South Carolina Federal Fraud Investigations 

Federal investigators have a lot of power. If you are contacted by investigators working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or another of the many federal agencies with law enforcement authority, it is crucial to seek competent legal assistance immediately.

A knowledgeable attorney could offer guidance throughout the investigation process and help ensure that the investigators do not violate your rights.

What is Federal Fraud?

Fraud is a scheme or plan to gain access to money, property, or some other thing of value through deception, misrepresentation, or deceit. The scheme is the crime; a person could face a fraud charge even if they derived no benefit from their plan.

Fraud is a federal crime if it targets a federal program like Medicare, Fannie Mae (or other federally backed mortgage program),  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the like. Attempts to deceive the IRS or the SEC are federal crimes. Federal law enforcement authorities also have jurisdiction if the scheme involves use of the mail, telecommunications, or internet to defraud.

Federal authorities in South Carolina often investigate and prosecute individuals for the following crimes:

  • Bank fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax fraud

Anatomy of a Fraud Investigation

A fraud investigation could begin in many ways. An audit might flag a transaction, regulators might notice irregularities, law enforcement might get an anonymous tip or receive evidence from a cooperator in another investigation. Once the authorities decide to investigate, they have many ways of collecting evidence, including electronic surveillance and subpoenaing records.

Often, a person learns they are involved in a fraud investigation only when federal agents arrive at their home or office. Sometimes a person might hear from associates that federal agents have contacted them about an issue of mutual interest. On occasion, federal authorities contact someone by telephone or mail and invite them to a meeting to discuss a situation.

Anyone who learns of a federal investigation into matters that concern them even tangentially should immediately contact a seasoned federal criminal attorney. Even people who have done nothing wrong might experience years of inconvenience, embarrassment, aggravation, and stress if they attempt to weather a fraud investigation without representation.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Could Help

Federal law enforcement agents are experts at eliciting damaging evidence from unwary individuals. Innocent statements could be misconstrued and used against the individual at a later time. In addition, any verbal or written statement an individual makes to anyone else could be used against them.

A criminal defense attorney could handle communication with authorities which minimizes the opportunity for them to directly elicit potentially damaging statements from the client. The legal representative could get a sense of the direction of the investigation and the evidence the authorities already have, which could ease the stress on the client. It might be possible to narrow the focus of the investigation, making document production less burdensome. If necessary, the attorney could prepare the client for any interviews with the investigators and grand jury testimony.

If the authorities have evidence that might lead to charges against the client, the advocate could begin building a defense case immediately. It is sometimes possible to arrange a discreet resolution before charges are filed. If not, the more time the attorney has to collect exculpatory evidence and negotiate with federal authorities, the better the likely outcome for the client.

Turn to a Seasoned Attorney for Help in a Federal Fraud Investigation

Being involved in a criminal investigation could have permanent repercussions on your business, financial, and personal life, even if the authorities never file charges against you. Competent and aggressive legal representation could minimize the negative impact of the ordeal.

Never try to navigate a criminal investigation without counsel, even if you are sure you have done nothing wrong. Contact an experienced local criminal defense lawyer immediately if you suspect a South Carolina federal fraud investigation concerns you, your business, or one of your associates.