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Accused of fraud? Understand your rights. Seek legal help.

You've worked in business for a long time. You have always focused on obeying the law and making sure those who work for you do the same. That's why you're a little bit surprised that you're being accused of fraud.

While it is uncomfortable and unfair, innocent people are accused of fraud on occasion. Whether it's because someone in the company set you up or because paperwork was not filed correctly, it's possible to be falsely accused of fraudulent acts.

What should you do if you're accused of fraud?

The first thing you should do is avoid saying anything to investigators. Anything that you say is likely to be used against you in court. If authorities start asking you questions, you don't need to try to explain or defend your innocence. Instead, tell the investigators that you will talk to them only if you are being taken into custody or being interrogated -- and that you'll speak with investigators only in the presence of your attorney. Although the police don't need to read you your Miranda Rights at this point, you still have the right to refuse to talk to them.

Once they leave, or in the case that you are arrested, you should call your attorney. Under attorney-client privilege, anything you say to your attorney is protected by privacy laws. Give your attorney as much information as possible. The more information you can provide, the better your attorney will understand the situation and be able to help you.

Your attorney's main focus will be to investigate the allegations and to protect you from incriminating yourself if the police want to question you. Your attorney can figure out the nature of the possible charges, and your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution. In many cases, this kind of pre-charge work can result in charges not bringing filed at all.

These are a few things you can do if you're accused of fraud. Remember, you have the righto remain silent, so exercise your right.

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If you or your company is under investigation, charged or indicted for federal or state crimes, or you want to ensure future compliance, contact Hilder & Associates, P.C., for more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston white collar criminal defense lawyer.

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