Below, a federal embezzlement attorney discusses what someone should expect from an embezzlement case.
These cases, generally, are going to start with either what’s called a target letter from the United States Attorney’s Office, which is a letter to you saying that the government is conducting a federal grand jury investigation and you have been implicated as a target of this investigation. The government may ask whether the target is interested in cooperating with the government. If the person wants to cooperate, they must retain counsel or have one appointed by the court if they cannot afford an attorney and then go in and give a formal statement to the government and/or to the grand jury.
Anyone receiving this type of notice should immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney. You shouldn’t go to speak to police or the prosecutors alone without an attorney with the hope that they will be able to just explain everything and clear up the misunderstanding. The idea that somehow the U.S. Attorney’s Office or law enforcement agencies will be dazzled by your explanation and see it all as a big mistake and be willing to let you walk away is generally not going to happen. In general, when you get a target letter the government has already decided that they believe you committed the crime and they’re only looking for evidence to strengthen their case against you. So anyone who receives a target letter would do well to seek competent counsel before going in and making a statement to law enforcement.
Other things that you could expect, for example, would be if all of a sudden you’re at work and it’s early in the morning, you’re not expecting visitors and there’s a knock at the door and there are a bunch of guys in nylon jackets that say “FBI” on the back. They hand you a piece of paper that’s signed by a judge saying that they have permission to search the premises of your business and seize certain items.
Once inside, the federal agents seize your records and computers and hard drives and things of that nature, but they don’t take you or arrest you. They allow you to stay and then they leave the premises with your businesses’ property. That’s a good indication that you’re under investigation by the federal authorities. It’s just a matter of time before they come back with an arrest warrant. So for a person in that situation, there are two ways you can go. You can go with the ostrich head in the sand approach and hope it goes away. We don’t recommend that at all. The best way to proceed is to consult an experienced and competent white collar defense attorney that can fight for you and protect your rights.