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First Steps Against a Financial Crime Investigation

The rights a person or company has when they are under investigation for a federal crime in Michigan have many similarities to the rights a person has when they are arrested for a State crime. No one is obligated to speak to an investigator or agent as the fifth amendment grants them the right to remain silent. The first step against a financial crime investigation in Michigan should be for every person to hire legal representation.

Often, in the early stages of an investigation, someone may meet or talk to an agent without first hiring a lawyer because they believe they have done nothing wrong or they do not think they have any issues. The thought is that they couldn't possibly be charged with a crime. In doing so, however, they may be putting themselves in legal jeopardy by speaking to investigators. The key issue is that no one must respond to an inquiry by a federal law enforcement official without a lawyer's assistance.

Why Hiring An Attorney With Relevant Experience is Essential

Legal counsel that has experience with financial crimes investigations is able to get a handle on what the government is looking at and then use that information in helping you to craft a proper lawful honest protective response. The attorney could also meet with the employer or the company to determine whether either has any exposure. The attorney might set up a meeting and coordinate with the agents to learn what questions they have and evaluate whether their client was exposed to any potential liability by virtue of answering those questions. Counsel can begin the process of negotiating with the agency when there is a viable area of investigation. While hiring an attorney is no doubt the most important initial step after discovering an ongoing financial crime investigation, defendants in Michigan should be certain that they are hiring the right attorney.

What Are the Potential Consequences of Hiring An Inexperienced Lawyer?

An attorney who is inexperienced in the context of federal investigations may not be able to ascertain where the investigation is headed based upon the agent's questions and so experienced counsel is a must. Depending on where one ranks in the corporate hierarchy, the law often uses a model of the corporate model to ascertain culpability for an illegal act. Only a lawyer who has experience handling cases like these will have the knowledge to properly understand when the person under investigation may have exposure or be in legal danger, even if they believe themselves to be innocent of any wrongdoing. However, it is essential that the attorney knows every aspect of the case before it is investigated to shore up defenses around potential issues.

Communicating with Financial Crime Investigators

The attorney should handle all communications between the party under investigation and the federal agency or agents conducting the investigation in Michigan. The first step an attorney should take when someone is under Michigan financial crime investigation is notify the investigative agency in writing that they are representing the corporation or individual, and that all further contact between the corporation and the individual, including subpoenas, should come directly to the attorney and not to the client. Sometimes, an agent shows up with a subpoena for documents to give to the client and they engage the client in a brief conversation.

Sophisticated agents may ask one or two questions that appear innocuous to the corporation officials or to the potential witness or potential defendant, but their attorney should be in complete control and therefore able to obviate that possibility. They should know everything that is going on and should not allow anyone to contact any of the clients without the attorney being aware of the nature of the contact. If an agent is coming to their office to pick up documents they have secured, an experienced attorney would caution the client to give the agent the documents and not say anything to them, though it's better practice to avoid even this limited contact wherever possible. When a person's initial step after discovering they are under investigation for financial crime in Michigan is to hire an attorney, they would likely be protected from issues like these.

How an Attorney Could Protect People Under Investigation for Financial Crimes

When someone gets a formal inquiry, it cites the section of the statute of an SEC regulation. The attorney can use that to formulate an idea of what precipitated the investigation. When someone gets a request for documents, their attorney may ask them if they know why there is a request for all the documents. Often, the federal government issues far-reaching subpoenas and the attorney may be in a position to file a motion to quash or limit the subpoena on the basis that it is overbroad.

Your initial step when under a Michigan financial investigation should always be to stop speaking to the investigators and contact an attorney. With the help of a lawyer, you could potentially protect yourself from legal jeopardy. Call now to get the representation you need.

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