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How Do You Know You’re Under Federal Investigation?

October 6, 2021 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Federal investigators tend to be extremely covert. They often secretly monitor their targets for months at a time. The agents may use a variety of different techniques to obtain evidence. Not only are suspects placed under physical surveillance, but their online activity is monitored as well. Here are a few ways to know you’re under federal investigation.

Home Visit
If federal agents knock on your door, this is a clear indication you’re being investigated. They’ve probably already been watching you for quite some time. It’s important that you know how to handle the situation. The first step is to ask for their business cards.

Expect the officers to ask you some questions. The best approach is to remain quiet and politely decline their invitation to have a conversation. Don’t be afraid to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights. You’ll need to consult your defense attorney before making any statements. Remember, anything that is said can be used against you in court. Furthermore, never allow the FBI inside your home without a warrant. This could only increase your chances of facing criminal charges. Although the agents may seem cordial, they definitely don’t have your best interest in mind.

Your Door Gets Kicked Down
Unfortunately, a search warrant gives agents the right to enter your home. Whether you’re on the couch watching TV or taking a shower, they could kick down your door when you least expect it. They’ll be looking to obtain as much potential evidence as possible, so expect the premises to be rummaged through. There’s a chance your computers and other electronic devices could be seized. At this point, it is obvious you’re under federal investigation.

For most people, this is an extremely stressful situation. However, try to stay calm. It’s always a good idea to maintain your cool when dealing with law enforcement. This is especially true if any of your loved ones are also in the home. You don’t want to escalate things by acting confrontational.

You Receive a Subpoena
If you’re a business owner who’s under federal investigation, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually be served with a subpoena. This document may request that you submit certain business records and account statements. If you ignore the subpoena, you could be held in contempt of court.

However, never do give out any information without first consulting your lawyer. They’ll know exactly what to do. He or she may need to file a motion to quash the subpoena. The goal is to give you as much legal protection as possible.

Target Letter
During a federal investigation, you may receive a target letter. This is especially true for white-collar cases. The letter officially informs the suspect that they’re being targeted for criminal prosecution.

If you happen to receive a target letter, don’t panic. There’s still a chance that you won’t ever be indicted. The best approach is to reach out to your defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecutors to drop the investigation. They can also help you to obtain a favorable plea agreement before an indictment is made.

Office of Inspector General (OIG) Meeting
If you’re a federal employee who’s being investigated, you could be contacted by the Office of Inspector General. This federal agency investigates fraud and other alleged misconduct. An agent will likely call you in for an interview.

It’s important to realize what’s at stake. Not only could your job be on the line, but you may also face criminal prosecution. While you can’t be forced to answer any questions, your supervisor may discipline you for failing to do so. This is why you should never go into an OIG meeting without exercising your right to an attorney.

The Word On the Street
Before being contacted by the feds, you may hear about a potential investigation from someone else. A former business partner or colleague could give you a heads-up. They may have been recently contacted by law enforcement. When dealing with a federal investigation, nothing beats having advance notice.

Be sure to take the necessary precautions. Consulting with an experienced federal defense attorney should be a top priority.

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