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What to do if you are under investigation for a white-collar crime

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | White Collar Crimes |

Prosecutors trying to make a case for an assault charge or a robbery might only require a little bit of forensic evidence or security camera footage to prove their case. A white-collar criminal offense like money laundering or wire fraud is far more difficult to conclusively prove in criminal court.

The investigation process could take well more than a year, and the subjects of that investigation may find themselves either facing charges or eventually exonerated. Many complicated white-collar criminal cases involve federal prosecution, especially if the accusations involve the internet, the postal service or the banking system.

Finding out from a neighbor or someone who works at the same company that investigators have started poking around is a frightening experience. How should a professional facing prospective white-collar criminal charges respond to news of an investigation?

Get help before things get out of hand

One of the most common responses people have to a federal investigation is to ignore the process and go on with their lives as though nothing happened. People tell themselves that they’ll know if the situation becomes more serious and they need to take action, but they may then end up blindsided when they get arrested trying to leave the office one day.

Investigators will look for anything that could lead to a case against a suspect, and a subject’s best means of protecting themselves will involve bringing in professional help. An attorney can be present when they talk with investigators. The lawyer can teach the suspect about their rights and help them better assert those rights.

Take care during official conversations

Most people will recommend that those potentially implicated in a white-collar criminal situation should never talk to investigators without an attorney present. Even if you don’t think you are currently at risk of arrest, little mistakes that you make during that discussion could lead to charges against you.

Often, those accused of financial misconduct end up facing charges related to lying to investigators rather than based on the initial offense. Simply put, someone undergoing an investigation can be their own worst enemy if they want to convince an investigator that there is nothing wrong.

Limit ongoing risk and exposure

The potential allegations against a professional and their current daily life will influence what steps they need to take to more effectively protect themselves when facing a criminal investigation involving federal authorities.

Defense attorneys recommend ceasing the use of social media and being very cautious about the people with whom one socializes while under scrutiny. Professionals can more easily minimize their risk and better protect themselves from lasting consequences when they have support from someone familiar with federal law and the process of criminal prosecution.

Responding appropriately to a white-collar criminal investigation could help someone avoid criminal charges or at least a conviction.

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