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Targets, Subjects, And Witnesses In Federal Investigations

Federal Criminal Investigations: Understanding Targets, Witnesses, and Subjects

Federal criminal investigations are often quite challenging to sort through. Identifying such crimes, in addition to those who might have committed these acts, often necessitates prosecutors travel down all possible avenues.

The Role of Targets, Witnesses, and Subjects

Many individuals may prove part and parcel to these proceedings. Said persons are often differentiated into three categories, targets, witnesses, and subjects. Each possesses varying degrees of involvement but could play critical roles in the cessation of illegal acts the conviction of guilty parties.


Prosecutors often view targets as potential suspects. In numerous instances, government attorneys possess discernible evidence pointing to a target’s involvement in the crime under investigation. In fact, prosecutors might be so sure of a target’s role in a given offense that they might be on the verge of levying charges against them.

The government will notify someone they have been named a target in one of the following ways:

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.
  • Target Letter: Sometimes, prosecutors will remit said individuals official government documents called Target Letters. These correspondences will contain important information including the acts the individual in question is suspected of being involved in and an invitation to discuss the matter with prosecutors.
  • Search Warrants: Federal authorities might obtain court-approved permission to search the person of interest’s home or business. This official documentation is known as a search warrant.


Witnesses are individuals thought to possess pertinent information about some type of federal crime. For example, they might have viewed an one committing a specific offense or have access to crucial evidence. Typically, witnesses are not considered hostile but potentially useful to furthering the investigation.


Prosecutors view subjects as those who have likely perpetrated a criminal act or possess significant information about the offense under investigation. However, unlike targets, they are not immediate persons of interest.

The Importance Of Hiring An Attorney

Anyone placed into one of these categories is encouraged to promptly seek legal representation. That said, such individuals should only retain an experienced federal criminal lawyer’s services. These professionals understand the many nuances of federal cases.

Those named targets are often in significant trouble necessitating a federal defense attorney’s immediate intervention. As previously stated, targets are major persons of interest the government has abundant evidence against and will likely press charges.

However, astute legal representation will, first and foremost, prevent their client from incriminating themselves. Moreover, talented federal defense attorneys might also be able to work out some type of deal with prosecutors.

As a case in point, the defense team could convince their client to turn from target to witness. Prosecutors might agree to such terms if the targeted individual possesses significant and irrefutable evidence. Under such circumstances, the target might be offered immunity, granting them protection against further prosecution or be guaranteed less severe penalties.

Though witnesses will not likely face any type of legal repercussions, they should retain a federal defense lawyer’s services. As a case progresses, a witness’s involvement could prove more valuable.

Therefore, representation by an experienced criminal attorney will help shepherd them through a stressful and often confusing process and prevent them from engaging in any actions that could harm themselves or the proceedings.

Subjects typically have checkered histories and might possess some involvement in the specific federal case under investigation. That said, it is crucial to reiterate that, unlike targets, they are not the primary suspects.

However, such persons are urged to retain legal representation. Prosecutors are usually well-informed of a subject’s past and potential involvement in the pending case and might not hesitate to slap federal charges on uncooperative subjects.

Well-rounded defense attorneys will keep a prosecutor’s attention off the subject. Said legal minds might also be able to encourage their client to cooperate, which could inspire prosecutors to forget about their involvement in the federal case or other offenses they may have committed.

Contacting Spodek Law Firm

Involvement is a federal criminal investigation can be an overwhelming experience. That said, the actions one facing such events takes could have a significant bearing on their future. Therefore, anyone charged with a federal crime or has been classified as a target, witness, or subject in such proceedings should consult with the Spodek Law Firm as soon as possible.

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