The First Steps to Take if You’re Charged with a White Collar Crime

“White collar” crimes include things such as fraud, money laundering, and other non-violent financial crimes. Due to the rise in these types of activities and their drastic impact on both individuals and corporations, the federal government has made it a priority to prosecute individuals who engage in this conduct. Extremely stringent penalties have been enacted to punish anyone convicted of a white collar crime. Here are the first steps you should take if you are caught on the wrong side of the law.

  1. Hire a good defense attorney

It can take months, if not years, to investigate white collar crimes. Investigating law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service and Health and Human Services will compile bank records, phone records, emails and other documentary evidence to build a case.  Analysis of these records and a determination of the probability of a successful defense requires the skill and experience of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. The best option is to find a qualified attorney who has defended these cases and understands the special considerations required to obtain the best possible outcome.

  1. Protect yourself

As noted above, the investigators will obtain your bank records, credit card accounts, investment accounts and any other information that may assist with the investigation. They may also obtain search warrants to seize potential evidence, issue subpoenas to individuals to produce records and to testify before a grand jury, and even have your bank accounts and assets frozen. If you are served with a subpoena to produce records, or are locked out of your bank accounts, it’s a good indication that an investigation has started. As soon as possible, you need to consult with your lawyer on how to protect yourself.

  1. Find out what is happening

There is nothing more damaging than being in the dark when you are the subject of a white collar criminal investigation. Your lawyer should be able to communicate with either the case agent or a prosecutor to obtain information about any investigation that is taking place, and whether or not you are the target of the investigation or merely a witness.

  1. Exercise your Miranda rights

It is quite common for an investigator to show up unannounced at your home or workplace to interview you, even if you are the target of the investigation. Typically, the agents arrive in pairs – one to lead the questioning and one to take notes. Since you are not “in custody” they do not need to read you the Miranda rights. However, you always have a right to remain silent. This isn’t the movies or a television show – the United States Constitution provides a right to remain silent at any time. Some investigators may appear to be friendly during the arrest, but this is just a tactic to get you talking. If you are approached by agents who “just want to talk with you,” politely tell them that you will have your attorney contact them immediately and decline to be interviewed. And be sure to get their business cards or contact information. Of course, if the investigation leads to an arrest, remember to always exercise your Miranda rights. Indeed, anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. If it’s in your best interests to make a formal statement, you can always do so later in the presence of your attorney.

When it comes to white collar crimes, you need an experienced and qualified lawyer by your side; otherwise, your freedom and your future may be at stake. Barry M. Wax has the experience you need to address this most serious situation. Get in touch today at (305) 373-4400.

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax