Most frauds are “inside jobs.” Fraud can come in the form of an employee stealing their employer’s cash, equipment, inventory or even intellectual property. It can also be more sophisticated – like manipulating the payroll, soliciting bribery and kickbacks and forging receipts and invoices.
If you are under investigation for fraud, it is in your best interest that you know what to do and what missteps to avoid. Here are three costly mistakes you want to avoid when under investigation for fraud:
Under Title 18 of U.S. Crimes and Criminal Procedure, it is an offense to knowingly alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, falsify or cover up evidence during a criminal investigation. A conviction for any of these can lead to fines and imprisonment.
So if you are being investigated for fraud, do not shred any document, delete emails or modify any document that might be of interest to the investigators. You may end up not going to jail for the crime you are under investigation for, but the prosecution will still be more than happy to pursue you for interfering with the investigation.
Lying to a federal investigator is a big deal. Penalties for lying while under federal investigation can include fines and jail time. If you cannot remember certain facts regarding the investigation, you are better off not trying to reconstruct them. An honest attempt to remember something could turn out to be inaccurate, and the prosecution might end up alleging that you willfully lied.
Talking to the investigators alone
Fraud investigators are well-trained to do their job. Part of their investigatory tactic might involve luring you into a false sense of security, thus, getting you to make incriminating statements. Remember your Miranda Rights when you are under investigation. Most importantly, exercise them.
Protect your rights
A lot of things can go wrong when you are under investigation for a crime. That’s why you need to understand and explore your legal options while navigating the process.