Being subjected to a white-collar criminal investigation can be a very stressful time to say the least. You’re probably feeling afraid, confused, and might not know where to turn for help. While the easy answer is to immediately consult with a white-collar criminal attorney, you probably have many questions that you’d like answered first. The investigation process differs slightly than most cases you may be familiar with in a state court. This article will address the investigations process and how it works. It will also cover what you should and shouldn’t do once you discover that you’ve been the target of a federal white-collar criminal investigation.
There are many ways you may find out that you’re under investigation or will be under investigation by the feds. None of them are pleasant nor will they make you feel at ease. There’s five different ways that you’ll find out that you’re the target of a federal investigation. Typically, only one method is utilized for each matter or investigation.
A target letter is a document that you’d receive in the mail from an Assistant United States Attorney that will tell you that you’re currently under investigation. The letter will provide some information; however, it should always be referred to an attorney for further analysis.
This is a common request in white collar criminal matters. You’ll be asked to turn over documents to the federal grand jury. If you receive this notification, it’s imperative that you get in touch with a skilled federal white-collar criminal attorney at once for directions on how to handle the matter.
If federal agents show up at your home with a search warrant, you’ll be required to comply with their demands. This is a rather unpleasant method of investigation that’s typically conducted at an incredibly inconvenient early morning hour when they’re aware that they’ll have the chance of catching you at home.
Occasionally, a federal agent will attempt to reach you at home and speak to you regarding the matter. They may leave a response card or other form of communication that instructs you how to reach them if they’re unsuccessful in their attempt(s) to catch you at home. This communication will typically come from the agency that’s involved in investigating the crime.
You may find out through the “grapevine” that you’re under investigation. This is perhaps the most embarrassing method of communication possible. This can occur if these contacts are reached prior to the governmental agency reaching you. It’s important to avoid discussing these matters with anyone. This can lead to very unpleasant outcomes if the information is shared with anyone else, which is incredibly likely, even with the most trusted people.
There’re several things to avoid doing during an investigation that could potentially destroy your case. As previously mentioned, do not discuss the case with anyone else. Not even the most trusted of friends or family members should be confided in during this time. The reason for this is that if they have information that the government may feel helpful, chances are that they’ll be subpoenaed. This could even lead to obstruction of justice charges if you’ve shared too much. It’s simply just to avoid the topic altogether.
Destroying documents that you feel may incriminate you is also a very bad idea that could also destroy your case. Chances are that the government already has some inclination that they exist or expects to uncover the information through their investigation. Again, this could also lead to obstruction of justice charges. This includes any electronic files, emails, or anything else that will or could be included in the case.
If you’ve spoken with federal investigators or other agents, it’s important that you’re thoroughly honest. Misrepresentations and half-truths are typically uncovered by federal investigators. They’re trained to spot inconsistencies and know exactly what to look for with white collar crimes. If you’re concerned about what you’ve done or how it may appear, chances are you didn’t invent the crime. Chances are they’ve heard or seen it before. Lying to an investigator is never advised.
Our team of attorneys are skilled in handling federal white-collar criminal matters. We’ve successfully defended many cases of the same nature. Get in touch with us so we can review your case and devise a workable strategy for you, today.
While many people can agree what does and what doesn’t classify as white collar crime, there isn’t one definition for what white collar crime is. Various organizations often have their own definition of what classifies as “white collar”.
According to the FBI, white collar crime must meet three criteria:
Though this definition covers a wide array of offenses, the majority of most prosecutions for white collar crime are for different types of business-related crimes that don’t often involve any physical force or violence. Most white collar crimes are motivated by a desire to increase one’s business assets and obtain financial gain.
Most white collar criminal investigations are conducted by the FBI, the SEC, the U.S. Treasury, or the IRS. Sometimes, these cases involve multiple agencies. Even if there is an ongoing investigation, you may not be suspected of committing the crime. In some cases, your business could be investigated simply because it came up as part of an ongoing trial.
You may also be under investigation for the following reasons:
While all of the above don’t indicate that you are under investigation, it is important for you to hire a lawyer nonetheless.
If you’ve been accused of committing a white collar crime, it is important that you contact an attorney. While there are many ways to define white collar crime, there are only a few defenses that an attorney can use to ensure that you aren’t convicted, all of which include:
Depending on the type of white collar crime and any previous criminal history, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a lighter sentencing.
White collar crimes that are tried in Federal court carry with them serious consequences. If you’re convicted of a white collar crime, you may face the following penalties:
As soon as you know that you are under investigation for white collar crime, you should retain a Federal criminal attorney. If you hope to protect yourself, as well as your assets, you need to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
White collar crimes can be confusing, but it typically refers to crimes that are not related to drugs, gun possession charges, and violent offenses. A few types of white collar offenses include public corruption and fraud.
With white collar charges, there are three factors that should be considered that include when the accused will get the opportunity to talk, if the accused should talk to police officials, and if an individual should go to trial. Common white collar cases include:
What is the Procedure for White Collar Cases?
There are three phases to a federal criminal case, which include pretrial, plea or trial, and sentencing.
During pretrial, an individual will be charged, and it will be decided if he or she will be put in jail or released. If released, the conditions of the release must be established during this time. Furthermore, the Assistant United States Attorney has the burden of providing evidence regarding the accusations against you at this time. Pretrial motions will also be filed that typically involve dismissal motions, and the defense can file motions to have certain evidence thrown out.
Plea or Trial
During this time, an individual may enter a guilty plea. Those who enter a guilty plea will be sentenced. There are other defendants who decide to take the case to trial. If an individual is found guilty, the case will move to sentencing. There are several questions that a white collar criminal defense attorney can answer, which include:
Possible Defenses to a White Collar Criminal Case
White collar charges should always be taken seriously. With most cases, prosecuting attorneys will attempt to have those who are convicted of white collar offenses sent to prison. One factor that influences a white collar charge is if the accused had intent. There are instances where an individual made a mistake, and some individuals can prove that they had no personal benefit in their actions.
Another defense that can be used is entrapment. This happens when a government official influences an individual to engage in criminal activity that he or she would not have otherwise took participated in.
Duress is another defense that can be used to fight a white collar criminal charge. There are cases that involve another individual threatening the accused with bodily harm if he or she did not participate in the criminal activity.
What are the Penalties for White Collar Criminal Convictions?
If convicted of a white collar crime, penalties may include:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that white collar crimes cost the US more than $300 billion each year. While the government typically charges individuals for white collar crimes, corporations can be charged with these crimes as well, which is why it is imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. The penalties for white collar crime may be reduced when the accused takes responsibility for their offense.
Why do You Need a White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney?
An experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected if you are facing a white collar criminal charge. It is also important to get an attorney as soon as you can because he or she can provide you with specific guidance regarding white collar offenses.