What To Do If You’re Investigated for Corporate Fraud

Being investigated for corporate fraud carries serious consequences. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to act swiftly and seek legal guidance from a Seattle white-collar crimes attorney. These attorneys specialize in cases involving corporate misconduct, fraud, and other financial crimes, and can help you understand your rights and navigate the complex legal process. They can guide you through the steps to respond to allegations and work to protect your reputation and future.

Understanding Corporate Fraud: A Brief Overview

Kickbacks and insider trading are two prevalent kinds of corporate fraud. The FBI often focuses on fraudulent stock transactions. Millions of dollars are made by trading stocks after getting confidential company information, and the FBI takes insider trading very seriously. A conviction for it can result in fines of up to five million dollars, and defendants may be sentenced to as many as twenty years in prison.

Those aren’t the only examples of corporate fraud, however. 

Types of Corporate Fraud

There are many ways  to commit corporate fraud, for example:

  • Embezzlement of money
  • Accounting Fraud (misrepresenting a company’s financial status)
  • Bribery/Kickbacks that exchange money for favors
  • Money laundering
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Securities Fraud (lying to investors to drive up stock prices)

A famous example would be Bernie Madoff, the New York financial broker who defrauded clients out of millions of dollars using a Ponzi scheme. Another would be television personality Martha Stewart, who served five months in a federal prison after lying to the FBI about her involvement in a fraudulent stock deal.

Recognizing the Initial Signs of a Corporate Fraud Investigation 

Federal investigations into corporate fraud can start in various ways, with some signs more subtle than others. It’s essential to recognize these signs to respond appropriately. A formal letter from a prosecutor or grand jury indicating you are under investigation is a clear sign, but there are other indicators you should be aware of, including:

  • Unexpected Visits: Investigators from federal agencies like the IRS or FBI may arrive at your home or workplace, asking questions about your business dealings or personal activities.
  • Account Freezing: If your bank accounts are suddenly frozen, it could indicate that you are under investigation, often to prevent the dissipation of assets.
  • Subpoenas: Receiving a subpoena for financial records, emails, or other business-related documents is another indication of an ongoing investigation.
  • Surveillance: Unusual activity, such as cars lingering outside your home or office, might suggest that you’re being surveilled.
  • Third-Party Interviews: Federal agents may contact your friends, family, or colleagues to gather information about you or your business activities.

Understanding these signals can help you prepare and seek the legal counsel of a white-collar crime attorney, who can guide you through the investigation process and protect your rights.

The Crucial Immediate Step to Take if You’re Under Investigation 

If you find out you are under investigation, there are some very important initial actions to take. First, respectfully decline to tell investigators anything without an attorney present. Even if the agent assures you that you are not under investigation, don’t talk without a lawyer present. You can go from a witness to a defendant very quickly. After you’ve engaged an attorney, follow their advice to the letter. Investigations of federal crimes can take years. You need to prepare yourself for that.

The Rights of the Subject During a Corporate Fraud Investigation 

Even if you are the target of a corporate fraud investigation you still have rights under the Sixth Amendment. You don’t have to say anything without your attorney present. You’ve got a right to a speedy trial by a jury. You have the right to examine witnesses at trial. 

Need Guidance? Reach Out to a Seattle White Collar Crime Defense Attorney

Being charged with a Federal offense of any kind is scary and stressful. We understand. We have the experience, skills, and knowledge of corporate fraud to really help you. You have rights. You have options. Schedule a consult with Jennifer today to learn more.