Becoming the subject of a government investigation can be nerve-wracking – the reason for the investigation and the timeline are generally pretty vague. As well as the idea that criminal or white collar charges could be the end result of the investigation would make any person weary.
In addition to the unknowns of a government investigation, there is also the worry about what may follow criminal or white collar charges. If the investigation results in charges, and you are ultimately convicted, most federal crimes and major state crimes carry with them serious jail time, millions of dollars in fines and other severe penalties.
Being the subject of a government investigation does not have to be scary and hopeless. Having the right attorney on your side will ease your mind and could make all the difference in the end result of the investigation.
If you, or your business, are the subject of an investigation, contact an attorney immediately. The sooner you contact an experienced attorney, the sooner you can be sure that your rights and interests are protected through all stages of an investigation. Contact the Blanch Law Firm today at (212)736-3900 for a free legal review of your case.
At the Blanch Law Firm, our team of attorneys aims to provide clients with an unmatched level of representation in criminal and white collar defense in all the various types of government investigations.
There are very few defense law firms, if any, that can offer their clients the unique background, specific experiences, and successful track record that The Blanch Law Firm offers to our clients.
Our results-driven approach to criminal and white-collar defense involves multiple attorneys being assigned to your case. Having multiple attorney’s eyes on your case means that you will be receiving a comprehensive defense which will result in the best possible outcome at the end of your investigation by the government.
Our team of senior attorneys is comprised of mostly former New York Assistant District Attorney’s whose experiences give a unique perspective of government prosecution tactics, government investigations, white collar crimes, and more.
Our government investigations team has a successful track record when representing both individuals and corporations in high profile state and federal criminal investigations, congressional investigations and internal investigations.
Our Success Stories
In addition to our team’s experiences, the track record of successes can speak for itself.
One of our clients was faced with an administrative hearing regarding the misuse of over $20,000 that was intended to be used as healthcare benefits. Ultimately, with our representation, the New York District Attorney’s Office decided not to bring any charges.
Another client of ours was alleged to be the mastermind of a fraud worth over $5 million and was charged with enterprise corruption. The client faced up to a mandatory 1 to 3 years in prison with the maximum being 25 years in prison, the possibility of civil penalties, as well as the possibility of criminal forfeiture of property. Our team of lawyers was able to secure a disposition of a civil penalty with no jail time.
In addition to our successes stemming from government investigations, our team also works to counsel companies and executives on proper business practices.
Our goal with this proactive approach is to help our clients avoid government investigations altogether. But, if an investigation should occur, our clients, thanks to our counseling, can be sure that they are prepared.
What is a Government Investigation?
A government investigation is the means by which an agency will go about collecting information and gathering evidence about a potential crime.
These investigations can take several forms. Including, but not limited to, searches, interrogations, lineups, interviews with other parties like friends, family, employees/employers, and witnesses, or any combination of these.
The agencies who conduct these investigations are not, themselves, immune from the law. Government agencies must follow the rules and regulations as to what is allowed during an investigation. Many of these rules and regulations stem from the United States Constitution and the case law that shaped the constitution since its enactment.
For instance, government agencies cannot search you, your property, or any areas that belong to you without a valid search warrant. This is a guaranteed protection based on the fourth amendment to the constitution.
Additionally, if you are arrested and subsequently questioned, or being held by a government agency for questioning, you have the right to an attorney being present during the questioning. This is a right provided in, and guaranteed by, the sixth amendment to the constitution.
An experienced, knowledgeable attorney, like the ones on our team, will be able to ensure that your rights are protected at all stages of a government investigation.
Timeline of a Government Investigation
There is no singular rule on if or how a government agency must notify you if you become the subject of an investigation.
In many cases, the notification may come by way of an officer or agent coming to your residence or place of business. They could be there to ask some simple questions or to execute a search warrant.
In other cases, you may receive a certified letter from an agency stating that an investigation has been opened and that you are the subject.
No matter how you find out that you have become the subject of a government investigation, it is in your best interest that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Anything you say or do in the immediate moments of finding out you are the subject of an investigation, or throughout an investigation, could be used against you in the future.
Having an attorney on your side will protect from the government agency overstepping their reach and make sure that you do not become your own worst enemy.
There is no set-in-stone timeline for how a government investigation may be conducted. Being questioned by an agent may come before, after, or even during a search warrant is executed.
Questioning will generally take the form of an in-person interview, or interrogation, rather than written interrogatories during an investigation.
No matter the agency running the investigation or the matter being investigated it is always against your own interest to go in to an interview with any government agency without an attorney present.
Generally, the agents performing the questioning have been trained to manipulate words and holes in a person of interests story. Having a lawyer with you will ensure that your words are not mistaken and that you are not presenting information that is contrary to your interests and rights.
If you have been called in by any government agency for questioning contact an experienced criminal and white collar attorney immediately.
When any government agency conducts a search they must have valid reasoning. This reasoning may be shown through a search warrant, may be in the name or officer/ agent safety, or if something is in “plain sight.”
Below is a brief description of what is necessary for something to be considered a legal search by a government agency. In reality, though, the legality and constitutionality of any search can be complicated and consulting an attorney about your individual situation is in your best interest.
In order to obtain a valid search warrant, the agency must be able to show a judge or magistrate that there is reasonable suspicion that there is evidence of a crime in the area to be searched. The warrant must also specific to who/what/where may be searched and what may be seized as a result of the search. A warrant is necessary for any search, done without your consent, of your personal property, home, or vehicle.
Another valid search is one that takes place after an arrest or if an officer/agent fears for their safety. After an arrest an officer/ agent may search your person in order to make sure that you do not have possession of anything that could be used to hurt yourself, your officer, or any third party.
In addition, if an officer reasonably fears for their safety they may search you. This was the reasoning behind the policy of “stop and frisk.” These searches tend to happen fast so contacting an attorney may not be possible before or during one.
In the case of any search, it is always in your best interest to cooperate with the agent/officer who is conducting it’s request. By not complying you may cause more issues for yourself.
In addition, during a search, it is in your best interest to keep quiet during a search. You do not want to risk implicating yourself or anyone else without realizing it.
Contacting an attorney as soon you can after a search begins will ensure that you do not get into any unnecessary trouble and that your rights and your interests are protected.
The Aftermath of an Investigation
Once the government investigation into you comes to a conclusion, you may end up with criminal charges posed against you. On the other hand, you may end up with nothing else happening.
The risk of criminal charges is heavy. If ultimately convicted, you may face a prison sentence, millions of dollars in fines, and other severe penalties.
While there is a possibility that nothing further will come out of an investigation, it is simply not worth the risks to go at an investigation alone when, if you are charged with a crime, there is so much at stake.
If you are under investigation by any government agency it is in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as possible. This will ensure that your investigation comes out with the best result possible.
Contact the Blanch Law Firm Today if you are Under Investigation by any of the Following:
New York Police Department (NYPD)
The NYPD is responsible for investigating every crime that occurs with the 5 boroughs that make up New York City and that fall under state law.
As an agency, they investigate the full range of crimes from murder to fraud. Ultimately, they gather evidence and will place suspects under arrest but it is not in the NYPD’s discretion whether or not to charge you with a crime.
District Attorney’s Office
Each county in New York State has its own, elected, District Attorney. The district attorney has the power.
The District Attorney’s Office will often supplement the investigative reports provided to them by the NYPD with their own reports. This is done because the NYPD need only a reason for the arrest, the DA’s office needs to build an entire legal case. An arrest and a conviction have very different standards of proof.
In order to conduct their own investigations, each DA has their own staff of investigators.
New York State Police
Much like the NYPD, the New York State Police have a broad range in the crimes that they can investigate. The only limitation on their investigative range is that the crimes must be New York State Crimes.
New York Comptroller
Under the New York Comptroller, investigations into fraud by state and local government bodies take place.
The Comptroller is in charge of investigating claims of fraud at every level of government and administrative body in New York State. Examples include the NYPD, the FDNY, the District Attorney’s Office, or even the Governor’s office if necessary.
Department of Justice (DOJ)
The DOJ is, essentially, the governmental head of the majority of the agencies listed below.
The DOJ has the power to call for any below agency to investigate a crime on their behalf or call for any agency below to halt an investigation.
The head of the DOJ is a cabinet position, meaning that they are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the president.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The FBI is perhaps the most well known investigative agency within the United States government.
FBI agents are essentially the police force of the federal government and have an incredibly wide range of crimes that they investigate. Any crime that falls under federal law or in a federal jurisdiction may be investigated by the FBI.
Often FBI agents will work in conjunction with other government agencies, at both a state and federal level, to conduct their investigations.
Security & Exchange Commission
The SEC’s investigation focus on the potential violations of laws that deal with securities, stocks, and other similar commodities.
An example of the SEC’s investigative power would be to investigate claims of insider trading or securities fraud.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms (ATF)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms (ATF)
As stated in its official name, the ATF is responsible for investigations in to claims of crimes involving alcohol, tobacco, explosives, and firearms.
Generally, the ATF’s mission is to stop crimes as they are occurring and they often deal with crime rings that are smuggling illicit drugs, alcohol, or guns into and throughout the United States.
Department of Education
The department of education’s investigative unit is tasked with investigating any crime that effects educational institutions.
Examples of these crimes would be financial aid fraud, diploma mills, or claims of corruption within schools.
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
The DEA’s purpose, like the ATF’s, is clear from the agency name.
The DEA is tasked with investigating any and every crime that involves drugs that falls under federal jurisdiction.
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
The main purpose of FINRA is to make sure that investors feel confident in the securities markets.
FINRA investigates potential violations of federal security laws, and with the general oversight of security brokers.
Internal Revenue Service
The IRS is the federal government agency in charge of taxes. They are tasked with investigating any claims of tax fraud or other crimes that deal with taxes, like tax evasion.
United States Attorney’s Office
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
ICE is the federal agency tasked with enforcing immigration and customs laws.
As an agency they investigate claims of illegal entry, illegal reentry, importation of illegal goods, and other similar issues.
United States Postal Service (USPS) Postal Inspector
Investigations conducted by the USPS postal inspector has the authority to investigate any crime that used the USPS in furtherance of it. This give the office broad power.
The Senate, because of its broad constitutional powers, may investigate almost anything it would like to.
Generally, these investigations are not to convict a person of a crime but instead to gather information in order to make new laws and regulations.
United States Secret Service
The Secret Service is tasked with investigating crimes dealing with the United State’s financials. The secret service may open investigations into claims of counterfeiting, as well as a large range of computer-based and financial crimes.
United States Department of Labor
The department of labor is tasked with the investigations of any violation of labor laws. This includes unsafe work practices and accident investigations.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)
The NTSB is in charge of keeping safe all forms of major transportation in the US including trains, buses, and planes.
The NTSB may open investigations into any unsafe practice that may be occurring on train lines, planes, etc. Most often, the NTSB is called into action in the aftermath of a transportation accident in order to determine the cause.
Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VOA)
The investigative office of the VA is in charge of opening investigations into any crime that was committed against VA employees or facilities.
In addition, the VA may investigate any alleged misconduct by any high ranking member of the VA itself.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The EPA is in charge of keeping the environment clean and safe. These agents may open investigations into any alleged violations of any environmental bill, like the clean air act, or into something like illegal dumping.
United States Marshal Service
The US Marshal Service has the job of investigating, locating, and apprehending any fugitive who is wanted by a foreign government.
- ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
- Attorney General
- Department of Education
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- District Attorney’s Office
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- NY Comptroller
- Office of Investigations (OI)
- Postal Inspector
- Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
- Senate Committee
- U.S. Attorney’s Office
- U.S. Customs & Border Protection
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)