Being under investigation for a federal fraud crime is something that you need to take extremely seriously. Depending upon the specific fraud offense that is being investigated, if you are charged and convicted, you could face decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) in monetary fines. Accordingly, it is critical to have an experienced Dallas fraud crimes defense attorney on your side the moment you learn you are under investigation. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner your lawyer can begin taking steps to plan for your defense and to develop a defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction.
Yet, it can be complicated to know for certain if you are under investigation for a fraud crime. Our Dallas fraud crimes defense lawyers want to explain more about the investigation for fraud crimes, including what an investigation looks like and how the process works.
Understanding a Federal Fraud Crimes Investigation
A fraud crimes investigation may begin when a federal agency has reason to believe that a federal law has been violated. Many government agencies begin the investigation process when they receive a report or a tip that appears credible.
As such, an investigation is the first part in any federal criminal justice case. At the stage of the investigation, the agency conducting the investigation will be seeking to determine whether a statute has been violated and a crime has occurred, who may be responsible and may be charged with a federal fraud offense, and what evidence exists to support a federal prosecution for fraud crimes.
Who Investigates Fraud Crimes for the Government
The agency conducting the investigation will depend upon the type of fraud crimes being investigated and other specific facts surrounding the case. The following are examples of federal investigative agencies that may be involved in the investigation of fraud crimes:
· Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF);
· Department of Veterans Affairs;
· Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA);
· Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
· Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
· Fish and Wildlife Office of Law Enforcement;
· Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
· Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);
· Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
· U.S. Marshals Service;
· U.S. Postal Inspection Service;
· U.S. Secret Service; and
· U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Process in a Fraud Investigation
Many different acts may occur in the process of a fraud investigation, and it may not be immediately obvious that you are being investigated. Federal fraud investigations tend to take years. Accordingly, if an investigative agency does obtain sufficient evidence against you for the government to bring charges, you might not be indicted for years from the date that the investigation began. How can you know if you are under investigation, then?
Depending upon the nature of the investigation, you might receive a letter informing you that you are being investigated. In other instances, you might hear from colleagues that they were interviewed as part of an investigation, you might be contacted yourself to be interviewed as part of an investigation, you might be subpoenaed, or a warrant may be executed at your home or business so that investigators can search the premises.
Contact a Fraud Defense Lawyer in Dallas Today
If you have any sense at all that you are the subject of a fraud investigation, you should seek assistance from one of our Dallas fraud defense lawyers today. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC for more information.