White collar crimes are nonviolent infractions with financial motives committed by corporate or government employees. Because white collar crimes are generally proven by extensive paperwork and documentation, their investigation can be quite complex and lengthy. This makes it highly likely that a suspect will be contacted by law enforcement agents at some point during the investigation and asked to make statements about the case. If you have been contacted by investigators about an alleged white collar crime, you have important constitutional rights that you must protect. Knowing what to do in this situation can ensure you receive fair treatment from the justice system.
Don’t Say Anything About the Case
All suspects are protected from making incriminating statements about themselves under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Unfortunately, the nature of many white collar investigations causes many suspects to inadvertently waive this right. Law enforcement agents will often arrive at suspects’ homes or offices, where they feel more comfortable. Agents will frame conversations as opportunities for suspects to give their respective sides of the story. Agents may claim that their goal is to clear the suspect’s name—not to investigate them as an offender. All of these things cause suspects to make statements that ultimately hurt their abilities to defend themselves from criminal charges.
Even if you have not been involved in a white collar crime in any way and know that you are innocent, speaking with federal agents or state law enforcement authorities can always be stressful. Too many people agree to answer questions with the intention of eliminating suspicion when, in reality, they say something that may lead to additional suspicion. In addition, being nervous or stressed during questioning can be mistaken as trying to hide something or guilt.
Contact a White Collar Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible
An experienced criminal defense attorney can protect suspects from inadvertently making incriminating disclosures to law enforcement. The attorney will also protect clients from other infringements on constitutional rights, including warrantless searches or seizures of evidence. Finally, an attorney can craft a strategy that will lead to the fastest, most cost-effective, and overall best outcome for a client. The sooner clients hire an attorney, the better protection their constitutional rights will receive. Getting an attorney involved at the start of an investigation can also help resolve the case faster, thereby reducing the time and expense of lengthy litigation. During an investigation, your attorney can take note of certain lines of questioning or insinuations by authorities to determine the nature of the evidence that may be against you.
Save All Documentation About the Incident in Question
White collar crime investigations are generally driven by written documentation of what occurred. Because of this, suspects must retain all documentation related to the incident. This can include expense reports, tax filings, profit and loss statements, quarterly earnings reports, emails, internal memoranda, photographs, calendars, and many other types of physical evidence. Whether these are in paper or electronic form, they should be preserved. Your attorney can use these documents to create an effective defense strategy. Do not turn them over to law enforcement investigators except on the advice of counsel. Never destroy any documentation related to an active investigation, because this can give rise to separate criminal charges for obstruction of justice.
The above are only some things you should know if you are the subject of a federal investigation of possible criminal activity. It is important to have a lawyer examine your situation as soon as possible and provide advice based on your specific circumstances.
Aggressive Representation for Your Criminal Defense
Many people know that they maybe accused of a crime by federal authorities well before an indictment is ever filed. The moment you believe that you are under suspicion of a white collar crime, you should seek legal assistance and representation.
If you have become the target of a criminal investigation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Brian J. Zeiger is a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney who has protected the rights of defendants charged with a wide variety of white collar crimes. He will fight for you to ensure the justice system treats you fairly. Call (215) 546-0340 today to schedule your consultation.