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How to Respond when an OIG Agent Wants to Talk

November 6, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

When one is under federal investigation, an agent from the inspector general’s office might show up at your office or contact you requesting to talk. Often this can be very confusing and nerve-wracking. Under such instances, one should not panic. People often make bad decisions and say incriminating things when they are stressed. To avoid making such bad decisions, you should request the agent to schedule the meeting for the following day. The rescheduling will give you time to calm down and prepare yourself for questioning.

Agents from the office of the inspector general carry guns and badges. Therefore, one should consider if it is in one’s best interest to speak to these agents. However, sometimes you may not have a choice. The agents will give you a warning preceding the interview to let you know that you have to talk to them.

How OGI interviews work

During the interview, agents from the OGI cannot force you to answer any question. However, if you decide to answer their questions, you have to be truthful. Giving false answers can incriminate you during the trial. On the other hand, you should refuse to answer questions if you feel they might use the answers against you during criminal proceedings.
It is within your rights to hire an attorney if you feel hesitant to answer the agent’s questions truthfully. The attorney will help you understand the consequences of refusing to answer a question and the reactions of giving a truthful answer. Although OGI agents cannot force you to answer their questions, you might lose your federal employment.

Even though you are bound by law to tell the truth when speaking to the OGI agents, the agents are not. Therefore OGI agents might often lie and deceive you during the interview. The aim of their deception is usually to rattle, confuse, and scare you into a confession. The agents then use the information garnered to build up a criminal case against you.

In instances where you are not the subject of the investigation, it is advisable not to offer information that you are not sure about or that you cannot prove. You should also not provide information unless you are willing to testify against the accused in court.

Your obligations during an interview with OGI agents

During an interview with OGI agents, you are under obligation to cooperate with the agents. This obligation includes answering questions truthfully and providing any additional information that might be in your possession. However, this obligation does not deny you the privilege to hire an attorney. You must also give detailed answers to the agents to avoid appearing as if you are withholding information.

If an OGI agent makes contact requesting an interview, you are obligated to inform your employer, the management, and their attorneys. You are also obligated not to disclose information about the interview to anyone else, including other employees.

Your rights during an OGI interview

During an interview with OGI agents, there is nothing like off the record reveals or discussions, any information you provide the agents will use it against you later. The Fifth Amendment protects you from offering up such information. By pledging the Fifth Amendment, you lawfully decline to answer any incriminating question that the agents might throw your way.

You have the right to be accompanied by your attorney. You should never attend an interview with OGI agents alone because the agents might coax and abuse your rights, including the Fifth Amendment right, therefore forcing you to reveal incriminating information. Having your attorney accompany you to such interviews will prevent such occurrences. You have the right to confer with your attorney about the questions asked and how to answer them.

Cases that OGI agents investigate

Agents from the OGI investigate a variety of cases. These cases are;

  • Administration Improprieties.
  • Employee Misconduct.
  • Fraud.

Once you suspect to be under investigation from OGI agents, your first step should be to hire a defense lawyer with experience in such cases. Your lawyer will help you through the process and ensure that the agents do not infringe on your rights.

Once agents from the inspector’s office general reach out requesting an interview, you shouldn’t accept it before consulting with your attorney. Making the thoughtful decision of conferring with a lawyer will help you be one step ahead of the investigation. Remember that withholding information and destroying the evidence could lead to problems for you in the long run. Working with an experienced lawyer will not only help you come out of the investigation unscathed but might also prove very beneficial when battling criminal charges in court. That is why we at Spodek Law Group provide you with the best legal representation to guide you safely through your interview with OGI agents.

An OIG agent is an officer from the Office of the Inspector General tasked with investigating criminal, civil and administrative matter. This agent is mandated to carry a gun and a badge. You might find yourself in a situation where an OIG agent wants to talk to you. You should know that this is not uncommon and it doesn’t mean that you have committed any crime. They might just be looking to make some enquiries as part of their investigations. Despite this, you still need to be careful as a simple mistake might land you in the wrong side of the law. Here is how you need to respond when an OIG agent wants to talk to you:

Take a breath and relax

Most of the times, an OIG agent will call ahead if they want to talk to you and this will give you time to prepare yourself psychologically. In case the agent shows up at your door step or work place unannounced, it can be a quite complicated situation. You can feel your blood pressure going up or getting confused because of the panic that this surprise has put you in. You should not go ahead and converse with the agent in this state of panic as it can be disastrous for you. This is because you might not be able to think straight and you may say what you never intended and get in trouble.

The best response anytime an OIG agent shows up at your doorstep or office desk asking to talk to you is taking a minute or so to breath and relax. You can let your blood pressure get back to normal and compose your thoughts before going ahead to be talk to the agents. When you are calm enough you can go ahead to inquire what the agents want to talk about with you and why.

Weigh your options

An OIG agent will inform you what they want to talk to you about and why. Once you understand this, it’s time to weigh your options. Weigh what the implications of what you say might be to you. If you deem that you will not get into trouble because of your answers you can go ahead and have conversation with the agent. You can answer only what you are willing and it’s not a must you answer all the questions. You should keep in mind that the agent standing in front of you makes their living by making cases and putting people behind bars. They do not in any way have your best interests at heart. In any case as you make your decision, you must weigh your options in relation to what is in the best interest to you. The agents may come to you nicely and be compelling in asking you to talk to them but you should only look out for yourself. If you have doubts about the implications of your answers, you can ask for your attorney to be present before you have the talk. For more information on this subject, click here.

Hire an attorney

When it comes to hiring a lawyer, most people who land in trouble usually do because of arrogance. No matter how good you are at researching matters on law, hiring a lawyer is very important for any encounter with a law enforcement officer. When an OIG agent comes to talk with you, it’s not just always about you committing a crime. They might be looking for you to ask you to testify or offer assistance. Even in this type of situation, having a lawyer is critical. You don’t know about the future so its best that you prepare for the worst as you hope for the best. Hiring an attorney is your best shot at this. This is because it might turn out that the case is very sensitive and you need witness protection. A lawyer will be of great help in helping you get the best deal in such a situation. For more information on whether to hire a lawyer in this situation, click here.

Don’t lie to the agent

If an OIG agent shows up at your doorstep or workplace, you might know the reason they are there. Maybe you already know you are part of a federal investigation. It is in your best interest whether you are part of the group being investigated or just being asked as a witness, not to lie. Lying to a federal agent during an investigation is a crime punishable by jailtime. You might find yourself in jail not because of the crimes that were being investigated by lying. Rather than lie, you will be much better refusing to answer the questions and asking for your lawyer. For more information on what to avoid if there is an investigation, click here.



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