For people who work in corporate environments and for those who are regularly involved in high dollar transactions, falling into the crosshairs of a federal criminal investigation is surprisingly common.
While investigations do not always lead to criminal charges, it is important to recognize when you are being investigated and to take steps to protect yourself. Here are five signs you may be under investigation for a white collar criminal offense:
You Receive A Subpoena For Documents
If you are subpoenaed to turn over financial or business documents such as bank statements or accounts receivable, it means someone is being investigated. It might be you.
You Are Presented With A Search Warrant
If you are presented with a warrant to search your property and seize documents, computers, hard drives or other information, you or someone you deal with is likely the target of an investigation.
You Are Questioned By A Government Agency
Investigations are not always initiated by law enforcement. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Office of Inspector General are just three of the government agencies that may initiate investigations into fraud and other white collar crimes. These investigations may lead to criminal charges.
You Are Contacted By A Law Enforcement Agency
Law enforcement will not always tell you that you are being investigated. They may say they just want to ask you some questions. They may even tell you they want to help you. However, you may be under investigation and the things you say now can and will be used against you.
You Receive A Target Letter
Federal white collar crime cases like fraud are unique in that the federal prosecutor may actually send you a formal letter indicating you are the target of a criminal investigation. The letter will explain the allegations and request a meeting with you. Do not go into a meeting with a federal prosecutor alone.
Remember that you do not have to wait until you have been charged with a crime to hire a lawyer. In fact, the sooner you enlist an experienced lawyer, the more opportunities the lawyer may have to protect you and possibly prevent criminal charges from being filed at all.
At the law office of Phillip A. Linder in Dallas-Fort Worth, we encourage immediate intervention. We provide free consultations. If you have any reason to believe you are being investigated, we would be happy to talk to you about your options.