According to The Street, white collar criminal investigations are on the rise as the government increases their efforts in trying to find those who are responsible for the various financial fraud cases in the past few years after the economic drop in 2008. Agents will be looking for certain behaviors that will give them away, and in turn will result in criminal investigations. Executives are encouraged to avoid any behaviors and actions that may otherwise make them look as though they are “up to something.” The Street offers five protective measures for executives and individuals to take in order to prevent white collar criminal investigations.
Don’t assume that your legal discussions with your company are safe. Hire a lawyer immediately. While many executives may believe that their information is privileged between the company and employees regarding legal matters, this is not entirely true. This means that if the feds decide to come talking to your company, your private conversations may not always remain silent. This is also called “corporate Miranda” meaning that one person represents the company rather than each as individuals. Many companies often ignore this, and assume that everyone in the company will remain loyal, and in some cases this may not happen. Whatever the situation may be for you, hiring a personal attorney as soon as possible is encouraged.
All words spoken over email can be used against you. As with anything in life, be careful with what you talk about over email. Once information is put out over the internet, it can be used against you, even if you and your company are completely innocent of a white collar crime. Carefully read through your emails to make sure that the language used can’t be interpreted wrongly. For example, as an executive, even if you are trying to boost the company moral for the quarter sales, phrases such as “killing the competition” could be interpreted as something more serious. If you ever have important details to discuss, always try to do so in person to protect you and your company.
Be wise with your company accounting. When federal investigators are looking into a company for things like fraud, their accounting records are some of the first places they will turn to for red flags. Use discretion in your company spending, and keep track of everything. Don’t try to be smart with your accounting tactics, because this may come around and bite you in the future. It is essential that executive realize their role in the companies, and just because you may not directly be controlling the company finances, it doesn’t mean that the crimes can’t be pointed back at you. In the event that there are red flags in your numbers, this would be a smart time to contact your trusted Riverside County criminal defense attorney at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich.
Use your gut; if something’s feels “off”, it probably is. A lot of white collar criminal charges happen because when they realized that something wasn’t right in their company, they didn’t speak up. Choosing to stay quiet when there are criminal dealings within your company can only hurt you later on, so it is encouraged that if something smells funny, you should speak up.
Don’t try to cover up the scandal! Once you realize there is a concern within your company, trying to cover it up may result in severe consequences with the law as well, if not worse. In the event that your cover up fails, you and your company could wind up in serious trouble. So as the advice states above, if something is wrong speak up and contact an attorney immediately. At our firm we have years of experience with white collar crimes, contact us today for any questions or concerns you might have!