Before a person is charged with white collar crime related offenses, there are usually obvious signs that the person is under investigation. This guide provides some basic information on what a person needs to do as soon as they have been alerted to a potential investigation.
1. Evaluate What Potential Evidence May Be Seized and Be Proactive
Most white collar crime cases involve months of investigation before charges are filed. During this time, law enforcement is obtaining search warrants to seize what they believe could be potential evidence. These search warrants are usually for bank records, credit card accounts, investment accounts and other related financial accounts. As law enforcement is busy obtaining the evidence, the suspect usually has no idea until law enforcement contacts them for an interview. It is highly advised that if a person is aware of the investigation, they should close all their accounts, withdraw all funds and take their business to a completely separate financial institution. If this is not done, and there are large amounts still in the accounts, law enforcement will seize all the money and you may later be in a position where you will not be able to hire an attorney of your choice.
2. Hire a Lawyer Before Charges Are Filed
Many people don’t realize that they can actually hire a lawyer to represent them before charges are filed. If this is done, the lawyer can contact the investigating agency (once known) and talk to law enforcement on your behalf. If the lawyer has established connections with the prosecuting authorities, the lawyer may be able to convince the prosecutor to not file any charges (obviously this depends on the circumstances).
3. DON’T TALK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHOUT A LAWYER!!
The most important thing for anyone who is under investigation needs to know: DON’T TALK TO LAW ENFORCEMENT WITHOUT A LAWYER! Unfortunately, the investigating officer is not your friend. This may be no surprise to you, but many people think that if the investigator is nice and says he only wants to get your side of the story, that it’s ok to talk. DON’T BELIEVE IT! Having specialized in White Collar Crime during the past 5 years, I have seen numerous people who thought if they talked to the police, charges wouldn’t be filed. It was not until I met with these clients and went over their statements to the police, that they realized they should not have said anything. Many times, investigators are able to put all the pieces of an investigation together once the suspect fills in the gaps for them. Everyone has a constitutional right to remain silent when they are accused of wrongdoing and everyone should exercise that right.
Karren Kenney – California White Collar Crime Defense Attorney