What Should I Do When I Receive a Target Letter?
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There are two ways to look at a target letter
The obvious way is to see the seriousness of its message; after all, target letters essentially announce upcoming federal charges and put you on notice that you are part of a federal criminal case. The other way, the way Oberheiden PC attorneys treat target letters is to see them as an invitation by the government to discuss and resolve the allegations. Typically, each target letter concludes with a request to contact the prosecutor—and that is exactly what we do and how Oberheiden PC attorneys have avoided criminal charges in a variety of matters including conspiracy charges, tax fraud, and healthcare fraud. If federal agents serve you a target letter, please call the experienced attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. to find out:
- What Is this Investigation About?
- Am I Going to Get Arrested?
- Can Criminal Charges Be Avoided?
- How Much Time Is There Left to Avoid Charges and Resolve Things?
- Who at Oberheiden PC Will Represent Me?
- Has My Oberheiden PC Attorney Resolved Target Letters Without Jail or Charges for Clients in the Past?
Here is Why Clients from Across the United States Trust the Federal Lawyers of Oberheiden P.C. With Their Case
Located throughout the United States, Oberheiden PC attorneys have avoided criminal charges in a substantial number of federal investigations. Our experience is twofold. For one, lawyers who previously served the U.S. Attorney’s Office or the U.S. Justice Department in leading positions bring the insights derived in thousands of federal prosecutions to the table. For another, Oberheiden PC lawyers are federal lawyers and offer clients accused of federal crimes realistic and proven defense strategies. Acquittals in federal trials, dismissed indictments, and other unusual accomplishments define our client commitment and level of service. Our federal cases include:
- Federal Conspiracy Charges
- Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud
- Illegal Kickbacks
- Healthcare Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1347)
- Federal Drug Conspiracy (21 U.S.C. 846)
- Bribery (18 U.S.C. 201)
- Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341)
- Wire Fraud 18 U.S.C. 1343)
- Computer Crimes
- Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. 7206)
- Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344)
- Counterfeiting (18 U.S.C. 2320)
- Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. 1956)
- Mortgage Fraud
- Insurance Fraud
- Securities Fraud (15 U.S.C. 78j, 78jj; 18 U.S.C. 1348)
- Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. 1512)
- Perjury/ False Statement (18 U.S.C. 1001)
- Intellectual Property Crimes
- Credit Card Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Pornography Offenses
- Prostitution & Trafficking Offenses
- Unauthorized Access (18 U.S.C. 1030)
- Espionage Act
- Patriot Act
- Obstruction of Justice
- RICO Allegations
Oberheiden PC is perhaps the only law firm nationwide that focuses its practice on federal cases only, is comprised of partner lawyers and former senior Justice Department officials, that does not use paralegals/secretaries/or assistants, where clients will not be delegated to junior lawyer but represented by experienced senior attorneys. Call us today to discuss with us how we can help you in a free and 100% confidential consultation.
What You Need to Know About Federal Target Letters
In each investigation, the federal government has several options to inform targets of the existence of an investigation.
- Send a Federal Subpoena (e.g. Grand Jury Subpoena)
- Send Federal Agents to Interview the Target
- Execute a Search Warrant
- Send a Target Letter
- Arrest Someone With no Prior Warning
What is important to know about a target letter (compared to a search warrant or an arrest) is that target letters are issued without the involvement of a judge. By contrast, in order to get a search warrant, a federal magistrate judge needs to see “probable cause” that a crime was committed. With a target letter, things are different. Prosecutors may typically write that they believe that they have probable cause, but they shy away from presenting their case to a judge. In most cases, the reason for choosing a simple target letter is to encourage you to cooperate and come in with your attorney—rather than go into full defense mode when being arrested.
This difference is important because it tells an experienced federal defense attorney a lot about the status of the investigation, the focus offenses, whether the government is planning to include other individuals in the case by styling charges as a conspiracy, the likely timeline of the case, and a number of other pieces of information. Ultimately, one of the first tasks of your lawyer will be contact the prosecutor to get precise answers to your exact exposure and what evidence the government thinks they have against you.
Proven Defense Strategies Against Target Letters
First off, the advice many lawyers will render, to sit back and see what happens, in our experience, is a fatal one. When the federal government tells you that they intend to charge you, they will do so unless something happens that will change their mind. Sitting it out is not a known defense tool, at least not in federal cases.
Instead, it is about perception. If a federal prosecutor sends you mail rather than an armed team of federal agents to raid your house or to simply take you in, that means that the government’s current perception of you is one of a potential, not an actual defendant. Your attorney’s primary job is to influence and impact the perception that you did something wrong, that is that you willfully violated a federal criminal statute or helped someone else to knowingly violate the law. Unless your attorney addresses these concerns, the concerns will convert into an indictment.
Once a respected attorney informs the government that you are in the care of an attorney and represented, with it typically comes the understanding that no agents will try to contact you, come to your house, or stop by at your business. Also, your fear of being arrested by surprise, at work or in front of your family, will go vanish as prosecutor and defense counsel will reach an agreement to not move forward with the case by surprise and without sufficient advanced notice.
Some cases do indeed result in a plea. However, if this happens in the aftermath of a target letter and you are represented by an attorney who understands how the system works and how to utilize the system to your advantage, one way to resolve federal cases is to waive an indictment. The general rule is that all felonies must be presented to a grand jury to authorize an indictment (formal charges). The exception is that your attorney will ask for a “plea to an information.” This way you agree to waive the grand jury process and at the same time already work out a favorable outcome.
As stated earlier, it is possible to avoid charges despite a target letter. Sometimes it takes strong advocating, sometimes it requires convincing the government that not you but someone else is culpable, and sometimes the presentation of our own evidence (e.g. emails, text messages, pictures, use of expert consultants etc.) will persuade prosecutors to discontinue an investigation.
One other aspect of early attorney intervention is to segregate a client from conspiracy charges. In a conspiracy, everyone is criminally liable for the acts of the co-conspirators. In a fraud case, for example, that can mean you are held responsible for millions of dollars when your own involvement is fairly minimal. Conspiracy charges are common in federal cases and may include:
- Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances (21 U.S.C. 841; 21 U.S.C. 846)
- Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering (18 U.S.C. 1357; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1344; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Tax Fraud (26 U.S.C. 7206; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Medicare Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1347; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Accept or Receive Illegal Kickbacks (42 U.S.C. 1320a-7(b)(b); 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. 1518, 1519; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Make False Statements Relating to Health Care Matters (18 U.S.C. 1035; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Healthcare Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1347; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Embezzlement in Connection with Health Care (18 U.S.C. 669; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Attempt or Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1349; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Medicaid Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1347; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Securities Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1348; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Unlawfully Use Health Information (42 U.S.C. 1320d-6; 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Use Identification Information (18 U.S.C. 1028(a)(7); 18 U.S.C. 371)
- Conspiracy to Commit Bribery (18 U.S.C. 201; 18 U.S.C. 371)
All these scenarios have a proactive, engaging dialogue as the only effective defense strategy in common. If you are interested in finding out how we can defend you and how we have helped other clients like you before, give us a call. Your case is important to us and the entire team will be on your side.
How Can I Get in Touch with Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and His Team?
Nothing is easier than getting in contact with Nick. All (214) 692-2171 will go directly to Nick’s -mobile phone and no secretary will delay your appointment by checking schedules. No junior lawyer or paralegal will take notes to then discuss your matter with Nick. From the moment you call, you will speak with Nick to get the assessment you need to sleep at night again.
Let Oberheiden P.C. Protect You and Your Business
Nothing should be more important to you right now than clearing your name, protecting your reputation, and taking care of your legal worries. Since these legal worries are unlikely going away by themselves or by mere passing of time, your best defense strategy is to do something now. Call Dr. Nick Oberheiden and his team to discuss your case. We are waiting for your call, including on weekends. Recent clients contacted us from:
- Miami, Florida
- West Palm Beach, Florida
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Orlando, Florida
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- Beaumont, Texas
- Atlanta, Georgia
- New Mexico
- Birmingham, Alabama
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- Fort Smith, Arkansas
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Denver, Colorado
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
Find Out Why Clients Trust Oberheiden, P.C. Today!
If you need to speak with a federal defense lawyer, please contact us to schedule a free and confidential case assessment. Members of our defense team are available 24/7, so calll (214) 692-2171 or request an appointment online now.