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Dillon Law Group, LLC: White Collar Guidance (Navigating the Perils of White Collar Matters)

legal, fbi, white collar, search warrant

FBI Agents Have a Search Warrant

Suppose you are an officer or executive of a corporation in the healthcare field, or perhaps in pharmaceuticals. You arrive to the office one day and, at about the time the doors open, a group of FBI Agents and Health and Human Service Agents (“HHS Agents”) assemble in the lobby with papers saying they are authorized to make copies of the electronic data on your computers and take certain files relating to your customers or clients for the past 5 years. What do you do?

  • As a practical matter, your employer should have a relationship with a firm that does white collar defense work already in place.

  • First, get a copy of the warrant or the grand jury subpoena and read it to see what the subject of the search is and what potential issues are implicated – issues like mail fraud, health care fraud, foreign corrupt practices act or kickbacks to sales agents.

  • Next, call that white collar defense firm – their attorneys should be available to consult with you before the search is even complete.

  • Instruct your employees to carefully cooperate with the search, do not destroy any records whatsoever. Any attempt to destroy records will not only be discovered but will lead to obstruction charges – which are easily proven.

  • And do not give statements to any of the agents about the matter under investigation. Nothing good can come from witness interviews given during a search warrant. The agents may want to interview employees during the search but that is not to be tolerated. They may have the right to seize certain described documents but they do not have the right to require interviews. Interviews can be scheduled at a later date, after counsel is in place.

  • Make copies of the data seized and records taken by the agents. If that is not practical during the search, then make an inventory of the records taken. You have a right to take photos during the search. Be polite, but document every aspect of the search that you can.

  • Issue a document preservation letter to all employees. This letter will indicate that no records relating to the subject matter of the investigation will be deleted until further notice. This notification is very important because in prevents any attempt to destroy evidence (electronic evidence won’t actually be destroyed, but the attempt to do so is a separate crime). Destruction of evidence become the basis of an obstruction charge.

To discuss your case with the Dillon Law Group, call our office at 404.713.3283. We are glad to discuss your situation to see if we can be of assistance.

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