What is a Federal Indictment?  Can a Defendant in a Government Contractor Fraud Case Get an Indictment Overturned?

contractor criminal defense lawyers for federal indictmentsTheodore P. Watson. Federal indictments from a grand jury in a federal criminal case involving federal government contractors and defendants in those cases is the formal process where federal law enforcement like the is the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney’s office bring federal criminal charges against contractor personnel as defendants.

The case usually starts with the government’s investigation. During a government contract fraud investigation, the prosecution gathers evidence and speaks to potential witnesses to build the case against the contractor.

Federal indictments, criminal charges, and grand jury subpoenas are serious legal proceedings that the government takes in cases of alleged fraud involving government contractors. These types of fraud can involve defense contractors as well as other government agencies.

In cases of federal indictments, criminal charges, and/or grand jury subpoenas, a person or organization may be accused of fraud, such as government contractor fraud or defense contractor fraud. See information about subpoena duces tecum.

It is important to take these legal proceedings very seriously and seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney if any individual or organization is facing federal charges. A qualified government contract fraud lawyer can help to ensure your rights are protected during the process.

In addition to seeking legal counsel, individuals and organizations accused of government contractor fraud or defense fraud should cooperate with the investigation. This may involve providing requested documents, offering testimony and other forms of evidence, and complying with any other requests made by law enforcement. It is also important to avoid making false statements, which could potentially worsen your situation.

By taking these steps, you can give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome. Though facing federal indictments, criminal charges, and grand jury subpoenas is an intimidating prospect, a qualified lawyer can provide invaluable guidance throughout the process.

What are Federal Indictments?

A federal indictment is a formal charge issued by the US government accusing an individual of a crime. It is issued after the US Attorney’s Office has determined that there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against an individual for a federal offense. Federal indictments are typically filed in a district court and must be approved by a grand jury before they can be enforced.

What is the Indictment Process?

Federal grand juries are formed by the courts of each federal district. Once formed and empaneled, the indictment process requires the jury to listen to evidence and testimony presented by the federal prosecutor. There is no judge sitting in the evidentiary process for a government contractor fraud case. Only the grand jurors, the government’s attorney, and witnesses are present. It is common for the government’s attorney to present its investigation to a grand jury. However, the jury can also conduct its own investigation. See information about three defenses for criminal liability for government contractors.


Once the investigation of a crime has been completed, law enforcement may decide to move forward with criminal charges and proceed with a pre-indictment process. This is an important step in the legal system as it allows for prosecutors to review evidence and prepare for presentation if necessary. The pre-indictment stage typically includes an evaluation of the evidence by prosecutors, communication with the investigation agency, and possible negotiations. During this period a pre-indictment investigation attorney can provide support to their client and work together to create an appropriate strategy.

Depending on the situation, the pre-indictment process may result in charges being filed or dropped altogether. In either case, it is beneficial for individuals involved to consult a contractor defense lawyer for legal advice. The pre-indictment process is an important consideration in the criminal justice system and should be discussed with a qualified legal professional. With their knowledge and expertise, a government contractor defense lawyer can provide valuable guidance throughout this crucial stage of the process.

Pre-indictment includes everything up to the empaneling of the grand jury. After the government investigators provide evidence to the US attorney to suggest that a crime has been committed, the collection of evidence must now be presented to demonstrate to the jury that there is probable cause to go to trial. 

 Indictment Notice to Contractor Defendant

When the jury issues an indictment in a government contracts fraud case, and brings criminal charges against contractor personnel, the contractor or defendant is provided with written notice from the US attorney and the indictment is provided to the defense attorney and the defendant. The indictment includes the basic information of the charges against the contractor or individual defendant. Common reasons for the indictment of government contractors / individual defendants include (a) major fraud against the government (depending if the contract in question is valued at more than a million); (b) conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States; (3) false claims to the government, and more.

Does Being Indicted Mean You Are Guilty?

No, an indictment does not mean that you are guilty of procurement fraud. An indictment is a formal accusation or charge made against a person in a criminal proceeding. It simply means that the prosecutor believes there is enough evidence to try the accused for the crime and obtain a conviction. In other words, it is merely an allegation made by the government that the accused committed a crime. In order for the defendant to be found guilty, the court must find enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is responsible for the alleged crime. If no such proof exists, then the charges may be dismissed or dropped by the court. Therefore, an indictment does not necessarily mean guilt.

You are indicted by a grand jury when it believes that there is evidence that can show that you have committed a crime. The indictment process is one to find guilt or innocence. Such is only reserved for an upcoming criminal trial. An Indictment only shows that there is probable cause to move forward to trial.

Post Indictment

You are notified of the indictment, and the case must go to trial within seventy days unless the contractor or defendant waives rights to a speedy trial.

Post indictment is an important step in the process of government contract fraud defense. It is when a grand jury has voted to indict someone on criminal charges related to allegations of procurement fraud or other violations of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Post-indictment can be a stressful and complex time for those accused, as they face possible legal action and potential criminal consequences.

During post indictment, it is critical to seek the assistance of an experienced government contract fraud defense attorney who can provide valuable guidance and advice on the best course of action in defending against these charges. An experienced lawyer will be able to review all evidence presented by the prosecution, assess applicable laws and statutes, and work with prosecutors to ensure the accused’s rights are protected and a favorable outcome is achieved.

Post-indictment is an important step to take in order to ensure that one has the best chance at beating their charges and avoiding any potential criminal penalties. An experienced government contract fraud defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance during this difficult time. The Government contractor fraud defense attorney must be given all of the evidence that can be used against the defendant at trial (discovery). Once the indictment is in place, it should not be later advocated by the prosecution to show the contractor’s guilt. The prosecutor now has to start all over freshly prepare for trial. See more on what happens after being indicted.

What is a Grand Jury Subpoena?

Federal grand juries have broad authority to demand government contractors, employees and individuals to provide witness testimony and the production of documents or other evidence. Defendants involved in government contract fraud cases must understand that grand jury subpoenas should be taken extremely seriously, both when they demand testimony or request for documents brother evidence. If you do not respond to a grand jury subpoena, you can receive fines or even jail time. Hire an experienced government investigations attorney if you receive a grand jury subpoena.

Approach to Getting Federal Indictments Dismissed – Can You Get an Indictment Overturned or Dismissed?

Getting federal indictments overturned is a very rare occurrence. But Yes, it is possible to get an indictment overturned or dismissed in some cases. If you’ve been charged with procurement fraud or government contract fraud, the best thing you can do for your chances of a successful outcome is to contact a defense attorney who specializes in this area of law.

A qualified government contract fraud defense attorney will be able to assess the facts of your case, identify any potential grounds for dismissal or overturning of an indictment, and craft a strategy that addresses all aspects of the criminal proceedings. Your attorney will also be able to advise you on how best to present yourself in court and what evidence is needed to obtain the desired outcome.

When an indictment is handed down, your federal defense attorney should look to see if there are any circumstances to get the indictment dismissed. In a criminal case that involves federal government contracts, the issues involved in getting the indictment can be very tricky and not to mention – complex. However, federal prosecutors do sometimes make mistakes in the pre-indictment and post-indictment phases.

 It is not unusual for government contractors or company owners to the defense lawyers whether they can get a federal grand jury indictment dismissed. This can have the effect of getting the lawsuit dismissed.  Any procurement fraud defense attorney should always be looking for ways to get a federal criminal or civil lawsuit dismissed. Depending on the facts of your particular case, getting federal indictments overturned has a chance.  Examples of when an indictment can be dismissed is if the prosecution failed specifically plead with particularity in a fraud case, state a claim upon which the court can grant relief or when the criminal defense attorney can show that the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case. 

To get a federal grand jury indictment dismissed, the defendant’s counsel should file a motion with the court under Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rules 12, 47 to raise a defect in the prosecution or indictment. A commonly-missed reason that could increase your chances is if your defense lawyer can develop a meritorious argument that your constitutional rights have been violated.   

Be aware that getting grand jury federal indictments overturned are few and far between. The federal criminal process provides for grand jury involvement to see if the prosecution has put forth sufficient evidence to take the case to trial.
Although getting the case dismissed at the indictment phase is difficult, the reality is that government contracting laws are very complicated, there are constitutional processes in place, and certain authorities handed down by the United States Congress to procurement agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA) which federal prosecutions politely ignore.

Here are a few of the reasons that a judge may choose to dismiss an indictment.

Prosecutorial misconduct: The US Supreme Court stated that the government’s interest in a criminal prosecution “is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.” Federal attorneys have a professional obligation but also have a very important obligation to the United States Constitution itself to conduct a fair trial. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial. Prosecutors pursuing government contract fraud cases against federal contractors cannot improperly or illegally act (or fail to act, when required to do so) in a way that causes a defendant to be wrongfully convicted or punished without justification.

  • Can the prosecution use bad faith charges when in fact, there is no evidence to support the charge against the contractor/defendant?
  • Can the government attorney make statements to the media that prejudice the jury pool?
  • Can the prosecutor push the contractor to plead guilty of government procurement fraud by misrepresenting about the existence of incriminating evidence against the contractor?
  • Can the government lawyer make improper statements to the grand jury, such as statements about guilt or innocence, making conclusions about small business law when the SBA has not weighed in?
  • Can the prosecutor in a government contractor fraud case fail to turn over exculpatory evidence?

These are all questions of fact – your government contractor fraud defense attorney should look into these issues, and make a determination whether or not to bring certain matters before the court after the grand jury proceeding. In some circumstances, depending on the facts, you could get an indictment dismissed.

Was there a lack of probable cause to arrest the defendant? Again, depending on the facts of the case, the prosecutor may not have the justification to arrest the contractor / defendant.

Was there a specific process that the government was to follow before bringing the case? Government contracting rules, especially those involving SBA regulations with specific authority from congress, can create a situation where the prosecutor ‘jumps the gun’ and brings the case before the grand jury but fails to follow a required process. See information about avoiding liability for PPP Loan Fraud.

Is the government’s case a fishing expedition where there is no real evidence?

Putting on untruthful testimony in exchange for immunity? Can the government threaten to bring a case against a co-defendant, by offering to give immunity but also knowing that the co-defendant will not provide truthful testimony?

The prosecution cannot prove that you were engaged in criminal activity under federal procurement rules. The defendant’s alleged conduct did not violate government contracting regulations and, therefore no crime. Defense contractor fraud cases often allege that the defendant’s conduct violated a procurement regulation and hence a proposed criminal statute. This becomes problematic for a contractor defendant’s future when the opinion is that of the prosecutor and the prosecutor only. Who validates actions under procurement regulations? See Target Letter vs Indictment in Criminal Investigations for Government Contractors?

Did government investigators violate your constitutional rights during the investigation stage? Facts during the investigation may show that the investigator somehow violated your constitutional rights.

The above inquiries are all possibilities if the facts support them. In a criminal government contracting fraud case, having a government fraud defense attorney that understands the procurement process, the FAR regulations and Congressional statutes that are relevant to the case are essential to look at the possibility of getting a federal indictment of a government contractor overturned and dismissed.

Get Immediate Help In Your Government Contract Fraud Defense Case

If you are facing a government investigation; facing a federal indictment in a case involving federal contracts, call our government contract fraud defense attorneys for immediate help. Call us toll-free at 1.866.601.5518.