White Collar Criminal Suspects May Not Face Charges until Years of Investigation are Complete
Anyone suspected of committing a crime under Florida state law typically faces charges as soon as they are caught by law enforcement. However, white collar and other federal criminal charges are preceded by extensive investigations before charges are filed. During this period, you need retain experienced legal support, which can make a dramatic difference to virtually every aspect of your life.
The federal criminal justice system has vast resources for pursuing information about white collar offenses. According to a former FBI agent, agents initially learn about alleged white collar crimes through a variety of sources, such as the following:
- Victim reports
- News articles
- Agency referrals
- Company self-reporting
- Other investigations
A typical investigation begins with basic Internet searches, but they also involve examination of internal databases and financial document review as well as interviews with informants, co-workers or anyone who might have helpful information. Agents from one agency may also bring in other agencies when they need specialized expertise.
Unlike other types of criminal charges, individuals actually need the help of an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer long before they face charges. Federal prosecutors at the U.S. attorney’s office issue target letters to people facing criminal investigation. Anyone receiving this letter should immediately retain an attorney who can often help stop investigations by pointing out prosecutorial misunderstandings or even by identifying other parties who may be participating in illegal conduct.
However, even if investigations move forward, targets should avoid talking with investigators without first seeking skilled legal guidance. You may be innocent of all upcoming charges, but you need to understand that the goal of a federal investigation is not to establish your innocence — they assume you are guilty, and they want to prove it.