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I Received a DOJ, U.S. Attorney, or FBI Target Letter… Now What?

Man reading FBI target letters

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There are two ways to look at an FBI target letter

The obvious way is to see the seriousness of its message; after all, Federal Bureau of Investigation target letters essentially announce upcoming federal charges and give you the first indication that you are part of a federal criminal investigation.

The other way, the way Oberheiden PC attorneys treat FBI target letters, is to see them as an invitation by the federal government to discuss and resolve the allegations. Typically, each FBI target letter concludes with a request to contact the federal prosecutors—and that is exactly what we do and how Oberheiden PC attorneys have avoided criminal charges in a variety of federal investigation matters including conspiracy charges, tax fraud, and healthcare fraud. If federal agents serve you an FBI target letter, please call the experienced attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. to find out:

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 in the federal criminal justice system 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 (including with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Drug Enforcement Administration, and other federal agencies) define our client commitment and level of service. Our federal cases include:

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 do You Need to Know About Federal Target Letters?

In federal investigations, the federal government has several options to inform targets of the existence of an investigation.

Attorney Nick Oberheiden
FBI Target Letter Defense Team Lead

What is important to know about an FBI target letter (compared to a search warrant or an arrest) is that a target letter is 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 an FBI 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 and instead choose to send a target letter. 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 criminal defense attorney a lot about the status of the investigation, the presence or absence of substantial evidence, 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 (and whether there’s substantial evidence linking you to the investigation) the government thinks they have against you.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Proven Defense Strategies Against Target Letters from the FBI, DOJ and U.S. Attorney Office

First off, the advice many lawyers will render if you’ve received an FBI target letter, is 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 with federal crimes, they will do so unless something happens that will change their mind. Sitting it out when you’ve received an FBI target letter is not a known defense tool, at least not in federal cases.

Instead, it is about perception in government investigations. If a federal prosecutor sends you a target letter in the mail rather than sending 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 law, criminal statute, or helped someone else to knowingly violate the law. Unless your attorney addresses these concerns, the concerns will convert into an indictment in front of a federal grand jury in federal court.

No Arrest

Once a respected attorney informs the government or federal agency that you are in the care of a federal defense lawyer 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.

No Indictment

Some cases do indeed result in a plea. However, if this happens in the aftermath of an FBI target letter and you are represented by a federal criminal defense 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 by grand jury. The general rule is that all felonies must be presented to a federal 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 investigation and process and at the same time already work out a favorable outcome.

No Charges

As stated earlier, it is possible to avoid charges despite having received an FBI target letter. Sometimes it takes strong advocacy, sometimes it requires convincing the government that not you but someone else is culpable, and sometimes the presence of our own sufficient evidence (e.g. emails, text messages, pictures, use of knowledgeable consultants etc.) will persuade prosecutors to discontinue an investigation.

No Conspiracy

One other aspect of early attorney intervention regarding FBI target letters 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:

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.

FBI Target Letter Defense Lawyer

How Can I Get in Touch with Attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden and His Team Regarding my Target Letter?

Nothing is easier than getting in contact with Nick. All 888-680-1745 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 to go away by themselves or by the 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:

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 call 888-680-1745 or request an appointment online now.

FBI Target Letter? We Can Help!

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