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How Do You Know You’re Under Federal Investigation?

Here at our law firm, we have often received the question of how someone can know when they have come under a federal investigation. You have a couple of telltale signs that you might be under federal investigation and following these things can help you to understand if the federal government has chosen to investigate you.

What to Avoid When under Investigation?

If you discover that you are being investigated by the federal government, you have a couple of different things that you shouldn’t do to protect yourself. First, outside of speaking with your lawyer, you shouldn’t speak with other people about the investigation because they could later try to charge you with obstruction of justice as well. This happens if you try to tell them to remember it slightly differently from how it was or anything of this nature.

Second, you shouldn’t tell other people because law enforcement could subpoena them, which means that they would go and speak with them. Whatever you might have said to them could be used against you in the court of law. This can be harmful to your case. Never destroy any types of documents either because the government could find this out and use it against you. As the saying goes, in some cases, you’re better off leaving it as is because the coverup can get you into much worse trouble than if you had left it.

Knocking on the Door

In most cases, people learn that they have come under the eyes of a federal investigation when law enforcement begins pounding on their door and asks to speak with them. This becomes the most obvious way of telling. They will identify themselves as federal agents and request to speak with you. We don’t recommend that you speak with them in most cases. Beware, they will try to pressure you into speaking with them. They will go easy on you if you cooperate, but you don’t want to tell them things that could be used against you. You have to ask yourself, “Is the person looking out for my best interests or are they looking out for theirs?” In many cases, they’re looking out for their own and trying to build a case against you. You might be better off staying quiet in these cases because even lying to them could be used against you in the court of law. While they can lie to you, you can’t lie to them.

Subpoena Your Records

Let’s say that you own a business that the federal government has decided to investigate. To look deeper into it, they might subpoena your records. You have to especially exercise caution here because even if what they find could get you into trouble, you have to remember that in many cases, trying to cover it up can get you into more trouble than simply allowing them to see what is going on.

Have the Feds Chosen You for a Target Letter?

In some cases, the federal government will send out a target letter that lets you know that they’d like to speak with you about something. They will tell you that you have become the target of an investigation. In the letter, many times they will have an invite about getting you to come in and speak with the federal prosecutor about what happened. In these cases, our lawyers would highly advise against this. Why have they requested that you come in? They want to make their case easier against you. They don’t care that you’re cooperating with them. At the end of the day, the prosecutor will be the one who helps to send you to prison—these people are not your friends—so we highly advise that you speak with a lawyer first before agreeing to this letter and make sure that you won’t further incriminate yourself by speaking with them.

If you have come under the eyes of a federal investigation, we would highly advise that you speak with a lawyer well-versed in this field of law. You want to make sure that you don’t say anything to the feds that could incriminate yourself and make the case against you worse. You have a right called the fifth amendment which allows you to remain silent and not say anything that could be used against you in court.

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Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone

888-977-6335

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335