Fraud and white collar crime are very serious crimes especially in federal court. White collar crime cases can start in many different ways. They usually start with a criminal investigation that could stem from a whistle blower at a company, a cooperating witness that is being charged, or a government agency audit. Once a person or organization is being investigated, it is very important to proceed carefully.
Many times a person will not even know they are being investigated until it is too late. The federal government through different agencies and the US attorney's office can investigate a case for months if not years. Different government agencies like the FBI, IRS and SEC can work together to bring a case against a person or business.
Once the government determines it has enough evidence then it will try to raid for all the evidence at one time. The FBI usually gets search warrants for all the offices and private residences together. They tend to execute all the search warrants at the same time. This gives the FBI the element of surprise and does not allow the suspects to notify their accomplices to get rid of evidence.
Sometimes the federal government does not bring charges right away and instead gives the target or suspect an opportunity to avoid charges altogether. This process can get complicated and can be very tricky to maneuver. It is very important to have a lawyer to help navigate you through this process. In the end, there may be many reasons why the federal government decides to either charge or not charge a person after an investigation. If the federal government does bring charges, the type of charges the defendant is facing also makes a big difference. Certain charges have significantly higher penalties than others.
If a person is being charged with white collar crime or fraud the penalties are largely driven by the amount of loss. A person being charged with cheating others out of $10,000 will face significantly less penalties than someone cheating others out of $100,000,000.
Each stage of the case from investigation, to being charged to the trial is extremely important. It is never a good idea to try to deal with the federal government on your own. The federal government has what feels like infinite resources to prosecute a person. So get on top of the situation early and hire a lawyer as so as you are being investigated.