Unlike in a state or local investigation, if you get investigated on a federal level, you will receive notice from the government. If you are a person of interest in a federal investigation, you will receive a target letter. The letter comes from the government informing you of their intention to investigate you. They target you if the grand jury or a prosecutor has significant evidence tying you to a crime. As a Connecticut white collar lawyer, I can fully explain what you need to do if you receive a target letter.
After Getting a Letter
If you receive a target letter, it is important that you do not panic. A target letter is not a formal charge of a crime. You don’t face arrest for anything based on the document alone. In fact, some people who receive target letters never face charges for a crime. The target letter makes you aware that you will most likely get indicted in the future. This happens due to evidence that federal officials have against you, but this is not always the case. In some cases, there is never enough evidence to tie you to a crime, or an attorney can intervene on your behalf and prove to the prosecution that they should not consider you a target. In these cases, sometimes targets can work with federal officials to help them and they get redefined as witnesses in cases.
Once you receive a target letter, it is in your best interest not to talk to federal officials. You now know that you are the subject of an investigation, but you do not have to help officials do their jobs. However, this doesn’t always meant that you should not cooperate in the investigation. In some cases, it is in your best interest to cooperate with officials. An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you should cooperate with the investigation or not. However, it is important to remember that answering government officials or police officers’ questions is not the same thing as cooperating with these officials. You can cooperate without incriminating yourself if they made you a target. Also, you should not cooperate with federal officials or defy them until you discuss your case with an experienced attorney.
It is in your best interest to talk to an attorney if you get a target letter from the government. They can determine the risk of you getting arrested and how you can best respond to the investigation. Sometimes, target letters are used to scare people into talking about a case and giving the federal officials more evidence. Don’t let this happen to you!