The nature of the investigation really depends on the agency that’s investigating the allegations. As a general rule, you are going to see it coming pretty far down the line if you are the target of a government investigation.
In many cases, you will get a letter from an investigator or a US attorney that indicates that you are the target of an investigation. If you want to discuss the matter with them, hire a Virginia federal white collar defense lawyer and have them be your point of contact. Otherwise, you will let the chips fall where they may.
However, in other cases, the government might very well not do any of that stuff and proceed with the investigation. They may get an indictment under seal and you will not know anything about it until you are arrested on the spot. The shape of the investigation really depends on the nature of the case and what kind of evidence the government has or think they have in determining how they begin a case against you for white collar crime.
Since white collar allegations almost all involve what government will call illegal or inappropriate transfers of money, these are almost always very paper-intensive investigations. By paper, it does not necessarily mean hard paper but looking at records of bank statements and deposits and things of that nature is absolutely critical to all white collar investigations.
It is very unusual that they will go forward in any way unless they have some pretty solid documentary evidence on their side. As opposed to other kinds of crimes that might just involve eye witnesses or forensic evidence that they need to collect, white collar cases involve money so the government needs to find the money to build the case. They have to know where it has been, where it came from, and where it is right now. Those are the most important things that they have to investigate with white collar crimes.
In federal cases, they have the power of the grand jury that sits in every jurisdiction. If the prosecutor is investigating a case, then they can get subpoenas from the grand jury for things like bank records and really any other documents or any evidence that they feel they need in order to establish their case.
The grand juries very often operate without the defendant knowing that any of this is going on. And the proceedings are held under seal in most cases. The government uses the power of subpoena of the grand jury to get documents, and once they get the documents that they feel they need, they go forward with the case.
If the investigation involves a tax case, the agency can be the IRS. A security fraud case will be handled by the SEC. Government agency kickbacks or things related to it are likely to be investigated by the FBI or the IRS, among other agencies. The agencies involved depend on the conduct being alleged.
There are certain types of things where the federal agencies might cooperate or commingle their assets with the state agencies even though it is a federal case. Those circumstances are called task forces. A lot of times when it is a federal task force it will involve the state agency or two or at least representatives of those agencies. They will be able to pull resources and information in order to complete any investigation that they need.
These cases are all about the money so they have to find the money. They have to know where it is right now and where it comes from, the circumstances under which it was obtained and those are the things – the primary pieces of evidence that they look for in a case like this.