Proffer Agreements Can Be Tricky. They Can Help In the Right Criminal Case.

what is a proffer agreement in federal criminal cases?If the government has a strong case against you, cooperating with the government via a proffer agreement may be a viable option. As federal defense lawyers for government contractors, we can advise our clients to cooperate if:

The government’s criminal case is so strong, and the evidence is so overwhelming and there is a slim to none chance that the client cannot win at trial. An example would be emails between two government contractors suggesting that they agree to defraud the government in the HUBzone program. When the evidence on its face would admit the crime.

To get partial or full immunity. Clients also could agree to cooperate with the government in exchange for complete or partial immunity. This type of proffer agreement comes into place when the government really has a stronger interest in another contractor or defendant. 

Purpose of a Proffer Agreement

Define proffer – if you are charged at the federal level, it may help you in your upcoming criminal case. A proffer session at the federal level first occurs between a criminal defendant or suspect and the federal government that takes place at the local U.S. Attorney’s Office. At the proffer, a defendant government contractor or employee is represented by defense counsel, and the government is represented by the prosecutor along with the investigating agents. The proffer is an opportunity for the defendant to share with the government all verbal, written, or electronic information, such as emails, statements, documents, videos, or records that may be of use to the government. Notably, proffer agreements and meeting opportunities are not done in cases with violent crimes or to individuals with a history of violent federal crime. See information about target letters and indictment.

Duty to Disclosure Information

If you are considering a proffer letter in a federal criminal case involving government contracts, you are expected to share with the government everything you know about the case and other actual or potential. In a proffer, you are expected to tell the truth The defendant is legally required to tell the truth and not withhold relevant information.  A proffer agreement requires you to talk about your guilt and the actual actions you were involved in.

You Cannot Lie to the Government. If a federal prosecutor finds out that you have lied to obtain a proffer agreement, those false statements can be used against you at trial. When speaking to our federal criminal defense attorneys, government contractors must disclose everything they know in confidence. When the information is later uncovered during the case, it can create serious damage to your case. A factual proffer that is credible is what can help your case or even put you in a position to reduce criminal charges.

How does a Proffer Agreement Benefit You?

You should not look at a proffer agreement as a promise of absolute immunity from the government. The feds can structure the agreement how they see fit. This can be tricky because when trying to develop defense strategies and to negotiate a proffer agreement but no deal can be made, the government then may have reason to come after you more because it thinks that you may have been more involved. The government can also use your proffer statements to create leads for other potential defendants in the case. See Kastigar v. United States (1972).

Contact Our Government Contract Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers

Hire a federal criminal defense attorney that understands federal contracting: If you are a government contractor or federal employee that has been issued a target letter or part of a federal investigation, you can also cooperate with the government in exchange for a lesser charge or some level of immunity.  Our law firm can help you to define proffer and see if it can help you in your criminal case. Watson’s government contractor criminal defense attorneys can discuss the possibility of a proffer agreement with the government.