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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

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The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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OIG Agent Warnings and Federal Employees

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 07:47 am


OIG Agent Warnings and Federal Employees

Dealing with an OIG investigation can be super stressful for federal employees. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is like an internal watchdog that investigates misconduct, waste, fraud and abuse within federal agencies. If an OIG agent wants to interview you, it’s important to understand your rights and the different types of warnings they might give you. This article will break it down in simple terms so you know how to handle an OIG interview.

What is the OIG?

Every federal agency has an OIG office. They are independent and report directly to the agency head or Congress – not the agency management. The OIG’s job is to:

Audit programs and operations looking for waste or mismanagment
Investigate allegations of misconduct, ethical violations or criminal activity
Prevent and detect fraud in agency activities and programs
Review legislation and regulations and make recommendations
Educate employees about fraud prevention and detection

OIG has its own criminal investigators, auditors, inspectors, attorneys and other staff. They have the authority to carry firearms, make arrests, and execute search warrants if needed for their investigations.

Why Would the OIG Investigate a Federal Employee?

There are many reasons the OIG might start poking around your agency and requesting interviews. Here are some common triggers for an OIG investigation:

  • Suspected ethical violations or misconduct
  • Criminal activity like bribery, extortion, embezzlement
  • Misuse of government credit cards or equipment
  • Time card fraud or fudging your hours
  • Misuse of agency resources or personnel
  • Contract or grant fraud
  • Threats against agency leadership or coworkers
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Whistleblower complaints

OIG Interview Warnings

When the OIG wants to interview a federal employee, they have to let you know your rights upfront. There are two main types of warnings they might give you:

Garrity Warning

A Garrity warning is used when the OIG interview could uncover both criminal and administrative violations. It lets you know:

Your cooperation is completely voluntary
You can refuse to answer any questions
Nothing you say can be used against you in criminal proceedings
You cannot be disciplined just for refusing to answer

So if you get a Garrity warning, you can freely walk away from the interview without getting in trouble. But if you do choose to answer questions, what you say could potentially be used against you in administrative or civil actions.

Kalkines Warning

A Kalkines warning is given when the OIG interview is focused on administrative or personnel issues. It requires you to cooperate with the investigation. If you refuse to answer questions after a Kalkines warning, you could face disciplinary action like demotion or termination. But in exchange for cooperating, nothing you say during the interview can be used against you criminally.

The Kalkines warning also promises that you won’t be disciplined for invoking your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. So if answering a specific question would implicate you in a crime, you can refuse to answer just that question without punishment.

What Should You Do?

If an OIG agent contacts you to request an interview, here are some tips:

  • Ask for the interview request in writing
  • Ask if you are the target of an investigation
  • Ask for details about the allegations against you
  • Hire an experienced federal employment attorney BEFORE the interview
  • Discuss with your lawyer whether to consent or decline the interview
  • If you agree to be interviewed, have your lawyer present
  • Be truthful in your answers
  • Stick to facts and avoid speculation
  • Review your answers carefully if asked to sign a written statement

Having a knowledgeable attorney to represent you can make all the difference. They will ensure you understand your rights, review any documents in advance, sit in on the interview, object to inappropriate questions, and give advice if you aren’t sure how to respond.

The bottom line is – never agree to an OIG interview without consulting an attorney first. The risks are too high if you go it alone. Don’t be intimidated into answering questions on the spot. You have rights!


[1] Rights of Federal Employees to Contact OIG – HUD OIG website [2] Inspector General Investigations: Know Your Rights – Employment Law Federal blog [3] Inspector General and OPR Investigations – Employment Law Federal website [4] Federal Employees Need to be Aware of These Warnings During an OIG Interview – The Health Law Firm blog [5] Office of Inspector General (OIG) Warnings – NAPS PDF document [6] Office of Investigations – OPM OIG website

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