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Our Team

Our professionals bring more than 200 years of combined investigative experience to the table as we team with you to develop strategies that improve your position.

J.R. Skaggs, TCI

Founder, Owner, and Manager

J.R. has more than thirty years experience as a professional investigator. He began his career while working his way through college, initially serving as a part-time investigative apprentice. Afterwards, he served more than five years as an investigator and case manager for firms operated by former special agents of the FBI. He next formed Skaggs & Associates, Inc., an investigations company in Houston, in 1988. The firm has always been dedicated to the guiding principles of professionalism, discretion, and a high quality work product. Many of the firm’s first clients still utilize our services.

J.R. is additionally experienced in bank management, private security, and aviation, and is a licensed aircraft pilot. He holds Texas Department of Public Safety licensure as a private investigator, commissioned security officer, and personal protection officer.

A graduate of The University of Texas, he was conferred the degree of Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business, with specialized study of the Spanish language and Latin American affairs. He is a member of the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators (TALI) and the International Intelligence Network (Intellenet). J.R. is among a small handful of investigators holding the designation of Texas Certified Investigator (TCI). He is also an instructor of surveillance and undercover operations for the Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas.

Richard A. “Dick” Edwards

Director of International Operations

Dick is president & CEO of R.A. Edwards & Associates, Inc. He has over forty years of experience in federal law enforcement, corporate security and investigations.

Following graduation from Centre College of Kentucky, Dick served fifteen years as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where his involvement in a number of high profile investigations of regional and national significance resulted in receipt of numerous commendations from the FBI Director and from superiors.

Dick then served fifteen years in senior corporate security with Cooper Industries, a Houston based Fortune 500 company with worldwide operations, ultimately attaining the rank of Director of Corporate Security. While with Cooper, he carried out or directed hundreds of investigations, conducted site security surveys and threat assessments, coordinated executive protection and employee travel security, and provided litigation support. As director, he developed, implemented and enforced policy defining the security environment for the Company’s 130 manufacturing facilities and 40,000 employees.

In 2000 Edwards left Cooper to form R.A. Edwards & Associates and quickly established a reputation as an authority in international security consulting and investigations. His extensive experience includes management of investigations, executive protection assignments and physical security projects in North, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. He is a recognized authority in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program, having been acknowledged by U.S. Customs & Border Protection for implementation of best practices.

Dick’s professional affiliations include:

  • Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI
  • American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS)
  • ASIS Standing Committee on Workplace Substance Abuse & Drug Investigations – Former Chairman
  • Overseas Security Advisory Council – U.S. Department of State
  • National Drug Enforcement Officers Association – Charter Member/Corporate Advisory Committee
  • Texas Department of Public Safety – Licensed Private Investigator

Samuel J. Castorani

Director, Security Operations

Sam served twenty years as a U.S. Army intelligence officer, directing sensitive covert operations in the U.S., Europe, Korea, and Vietnam. Among his duties were physical security inspections of nuclear weapons storage facilities and security support of joint operations with the FBI, Department of State, and the Secret Service. He was director of security of a 28,000 member military installation.

Since leaving the government in 1982, he has been employed as a security consultant and private investigator, and is presently licensed in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

Sam holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Hampton University and has attended numerous U.S. government intelligence and security courses.

James H. Binford

Director, Major Crimes Investigations

Jim joined the firm as head of major crimes investigations and liaison to law enforcement following a distinguished career of more than thirty years as a detective with the Houston Police Department, where he supervised over 3000 homicide investigations.

Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and holds licensure as a private investigator and personal protection officer. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

John C. Beard, CPA, CFE

Director, Financial Investigations

John is an accountant with over 40 years of experience working for international companies in diverse industries. He is well known for his vision and leadership in global operations, finance, and business development, and is skilled in startups, mergers, acquisitions, and turnaround management. John started the Internal Audit function for three separate large corporations, and heads the firm’s financial investigations.

John holds the Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Louisiana State University and has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Texas since 1974. He is past president of Houston Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Internal Auditing at Louisiana State University. He is also a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). John is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

He appeared in the documentary “Smartest Guys in the Room,” a production detailing the rise and collapse of Enron, and has contributed a chapter on financial statement fraud to the recently published compilation Financial Statement Fraud Casebook: Baking the Ledgers and Cooking the Books, which was edited by Dr. Joseph Wells, founder of the ACFE.