Here at Koch Law we often tell clients or potential clients to call our offices as soon as they know they’re under investigation. Things can go south pretty quickly when the federal government is building a case against you.
But how would you know?
While it’s impossible to know for sure, there are some signs you can watch out for.
Sometimes you get lucky. Someone who is in the know slips you a warning before the investigation gets too far.
If this happens, don’t be tempted to ignore the threat. You might want to stick your head in the sand. You might want to believe your friend is imagining things. But if you ever get a warning like this you should take it seriously.
See also: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against IRS Tax Fraud Charges.
It’s sad but true: sometimes when your employer has been up to no good you can get caught in the crossfire. You can be accused of helping your boss even if you didn’t know a thing about what was going on.
If you know people are already looking into your boss it’s a good idea to take precautions as if you were being targeted as well. You won’t know whether the precautions were necessary until the case is over.
You should also be alert to a sudden uptick in government interest. If regulators are are coming out of the woodwork all of a sudden they might be gathering evidence. If people are asking weird questions, you should trust your instincts.
Sometimes the feds are weirdly polite. They send you a letter which says, point blank, you’re the target of an investigation.
And there’s no doubt about it. You can trust the target letter is real. They don’t send them as jokes, and they don’t send them lightly.
You may notice cars parked on your street that were never there before. Or people tailing you.
It’s a lot more likely you’ll notice your cell phone going weird. If your battery starts draining faster or your phone starts glitching a lot more, you could have a hardware problem.
You could also have had an app installed on your phone whose job it is to track you wherever you go.
We don’t want to foster paranoia here, but the feds do have a case to build if they’ve decided to do so. If you suspect or know they have a reason to build a case it is, again, a good idea to listen to your instincts.
This can happen a couple of different ways.
Agents may show up at your door “just to talk.” Just to “ask a few questions.”
You may be a witness. And you may be under investigation.
It’s probably wise to act as if you’re under investigation. A witness can turn into a target faster than you think. Get a lawyer and don’t answer any questions.
If you work for the government the Office of the Inspector General may have one of its agents call you in for a meeting. You’ll rarely be arrested after the meeting. Take advantage of this fact to call a lawyer as soon as it’s over.
If the government has subpoenaed your business they’re after some kind of evidence. Don’t assume the paper shield of your corporate structure defends you if your company’s been up to no good.
Avoid the temptation to destroy the records. This will just get you into hot water later. You can be charged with tampering with evidence, and the investigators might get you on that crime even if they can’t get you on any other one.
If law enforcement took the time to get a warrant they’re probably after you. It’s not a fast process.
You can’t stop them from searching your home, office, or car as outlined within the scope of the warrant. But you can get on the phone with an experienced federal crimes defense lawyer while they’re conducting their search.
See also: What to Do When the Police Want to Search Your New York Home?
Even if it turns out you weren’t under investigation after all. Failing to secure a lawyer can hurt a lot, but keeping one close by doesn’t.
If you’re lucky, the investigation will pass by without resulting in any trouble for you. If you’re unlucky you’re going to need help if you’re going to preserve your life and freedom. Federal investigators are relentless, and federal charges carry harsh sentences.
Call Koch Law today if you want to get that help.