Each federal agency has a significant amount of resources and although it may not be clear whether you are a target initially, it does not mean that you cannot become one.
Federal government investigations sometimes begin years before you are contacted. Investigators sometimes already have information that may implicate you. Therefore, never think that because agencies ask for information the agency does not already have the answer.
When responding to a government fraud investigation or civil investigative demand, it is important that you remain calm and collected. Your responses should be professional and timely. It is also essential to be transparent during the process in order to ensure your best interests are represented. Furthermore, seek advice from legal counsel to determine if any of your documents may contain privileged information. When dealing with investigations, it is important to have the guidance of experienced government investigation lawyers.
Government contract fraud investigation lawyers are well-versed in federal laws and regulations so they can provide legal advice on the best approach for responding to a government fraud investigation or civil investigative demand. They also can advise you on when to cooperate, which documents should remain confidential, and whether to pursue legal action against the agency conducting the investigation.
Furthermore, they can help you negotiate with government agencies in order to protect your rights and interests. Overall, responding correctly and swiftly to a government fraud investigation or civil investigative demand is essential for protecting your business interests. By working with experienced government contract fraud investigators, you can ensure that the investigation is handled properly and efficiently.
What Are Your Legal Rights During a Federal Government Investigation?
Realize That You Have Constitutional Rights: When the government decides to investigate you, the Constitution does have some limitations on government action, whether state or federal. During a federal investigation, although it is highly advised to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, you should also know your legal rights and how to protect them. This is but one of the reasons why you should have retained legal counsel or an investigation attorney.
Sometimes individuals or companies seek to find a defense attorney when it is too late. What you may have already told the federal government is fair game and can be used against you in the future. When responding to a federal investigation, it is important that you know and understand your rights. Under the U.S. Constitution, individuals have certain legal protections from government investigations, including:
-The right to remain silent
-The right to an attorney
-The right to access evidence against you
-The right to challenge the government’s investigation
-The right not to be searched without probable cause
These individual and constitutional rights should be respected throughout the entire investigative process. It is also important to remember that a federal investigation can take months or even years, so it is essential to stay informed and up-to-date on any civil or criminal changes in your case.
By working with experienced government investigation lawyers, you can ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process. Your attorney can help you respond to requests for information and negotiate with agencies on your behalf. Furthermore, they can provide legal advice on whether or not to pursue legal action against the agency conducting the investigation. Ultimately, having a professional by your side
Always Be Truthful
Federal investigations require you to be truthful in your responses, subpoena responses and any level of questioning. Failure to provide truthful answers can start another problem called providing false statements which has statutory penalties. Read about Signs of Being Under Investigation (Federal).
Avoid Doing These Things
One of the things to avoid when responding to an investigation is to simply disregard subpoena requests for corporate, bank records, or emails. Oftentimes, the investigator or Assistant US Attorney will request copies of emails, contracts and subcontracts, phone records or bank records. You want to comply with these requests even if you have to pay the bank extra to find older records.
With regard to responding to emails, chances are that the government already has emails from the other party. You still have an obligation to turn over emails from your computer.
- Simply stating that you do not have access to someone else’s emails will not suffice
- You are expected to contact banks if necessary or get old phone records to comply
When you are asked to respond to a subpoena or otherwise cooperate in a government investigation, be cognizant that the government does have a right to investigate. You cannot impede or obstruct that right by willfully delaying the process or claiming that you don’t have access. You are expected to go the extra mile and show a good faith effort to respond.
Suggestions of Things to Do
If you happen to learn that you or your company is involved in government investigations and that you do not yet have a federal investigation attorney on board, there are a few suggestions and tips to keep in mind.
Tip 1. You want to keep conversations to a minimum with other people. This includes family members, friends and coworkers. Talking to other persons can also impute additional charges by law enforcement personnel.
Tip 2. If you are a subpoena target of investigation on a federal government contract, you want to consider also doing an internal investigation to see if there are some mitigating circumstances to handle. Oftentimes, the issue at and maybe unknown to you. Government contract investigations are on the rise. Companies and small businesses are now being charged with procurement fraud under the SBA 8(a)BD program, HUBZone fraud and SDVOSB fraud.
Tip 3. If you are a federal contractor subject to federal investigations, you should seriously consider retaining a government investigations attorney that understands either federal small business law or procurement regulations. Many small businesses make the mistake of hiring traditional commercial attorneys that do not understand the substantive areas of government contract law that the investigation is about. See also information about internal corporate investigations.
Tip 4. Do not delete files from computers or throw away important documents. This can do more harm than good. Federal investigators have many tools at their disposal including forensics that can assess hidden actions within your consequences of Procurement Fraud Schemes & Avoiding Criminal Liability
Common Areas for Federal Investigation on Government Contractors
In the last ten years, the federal government has increased its scrutiny over small businesses that participate in the various SBA and VA programs. This includes the SBA’s HUBZone and 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program. In addition, there has been a drastic increase in government investigations into limitations on subcontracting regulations, and SDVOSB small business fraud. If you are a small business participating in these government contractor programs, be mindful of how you respond to federal government investigations. See information small businesses not meeting procurement requirements.
Hire an Experienced White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers or Government Investigation Attorney.
Sometimes, government contractors, individuals or corporations make the mistake of handling the initial phase of a federal investigation without legal counsel or an investigative lawyer. This frequently turns out to be one of the most costly legal mistakes seen to date. See information about inverted domestic corporations.
When a government investigation is on the way, there could be civil penalties and criminal sanctions involved, including jail time. Read about Avoiding the Pathway on Government Contract Fraud Cases and Federal Procurement Fraud – Do You Have the Right Defense Lawyer?
Although defendants may think that they are innocent and have nothing to hide, the reality is that an experienced white collar criminal defense attorney will already know that federal statutes related to fraud against the government can easily indict or charge a defendant upfront. This puts a lot of stress on you although you may still believe that you are innocent.
Knowing how to respond to federal government investigations can be valuable if correctly approached early in the process. Having an experienced defense attorney on board is essential. However, always realize that you have constitutional rights that limit the government’s actions.
For help in an upcoming government investigation or pending criminal cases, please call our Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.