White Collar Criminal Investigations Cast a Wide Net
Co-workers of white collar crime suspects may also need legal representation
Even when people work together for years and form what they believe are close relationships, they can be totally unaware of the true nature of their co-workers’ business activities. When those activities include fraud and other white collar crimes, workers can easily become caught up in a federal investigation. In many cases, individuals who are innocent of any wrongdoing face serious criminal prosecution.
After receiving reports or other evidence of wrongdoing, federal investigators — often supported by local law enforcement agencies — conduct detailed investigations that sometimes extend over a number of years. The FBI reportedly worked on thousands of investigations in 2013 alone. Under the initial assumption that everyone in an organization had knowledge of the alleged illicit activities, investigating agencies review every possible paper trail and question everyone who touched the records in any way. Even experienced investigators can easily misconnect the dots, leading to the following types of errors that can ruin innocent lives:
- Misinterpreting the statements of innocent people and incorrectly charging them for involvement in the crime
- Assuming criminal intent on the part of people who unwittingly participated in a crime by doing their jobs in accordance with the standard business practices of their companies
- Levying charges against lower-level personnel who destroyed company records at the direction of management
Anyone caught in the investigative net should recognize that indictment is a painful and expensive federal criminal prosecution that can easily lead to years of false imprisonment. When investigators want to talk to you, you may want to be helpful, but your ultimate goal must be to avoid indictment. Even innocent witnesses should strongly consider representation from an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney who can guide them and protect their rights through the investigation process.