) and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) clearances for cases deemed Special Access Programs.

Questioned Documents Unit, FBI Headquarters, Washington D.C.
Document Analyst 1994-1995

  • Trained under the direction of renowned handwriting experts who have worked on such cases as the OJ Simpson Case, Oklahoma City Federal Building, the Vince Foster suicide, investigation of the former President Ferdinand and First Lady Imelda Marcos of the Philippines, the Joey Buttafuoco/Amy Fisher affair and the investigation and subsequent conviction of Chief Justice Sol Wachtler of the New York State Supreme Court.
  • Conducted examinations on cases to include bank robbery notes, death threats to Congressional members and suicide letters.
  • Examined paper, typewriters, computer generated documents, faxes, printers, copiers, inks, indented writings, tracings, cut/pastes, simulations and disguised writings.

Howard Rile, Los Angeles, CA

Trainee

1993 to 1994

Prepared case exhibits and demonstratives, instructed in the use of laboratory equipment, attended QD meetings and networked with other examiners, conducted experiments, read numerous textbooks pertaining to document examinations and prepared reports for review. Training log available upon request.

Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, CA

Tribal Police Officer

1989 to 1992
  • Responsible for providing enforcement of Federal, State and Tribal laws.
  • Responded to emergency calls such as traffic accidents, confrontations, altercations and disorderly conduct.
  • Maintained law and order within the patrol assigned areas.
  • Investigated traffic accidents involving property damage or personal injury, and incidents of burglary or vandalism.
  • Administered first aid when required that included the use of oxygen, CPR, and Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

United States Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, CA

1984 to 1988
  • Field Radio Operator assigned as Tactical Air Control (TACP) team member and Classified Materials Control Custodian (CMCC) for the Battalion.
  • Under the direction of the Battalion Commanding Officer and Executive Officer, was responsible for the security of all classified materials and information.
  • Received, safeguarded and distributed classified materials in support of Battalion Operations.
  • Performed Operational Security (OPSEC) inspections to include vulnerability assessments in which classified materials are kept and stored, ensured security clearances and communication security (COMSEC) training for individuals who have access to classified information, identified security violations and the compromise of classified information.
  • Reviewed and updated CMS Operating Procedures and Emergency Protocols to protect, remove, or destroy classified material in case of fire, natural disaster, civil disturbance, terrorist activities, or enemy action.
  • Ensured all personnel received instructions on how to properly handle classified materials pursuant to the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) directives.

Teaching Experience

  • Bethune-Cookman University 2016 to present
    (Regionally Accredited by the Southern Association present of Colleges and Schools)
    Adjunct Faculty Member, Criminal Justice Studies
    Instruct the program’s undergraduate Introduction to Forensic Science course using innovative technology designed and produced to maximize each student’s learning experience.
  • Colorado Technical University 2015 to 2016
    (Regionally Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
    Adjunct Faculty Member, Forensic Science Programs
    Instruct courses in Advanced Criminalistics, by providing quality instruction to students through well prepared classes and assignments.
  • National University 1999 to 2001
    (Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges)
    Adjunct Faculty Member, Criminal Justice/Forensic Science Programs
    Taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences to include Document Examinations, Forensic Anatomy and Physiology, Death Investigations, Forensic Anthropology: Identification of Human Remains, White Collar Crimes, Major Case Investigations and Criminal Justice Leadership.

Professional Credentials

  • Certified Biometrics Security Professional (CBSP)

Education

  • Masters in Forensic Science, College of Letters and Sciences, National University, San Diego, CA, 1993
  • Bachelors in Criminal Justice, Excelsior College, regionally accredited through the University of the State of New York (Courses completed during active military service), 1992

Specialized Training:

Law Enforcement:

  • New Agents Training, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA
  • San Diego Sheriff’s Academy, Class 82, (Basic POST), Chula Vista, CA
  • FBI Post Blast Course
  • FBI FCI/DT Training Courses
  • Defensive and Operational Tactics
  • Arrest and Control Procedures
  • Operational Planning
  • Operation of Witnesses and Informants
  • Physical and Electronic Surveillance
  • Undercover Operations
  • Development and Dissemination of Intelligence

Questioned Documents:

  • FBI Handwriting Identification School for FBI Examiners
  • FBI Typewriter Identification Training
  • FBI Printing Examination Training- Rochester Institute of Technology – Course for FBI Document Examiners
  • INS Course on counterfeit documents
  • During my questioned documents training phase in L.A. and in Washington D.C., I visited the following laboratories:
    • Naval Criminal Investigative Service – San Diego, CA.
    • U.S. Postal Crime Laboratory- San Bruno, CA.
    • United States Secret Service Forensic Laboratory – Wash. D.C.
    • Los Angeles Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory – Los Angeles, CA.
    • Los Angeles Police Department – Los Angeles, CA.

Military Training

  • USMC Communications and Electronics School, 29 Palms, CA
  • Tactical Air Control Party (TACP)
  • Jungle Warfare School, Ft. Sherman, Panama
  • Jungle Land Navigation Course, NTA, Okinawa
  • Jungle Environmental Survival Training (JEST), Subic Bay, Philippines
  • USMC Mountain Warfare School, Bridgeport, CA
  • Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare School, Camp Pendleton, CA

Additional Forensic Training

  • Introduction to Investigating Staged Homicides, Tritech Forensics Training, 2021
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences 73rd Annual Scientific Virtual Meeting,
  • February 15-19, 2021
  • International Association for Identification Educational Conference, San Antonio, Texas, July 29-August 4, 2018
  • Courtroom Testimony A Practical Approach Workshop
  • Using Gel Lifts for Footwear, Latent Print, and Indented Writing Evidence Workshop
  • Improving Your Image Workshop
  • Public Status Reports & Open Discussions, Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC), New Orleans, LA, February 2017
  • Seak Certificate of Completion, “How to Be an Effective Expert Witness”, Nashville, TN, 2015
  • Footwear Impression, Certificate Phase II, Sirchie Education and Training, Youngsville, NC, October 2015
  • Footwear Impression, Certificate Phase I, Sirchie Education and Training, Youngsville, NC, July 2015
  • NADE Annual Conference, March 2015
  • Applied Polarized Light Microscopy, McCrone Research Institute, August 2014
  • AAFS Annual Meeting (Past Member), Little Rock, AR, 1997
  • ASQDE Annual Meeting (Guest), Long Beach, CA, 1994
  • SWADFE Meeting (Guest), 1993
  • FBI Evidence Response Team /Rapid Deployment Team - in-house training

Memberships

  • The Chartered Society of Forensic Science
  • Member (Voting) - ASTM E-30 Forensic Science Committee
  • International Association for Identification (IAI)
  • Collaborative Testing Services (CTS) – ANAB Accredited – participate in annual proficiency testing in Questioned Documents
  • American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS)
  • International Biometrics and Identity Association-Member

Accomplishments

  • Founder of the Songer Institute in partnership with Sorenson Forensics and iLawVentures.
  • Created several notable academic programs with several institutions to include
    • La Sierra University and Marymount California University.
    • Established the first forensic science studies curriculum (CHED approved) for the Republic of the Philippines.
  • DOD- Certificate of Recognition, 2006
  • DOJ-FBI Certificate of Commendation, 2000
  • DOJ-FBI Certificate of Achievement, 1999
  • DOJ-FBI Performance Award, 1999

Publications

  • Songer, M., Forensic Document Examinations, OTLA Business Law Edition, 2017
  • Songer, Mark, Document Analysis: A Summary of Possibilities, American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Section, January 2017
  • Practical Applications in Forensic Science: Crime Ink Publishing, Coronado, CA (2nd Edition, 2015)

Related Resources

See All of Mark's Published Content

How Colorado Election Officials Verify Your Ballot Signatures - Expert Interview for NBC Denver

By Mark Songer
Expert Article

In addition to his work as a Forensic Document Examiner with Robson Forensic, Mark Songer also trains bipartisan election officials in Colorado on ballot signature verification. He explains in this…

The Hidden Science of Mail-In Voting - Expert Interview for PBS NOVA Now Podcast

By Mark Songer
Expert Article

Forensic Document Examiner, Mark Songer, was interviewed by Dr. Alok Patel for the PBS podcast NOVA Now, to discuss handwriting verification and the science applied to ensure the validity of ballots…

Document Authentication in Construction Disputes

By Mark Songer
Expert Article

In this article, Forensic Document Examiner, Mark Songer discusses the role of document examiners within the context of construction disputes. The article highlights examples of “cut and paste”…

Tiger King – Questioned Document Examination

Thursday, June 18, 2020
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Featuring Mark Songer
Webinar

In this webinar, Forensic Document Examiner and retired FBI agent, Mark Songer, will share the details of his analysis of documents in question regarding the death of Don Lewis, former husband of…