Running a company requires a significant commitment. You may spend your workdays doing what you can to help it succeed. Then one day, you hear either from someone or from an agent directly that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has questions regarding your business practices.
Perhaps the agent asking questions suspects corporate fraud, and you begin to wonder whether you need to seek out legal representation before the inquiry goes any further. The simple answer to that question is that doing so would more than likely be a good idea in order to protect your rights and the company’s rights.
Defining corporate fraud
The FBI considers self-dealing by corporate executives, accounting schemes and obstruction of justice the primary types of corporate fraud it investigates. These investigations usually focus on accusations of the following:
- Violating individual tax laws regarding self-dealing
- Taking kickbacks
- Engaging in insider trading
- Misusing corporate property for personal gain
- Falsifying company financial accounts
- Evading regulatory oversight through illicit transactions
- Misrepresenting the company’s financial condition
- Falsifying accounting entries
- Engaging in fraudulent trades in order to hide losses or inflate profits
- Making late trades
- Falsifying net asset values
- Engaging in market timing schemes
- Impeding inquiries by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, another regulatory agency and/or one or more law enforcement agencies
- Concealing any of the above
Your behaviors and actions as a company executive could come under the scrutiny of the FBI. The last thing you should do is ignore such accusations or fail to take them seriously. White-collar crimes do come with significant criminal penalties, including prison time. Moreover, your professional life may never be the same. Even public accusations could damage your reputation in the business world. The time to take action is when you first hear about a possible investigation into your company and/or you.
You have rights, and protecting them will most likely be a substantial priority for you. You may need direction when it comes to answering questions and providing documents to federal agents. When looking for an attorney to represent you and/or your company, it would be wise to make sure whomever you choose has knowledge and experience in the area of corporate fraud, understands the investigative process of the FBI, and can represent you in either or both federal and state court.