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Documents and Disclosure in Financial Crimes

When there is an investigation for financial crimes in Michigan, preserving everything is essential to demonstrating cooperation and innocence to the investigators. If a record or a document exists and a person destroys that document, law enforcement and the courts tend to assume that the contents of that document are damaging. In many cases, the contents of a document may be helpful to the person who is being investigated.

The records and documents the person has in their possession when they become aware of an investigation should be preserved. They may find themselves in a situation where they need a document. Some people have a normal process of purging documents every 60, 90, or 120 days. When that is a normal business practice, it may be appropriate for documents to be destroyed or purged as a matter of habit. However, once they are aware of an investigation, they should curtail that practice and hold onto those documents.

A financial crimes investigation is nerve-wracking but it is important to keep a cool head and trust that your federal financial criminal defense attorney will do everything they can to protect your interests. By working with an experienced white-collar criminal defense lawyer, you could ensure that you are correctly handling documents and disclosure in a Michigan financial crimes investigation.

What Type of Documents Should Be Preserved?

Generally, business records are created and maintained in the ordinary course of business. In court, these documents are not considered hearsay and may be admitted into evidence. All internal business documents must be preserved.

Often, people make a memo of an interview. A secretary or an associate may takes notes in a meeting about what was said to help someone recall what was said or write a letter of recommendation to the file at a later point in time. These documents could be useful as items to disclose to investigators of a financial crime in Michigan and individuals should hand these materials over to their legal counsel.

External Disclosure Obligations

A person has obligations in the context of the SEC where they must keep and provide external information to the other parties with whom they have dealings. All business-people are legally required to keep the documents. If they do not corroborate what the internal records show, there may be evidence of a crime of destruction of evidence, potentially leading to an obstruction of justice charge.

If there is some argument that the examination of those documents may pose a self-incrimination issue, that is dealt with in a motion practice before a judge. It is not something that the subject of the investigation should undertake to do on their own behalf.

Identifying Conflict of Interest in Financial Violation Investigations

Corporations and companies are legal entities and have their own potential exposure to criminal charges. However, because they are not individuals, the only penalties they could face would be financial fines or sanctions. A company cannot be incarcerated.

If there are two partners who run a business in Michigan and one of them engaged in illegal financial actions, there may be corporate and criminal liability. The innocent party might claim they had no knowledge that their partner was doing anything illegal. They might then offer to tell the authorities what they know in exchange for an agreement to not prosecute them.

With a larger company of 50 or 100 employees, the government investigators generally try to get a mid to low-level employee who may have some knowledge of impropriety, and put pressure on the employee to implicate more senior employees who may have been involved in the illegal activity. This mid-level employee may have access to sensitive documents they may be able to disclose, giving important information about potential financial crimes in Michigan.

The attorneys representing each person involved in the lawsuit all have different priorities to protect their party. What may be good for the mid to low-level employees may not be good for the corporation and may not be good for the CEO. The larger the corporation, the greater the potential for conflicts of interest because each individual has their own potential criminal liability.

The corporation has its own separate financial exposure. The upper-echelon managers of the company may be held liable for the actions of their subordinates. They may have liability even if they are not fully aware of any violations because they have a duty to have adequate control of their company.

Let an Attorney Represent Your Interests

When a company or an individual is being investigated for a financial crime, there is the potential for many forms of conflict of interest. This is why it is essential to get an attorney that is ready to protect you. Everyone is advised to keep all records and be forthcoming with them to assist investigators to mitigate consequences. To learn more about documents and disclosure in Michigan financial crimes, contact an experienced attorney today.

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