Will I Know If I Am Under Investigation for a White-Collar Crime?

October 4, 2016
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What You Should Know About White-Collar Crime Investigations

We’ve previously discussed what to do while under federal investigation, however, now we will delve into how you can know whether or not you’re under investigation for a white-collar crime.white-collar crimeOne of the unique aspects of white-collar crime is that the suspect is often aware that he or she is under investigation before being charged with a crime. In many cases, the prosecutor will use a grand jury to investigate and gather information.

Signs You May Be the Target of a White-Collar Crime Investigation

If one or more of the following federal agencies has contacted you, you may be the target of a white-collar crime investigation:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • United States Treasury
  • United States Postal Service
  • S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

white-collar crime

Other Signs to Look Out For

In addition to being contacted by one of the agencies listed above, you may be the target of a grand jury investigation if you experience one of the following:

  • You are contacted by an agent of a similar state agency.
  • You receive a grand jury subpoena to produce business records.
  • You are presented with a search warrant to seize business documents.
  • You learn from third parties that they have been served with subpoenas or been interviewed by a state or federal agency.

What to Do If You Receive a Target Letter

In most cases, subjects of a white-collar investigation will receive a target letter informing them that they are under investigation by a grand jury. Federal prosecutors are not required to issue target letters, but it is the general policy of the Department of Justice to do so. Cases where notification may not be provided include routine clear cases or cases where such action might jeopardize the investigation because of the likelihood of flight, the risk for destruction of evidence, or similar concerns.

In a target letter, the United States Attorney’s office informs the recipient that he or she is the target of a federal investigation and will be called to testify in front of a grand jury. The letter broadly states nature of the illegal activity being investigated and advises the target of his or her rights, including the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The letter also warns the recipient that the destruction or alteration of any document required to be produced before the grand jury is a violation of federal law.white-collar crimeIt is imperative to contact an experienced white-collar defense lawyer as soon you suspect you may be the target of an investigation and certainly before meeting with state or federal law enforcement agents. We have seen many cases where the defendant damaged his or her case by saying or doing something in the early stages of an investigation. In some cases, an attorney may be able to prevent criminal charges from ever being filed.

Do you believe you might be under investigation for a white-collar crime? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, Robert Levy, at 201-806-3364.