Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 07:47 am
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.
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.
There are many reasons the OIG might start poking around your agency and requesting interviews. Here are some common triggers for an OIG investigation:
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:
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.
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.
If an OIG agent contacts you to request an interview, here are some tips:
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!
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