What should you do first if you believe you are under investigation?
When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
The short answer is any time when you feel that you may be a target of an investigation, about to be arrested, or a police officer or federal agent is attempting to interview you . Mr Babcock has handled hundreds of federal and state investigations and often he may be able to make the case go away even before charges are filed.
Take just a few cases recent examples:
Client M.M investigated for federal mortgage fraud. No charges were ever filed against him, and he stayed out of jail until he passed away.
S.A. and wife involved in wheel chair fraud, having people on social security receive wheel chairs when not needed. Charges were dropped against S.A and wife received minimal jail time.
Russell Babcock has represented dozens of individuals who were scheduled to appear before grand juries, but there subpoenas were quashed and no charges were filed.
A.N. , a prominent businessman from Mexico was charged with Federal structuring, intentionally importing into the United States quantities of less than $10,000 so the bank would not file a SAR, or suspicious activity report.
Many criminal law firms post information about investigations, but few attorneys, have “walked the walk” and actually represented many clients before charges are filed.
What is a target letter?
Many serious criminal investigations begin with the receipt of a target letter. This letter tells the recipient that they are being investigated for possible crimes and they should consider getting an attorney. If you receive a target letter, take the hint and hire a federal criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In any event don’t talk to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tobacco and Firearm Agents, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration Customs, and Enforcement, or any other federal police or agents until you have talked to a federal criminal defense lawyer first.
What is a grand jury?
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6 provides for the compilation of a Grand Jury. It is a group of individuals from the community who secretly investigate crimes. On the federal side, it is made up of 16-23 individuals. It used to be that the defense has the right to present their own side of the story to the grand jury, but now the grand jury has all but become a charade–a lopsided procedure where the prosecutors are certain to win. Statistics in 2010 reveal that in 162,000 cases in federal grand juries, the juries failed to return an indictment only in 11 cases. You have better odds of winning a big lotto prize than not getting indicted by a grand jury when the government decided to try to indict you.
When the grand juries believe that there is cause to believe that a crime has been committed the return a “true bill.” The document that charges the accused is called an indictment.
The point is that you do not want to be indicted by a grand jury because that means you will be hauled into court to answer to serious criminal charges.
What we can do for you?
When a client tells me that they believe they are under investigation, we can contact the law enforcement agency involved and begin a dialogue attempting to avoid arrest and indictment. Every case is different, but so often what this is all about is money. At the early stage of a case, such as a tax fraud case or banking fraud case, the government may just seek a re-payment and possible penalties. This is called a “civil compromise” agreeing to a civil settlement in lieu of criminal prosecution.
Often an appearance before a grand jury can be avoided by simply having your attorney explain to the Assistant United States Attorney on the federal side, or the Deputy District Attorney on the state side, the client’s lack of involvement. Only a very skilled and experienced criminal attorney can make the call when to have his or her client talk to the police and always with the presence of an attorney.
When can we help you?
The list of cases in which we can help you is virtually limitless and includes: