Detectives or other law enforcement investigators will often spend significant time compiling evidence before eventually presenting a case to prosecutors to see if they want to press charges. Police investigators are just as methodical in investigating and compiling evidence when they suspect that a white collar crime, such as theft, embezzlement, insider trading or fraud, has been committed.
Defendants often feel overwhelmed when they get their hands on the evidence that led investigators to suspect them of impropriety and often want to know what to expect as their case plays out in court.
How investigators may suspect a white collar crime occurred
Two examples of how an individual’s actions may result in them facing white collar charges are as follows:
- Insider trading: A regulatory agency (such as the Securities Exchange Commission) or prosecutors may get tipped off by an investor of potential impropriety or perform a random audit of a broker’s records.
- Embezzlement: Business owners often have bookkeepers or accountants handle their finances for them. They may discover unanticipated or irregular payouts. A business owner might report these expenditures to law enforcement for further investigation if they didn’t authorize them.
The information uncovered during these investigations above may set the stage for an arrest.
What to expect as your white collar case unfolds
It is likely that a grand jury has already heard your case if you’re facing federal charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office often bases its decision to file charges based on how solid a case the grand jury deems it to be. As for state-level cases, prosecutors work closely with law enforcement, ensuring they have uncovered all appropriate evidence necessary to prove their case before ultimately filing charges.
Prosecutors at either level spend their time leading up to trial trying to further hone in on evidence collected so that they can use it to explain their arguments and rebut yours in court.
How to act while criminal charges are pending against you
One of the biggest mistakes suspects and later defendants make is saying too much. You should treat any questioning by investigators as a situation where they already suspect you of impropriety, and they’re looking to get a few more pieces of evidence so that prosecutors feel comfortable moving forward with their case. You should carefully select what, if anything, you say to investigators in light of this.
The same rule applies to interactions you might have with law enforcement, probation officers, prosecutors and even the court following your arrest. Anything you say and do can be used against them in a court of law. The same logic applies when you’re waiting for your case’s adjudication.
It’s always best to weigh the impact of making certain statements or choices to ensure that they don’t infringe upon your rights. Decisions you make can have an irreversible impact on whether you end up facing white collar criminal charges and how your case unfolds.