Are You Under Investigation For Alleged Financial Fraud?
You have the right to an attorney after you have been arrested. If you know you are under investigation, it is in your best interest to contact a defense lawyer as soon as possible regardless of whether you have yet been arrested or charged with a crime.
Business and corporate fraud investigations can be lengthy and burdensome. You can expect that:
- Your every move will be scrutinized
- Your emails, text messages and other correspondence from years past will be re-read by a stranger
- Your business and personal financial documents will be pored over by an investigator
You should not expect that a lawyer representing your employer or your company is on your side. His or her job is to protect the company; that may mean that he or she ends up protecting you or it may mean that he or she provides information that incriminates you in order to protect the company.
Are You Subject To A Federal Investigation Or Enforcement Proceeding?
The first indication that you are under investigation for a financial crime is often a request by your supervisor or employer to participate in an interview about the alleged misconduct. You may not be informed that you are the target of the investigation and you may not even be told that an investigation is underway. The interview could be part of an internal audit process or under the guise of rooting out someone else's suspected wrongdoing.
Internal investigations often center around:
- Accounting fraud or embezzlement
- Tax fraud
- SOX or Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues
- Corporate misconduct
- False claims for payment from government programs like Medicare or Medicaid
If you have been told that you don't need or shouldn't bring a lawyer to an internal investigation interview, you should be concerned. Cooperating with an internal investigation could result in serious criminal charges; refusing to cooperate could cost you your job.
White Collar Crimes Are Heavily Punished
You need look no further than recent headlines to know that white collar crimes and corporate fraud convictions come with substantial penalties. Martha Stewart herself spent time in federal prison on illegal stock-trading charges. Bernie Madoff is serving a de facto life sentence for a multi-million-dollar pyramid scheme.
Financial fraud crimes that range from thousands to millions of dollars in lost funds or merchandise are serious. The first step to beating these types of charges is limiting the investigation or avoiding the filing of charges at all. Talk to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you know you are under investigation.
North Carolina vs. M.W.
Charge: Charge: Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon (4 Counts), First Degree Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with A Dangerous Weapon
Facing: 12 - 17 years in prison
An incarcerated defendant accused our client of participating in the robbery of a group of youth at a party. We were able to raise doubt as to the credibility of this individual. In the end, the prosecutor dismissed these charges, citing a lack of evidence.