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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.

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What to Do First If You Get A Federal Target Letter

The Investigation

One or more of several government agencies may investigate the crime in question. These include the following:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • The job of ICE is to protect American citizens from foreign criminals and illegal immigrants.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • The FBI protects American citizens from terrorist attacks and foreign intelligence threats.
  • The best thing to do first after receiving a target letter is hire a criminal defense attorney so that your attorney can get started on your defense immediately.

Do you respond to the target letter?

Whenever you receive a target letter, there is without a doubt something that the prosecutor won’t you to do. The letter might be asking you to present yourself for a meeting with the team investigating the matter you are associated with. Others will ask you to present yourself before a grand jury to give a testimony. Some target letters will ask you to hire the services of a lawyer who will then contact the prosecutor. Regardless of the request contained in the target letter, the prudent decision to make is to hire a lawyer who will, in turn, contact the prosecutor on your behalf. Do not attempt it call the prosecutor by yourself since you might not understand the legal implication of your actions. The prosecutor can use such an opportunity to corner you into a position that will negatively affect your defense.

A target

In any case of a federal criminal investigation, the people involved are classified into three categories namely subject, witness and target. If you are identified as a target, it means that the investigators are looking into your conduct. The investigating agency considers you as the person responsible for the crime committed. If you are a subject, it means that the federal agents have identified you with the crime committed, but they need you to provide information that they believe you might possess, but that does not necessarily mean that you are to be prosecuted. Clearly, you do not want to be a target since you are likely to be the one facing charges in a court of law.

What will happen?

When the government sends you a target letter, it might be asking you to join them at the negotiating table so that you can take a plea and avoid a situation where you will be formally indicted. In this case, the prosecutor will provide some information but not as much as what would happen in a court of law. At this stage, you and your lawyer should consider the information that the government has and what is likely to happen if the case goes to trial. In case you take the plea, chances are that the government will not press charges in court.

If the government has no intentions of prosecuting you, your lawyers will liaise with the prosecutor and later with you with the aim of making a presentation and why the prosecution should not initiate charges against you. It is the role of the lawyer to cushion the client from the prosecution at the earliest possible stage. It is therefore important to get a qualified lawyer who understands these issues.

The fact that you have received a target letter does not mean that you’ll ever be prosecuted. You can receive it yet nothing will ever happen to you. Maybe the prosecutor was reassigned to another case or retired.

Don’t Ignore Federal Target Letters

When a “target letter” arrives, whether in the mail, attached to a subpoena, or delivered by a federal agent, the recipient is faced with a crucial decision. They can choose to ignore the letter, wait for a grand jury indictment, and mount a vigorous criminal defense against the charges. However, there are several compelling reasons why a “target” may choose to cooperate with the federal government instead.

Firstly, by cooperating with the government and providing evidence of the overall conspiracy or criminal activity, a “target” can present their own conduct in a more favorable light and potentially earn a more sympathetic view from the government.

Secondly, by cooperating with the government, a “target” can negotiate a more favorable plea deal. Federal prosecutors may be open to negotiating a plea deal if it will lead to bigger things in the investigation and grand jury proceedings.

It is essential that anyone who receives a target letter from a federal prosecutor seek the guidance of experienced federal criminal defense counsel as soon as possible. The defense lawyer should thoroughly investigate the underlying circumstances of the case and the prosecution’s goals before beginning any proffer negotiations.

For instance, if my client is among the first group of cooperators in the conspiracy, they stand to gain much more from their cooperation than someone else who fails to hire a lawyer and seize this opportunity.

Another defense consideration is that the cooperating “target” can continue to cooperate as the conspiracy case goes to court, resulting in a downward departure USSG 5k1.1 Motion filed under seal by the AUSA. This can result in a sentence below a statutorily required minimum sentence.

Finally, cooperation can be particularly important in certain types of federal criminal prosecutions. For instance, cooperation in a drug case with a mandatory minimum established under the law can also help the defendant receive a sentence below that minimum sentence through statutory guidance given to the judge when imposing sentence under 18 U.S.C. 3553(f). In short, cooperating with the government after receiving a target letter can be a wise move for the defendant, offering potential benefits such as a more favorable plea deal, a more sympathetic view from the government, and a downward departure in sentencing.

It’s crucial to seek qualified criminal defense counsel as soon as you receive a target letter, as they can help you determine the best course of action in responding to a request for an interview or subpoena to testify before a grand jury. The stakes are high, and the clock is ticking – it’s essential to act quickly and strategically to protect yourself and your rights.

What to Do if You Receive a Target Letter From the Federal Government

When the government is investigating an individual, they may choose to inform them of their status as a target by sending a target letter. This letter is a written document that informs the recipient that they need to take specific actions, such as testifying before a grand jury or meeting with an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

A target letter is a serious indication that a federal agent believes the recipient has committed a crime and is now the target of an investigation. It is important to note that receiving a target letter does not mean that the individual is being charged or arrested. However, it is often an indication that charges may soon be filed against them.

Target letters can be sent out at various stages of an ongoing investigation. Sometimes, they are a formality and the target is already aware of the potential charges they are facing. Other times, a target letter is the first indication that charges may be filed against them.

Target letters are sent by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Department of Justice or agencies related to the conduct being investigated. They typically include important information such as the nature of the alleged crime, the federal statutes that were violated, the constitutional rights of the recipient, and any important deadlines or dates the recipient must be aware of.

If you receive a target letter, it is crucial that you take immediate action. You should reach out to a criminal defense attorney, write down any important dates and information from the letter, avoid panicking and destroying potential evidence, and avoid discussing your case with anyone except your attorney. It is also important to ask any questions you may have and rely on your attorney’s guidance.

It is important to note that prosecutors have many options at their disposal when informing someone of an ongoing investigation, including sending a federal subpoena, sending federal agents to interview the target, executing a search warrant, or arresting someone without warning. However, receiving a target letter may indicate that the government would prefer for the individual to cooperate by coming in with their attorney.

What to Do if You Receive a Target Letter From the Federal Government

When it comes to informing individuals that they are the target of a federal investigation, the government has several options at their disposal, one of which is sending a target letter. A target letter is a written document that notifies the recipient that they need to perform an action, such as testifying before a grand jury or meeting with an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

As its name suggests, a target letter lets the recipient know that a federal agent has reason to believe that he or she has committed a crime and is therefore the target of an investigation. It’s important to note that receiving a target letter does not mean that you are being charged with anything or under arrest, but it often serves as an indication that the government will likely follow up with civil or criminal charges.

Target letters can be sent out at various stages of an ongoing investigation. Sometimes, they’re a formality and the target is already aware of the potential charges they are facing. Other times, a target letter is the very first indication that someone has that charges may soon be filed against them.

Target letters are sent by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Department of Justice (DOJ) or an agency related to the conduct being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices. They typically include information about the nature of the alleged crime, the federal statutes that were violated, the recipient’s constitutional rights, and important deadlines or dates to be aware of.

Upon receiving a target letter, it is crucial to take it very seriously, as it signifies that you may soon be facing civil or criminal charges. You should immediately reach out to a criminal defense attorney, take note of important dates and information, avoid panicking and destroying potential evidence, refrain from speaking about the case to anyone other than your attorney, and ask any questions you may have. It is important to remember that prosecutors have many options at their disposal, including sending a federal subpoena, sending federal agents to interview the target, executing a search warrant, or arresting someone without warning. If you receive a target letter, this could mean that the government would prefer for you to come in, with your attorney, and cooperate.

Federal Target Letters

Being the target of a federal investigation is a serious matter that can have far-reaching consequences for your life and career. As the government has substantial evidence linking you to a crime, and has focused its investigation on you, it is important to understand the gravity of the situation and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

When faced with a federal investigation, it is crucial to retain the services of a skilled and experienced federal defense attorney. They will review the target letter with you and provide guidance on the best course of action, including coaching and preparation for appearances in front of a grand jury, instructions on how to avoid impeding the investigation, and advice on how to communicate about the case with outsiders.

It is also important to remember that the prosecutor may have already decided to indict you and sent the target letter as a means of securing a guilty plea. In these cases, if a plea bargain cannot be reached, the case will likely go to trial. Your attorney’s advice can be invaluable in estimating your chances of a successful resolution if the case goes to trial.

While it may be tempting to try and speak to investigators or the prosecutor directly, it is important to remember that they are not your friends and any information you share with them can be used against you later. It is also important to remember that it is your constitutional right to speak with an attorney first before speaking with investigators.

Additionally, it is important to avoid fleeing and destroying evidence as both actions can result in additional criminal charges. The federal criminal justice system is complex and navigating it can be a daunting task. Your attorney will keep you informed throughout the process and help ease the stress of this anxious time.

Federal target letters are a reality for many individuals and businesses under investigation by the government. The mere receipt of such a letter can send shockwaves through an individual’s life and cause immense stress and anxiety. However, understanding the significance of a federal target letter and knowing how to respond can make all the difference in the outcome of an investigation.

When the government sends a federal target letter, it is a clear indication that there is substantial evidence linking the recipient to a crime. The individual or business is now considered a “target” of the investigation and the government’s focus is on building a case against them. This can mean that the prosecutor has already decided to indict and is seeking a guilty plea.

The first step in responding to a federal target letter is to retain the services of a skilled and experienced federal defense attorney. They will review the letter and provide guidance on the best course of action. This can include coaching and preparation for appearances in front of a grand jury, instructions on how to avoid impeding the investigation, and advice on how to communicate about the case with outsiders.

It is also important to remember that the prosecutor may have already decided to indict you and sent the target letter as a means of securing a guilty plea. In these cases, if a plea bargain cannot be reached, the case will likely go to trial. Your attorney’s advice can be invaluable in estimating your chances of a successful resolution if the case goes to trial.

It is important to remember that the federal criminal justice system is complex and navigating it can be a daunting task. Your attorney will keep you informed throughout the process and help ease the stress of this anxious time.

It is also crucial to avoid any actions that could further complicate your situation, such as fleeing or destroying evidence. Both of these actions can result in additional criminal charges and can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

Receiving a federal target letter can be a life-altering experience, but it is important to remember that it is not the end. With the guidance of a skilled and experienced federal defense attorney, it is possible to navigate the complexities of the federal criminal justice system and achieve a successful resolution. It is crucial to act quickly and make informed decisions to protect yourself and your interests.

DOJ Target Letters

Target letters from the Department of Justice (DOJ) are a harsh reality for many individuals and businesses under investigation. They signify that the government has substantial evidence linking the recipient to a crime and that they are now considered a “target” of the investigation. The mere receipt of such a letter can send shockwaves through an individual’s life and cause immense stress and anxiety. However, understanding the significance of a target letter from the DOJ and knowing how to respond can make all the difference in the outcome of an investigation.

When the DOJ sends a target letter, it is a clear indication that the government is building a case against the recipient and that they are now at the center of the investigation. This can mean that the prosecutor has already decided to indict and is seeking a guilty plea. It is a critical moment that requires immediate action to protect oneself and one’s interests.

The first step in responding to a target letter from the DOJ is to retain the services of a skilled and experienced attorney who specializes in federal defense. They will review the letter and provide guidance on the best course of action. This can include coaching and preparation for appearances in front of a grand jury, instructions on how to avoid impeding the investigation, and advice on how to communicate about the case with outsiders.

It is also important to remember that the prosecutor may have already decided to indict you and sent the target letter as a means of securing a guilty plea. In these cases, if a plea bargain cannot be reached, the case will likely go to trial. Your attorney’s advice can be invaluable in estimating your chances of a successful resolution if the case goes to trial.

Navigating the federal criminal justice system can be a daunting task, but with the guidance of a skilled and experienced attorney, it is possible to achieve a successful resolution. It is crucial to act quickly and make informed decisions to protect yourself and your interests.

It is also crucial to avoid any actions that could further complicate your situation, such as fleeing or destroying evidence. Both of these actions can result in additional criminal charges and can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

Target letters from the DOJ are a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. They signify that the government has substantial evidence linking the recipient to a crime, and that they are now at the center of the investigation. It is essential to take immediate action, retain the services of a skilled and experienced attorney, and make informed decisions to protect yourself and your interests.

What are target letters?

A target letter is a powerful instrument wielded by the federal government, one that sends a clear message to individuals that they are the focus of a criminal prosecution. It is the moment when the federal prosecutor believes that the recipient has committed a crime, and it marks the start of a potentially life-altering journey.

The letter may come as a surprise, delivered unexpectedly after federal agents have attempted to interview you or seemingly out of nowhere. It is often the first indication that an individual is under investigation and is frequently used in white collar cases. The United States Attorney’s Manual defines a “target” as a putative defendant against whom there is substantial evidence.

The target letter notifies the recipient of their status as a target in a federal grand jury investigation, the crime or crimes they are suspected of committing, and their right to assert the Fifth Amendment. It also provides information for obtaining court-appointed counsel and sometimes includes a caution against destroying any evidence, as it may constitute obstruction of justice. Additionally, it may encourage the recipient to reach out to the prosecutor to discuss the matter.

These letters generally follow a similar format, whether it is an FBI target letter or one from another agency. You can see a sample of a target letter on the Department of Justice website.

But receiving a target letter does not guarantee an indictment. Prosecutors are not always able to gather sufficient evidence to indict their targets. An experienced white collar crimes attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor to close an investigation or reclassify the target as a witness. The specific facts of your case will determine whether this is possible. To learn more about the difference between targets, subjects, and witnesses, read our blog post “Targets, Subjects and Witnesses in Federal Criminal Investigation.”

In most circumstances, the government is not required to issue target letters. In fact, they are less common than you might think. The government does not want targets to know their status for fear they might obstruct justice or flee. Most people the federal government indicts never receive target letters.

DOJ Target Letters

Receiving a target letter can be a daunting and stressful experience, as it communicates the prosecutor’s decision to focus on you in a criminal investigation. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

One of the most important things you can do is to hire a skilled federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney may be able to persuade prosecutors to drop the investigation against you, or negotiate a favorable pre-indictment plea agreement. Additionally, an attorney can provide guidance on what not to do after receiving a target letter, as certain actions can make your situation worse.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there is no set time limit for when the government must indict you after giving you a target letter. Investigations can sometimes drag on for years, so it’s important to be patient and not act impulsively.

Additionally, it is advisable not to talk to the government agents investigating you or other people connected to the investigation without the guidance and protection of your attorney. Your statements or actions can be used against you, and it’s best to communicate with the government through your attorney, who can advise on the best course of action.

In a nutshell, receiving a target letter is a serious matter that requires legal representation and a strategic approach. It’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced federal defense lawyer to protect your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

References:

  1. “What Is a Federal Target Letter?” National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, www.nacdl.org/experienced-attorney/what-is-a-federal-target-letter/.
  2. “How to Respond to a Federal Target Letter.” H. Michael Stein

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