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Takeaways From Sample and Example Federal Target Letters

March 21, 2024

Takeaways From Sample and Example Federal Target Letters

Receiving a federal target letter can be an intimidating experience. This type of letter indicates that you are under investigation by a federal agency like the FBI, DEA, or IRS. The letter typically states that the government has evidence linking you to a potential crime. While scary, a target letter also presents an opportunity to avoid formal criminal charges. With the help of an experienced federal defense attorney, many people are able to resolve target letter investigations without an indictment.

Here are some key takeaways when dealing with a federal target letter:

Don’t Panic

The letter is meant to get your attention–and it works! But don’t let fear cause you to act irrationally. A target letter does not necessarily mean you will be criminally charged. Take a breath and focus on smart next steps.

Say Nothing

You have the right to remain silent. Do not speak to investigators without an attorney present. Anything you say can be used against you, even if you are trying to explain your innocence.

Hire an Attorney Immediately

Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a target letter. An experienced federal defense attorney can advise you on your rights, review the government’s evidence, and guide your response.

Take It Seriously

While a target letter alone does not guarantee criminal charges, it does indicate the government is seriously investigating you. Retaining counsel shows you take the matter seriously.

Respond Carefully

With your attorney’s help, thoughtfully consider how to respond. Providing information voluntarily could be risky. But ignoring the letter altogether could anger investigators.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Explore Resolution

In some cases, it may be advantageous to negotiate a resolution prior to formal charges. An attorney can engage with prosecutors to see if a deal can be reached.

Don’t Obstruct

Be careful not to destroy evidence or obstruct the investigation, which could lead to additional charges.

Get Support

The situation can take an emotional toll. Confide in trusted friends and family. Your attorney can also connect you with resources.

While every case is different, following these guidelines will put you in a stronger position when contending with a federal target letter. An experienced lawyer can provide the insight and advocacy needed to overcome this challenge.

How Target Letters Are Delivered

There are a few different ways you may receive a target letter:

  • Certified mail – The letter will require a signature confirming receipt.
  • Hand delivery – An agent may personally deliver the letter and have you sign.
  • Email – Some letters are now sent electronically.

Regardless of delivery method, take the letter seriously and follow the steps above.

Why Prosecutors Issue Target Letters

There are several reasons prosecutors send target letters:

  • Inform you that you are under investigation
  • Notify you of potential charges
  • Request you take some action (e.g. testify, meet with investigators)
  • Encourage retaining legal counsel
  • Prompt cooperation with the investigation

While not legally required, target letters can help prosecutors build cases and avoid surprises down the road.

Target vs. Subject

There is an important distinction between being a target versus a subject:

  • Target – Prosecutors have substantial evidence linking you to a crime.
  • Subject – You may have information related to a crime but are not believed to have committed it.

Subjects sometimes become targets as more evidence is uncovered. If you receive a letter identifying you as a target, it signals significant suspicion of criminal activity.

Crimes That Prompt Target Letters

While any federal crime can warrant a target letter, common examples include:

  • Securities fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Bribery
  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering
  • Medicare/Medicaid fraud
  • Drug trafficking

White collar crimes like fraud are routine sources of target letters, but letters can relate to any federal offense.

Responding to a Target Letter

Here are steps your attorney may take in response to a target letter:

  • Contact prosecutors to open up a dialogue
  • Work to negotiate a favorable resolution pre-indictment
  • Avoid voluntary interviews with investigators
  • Assert your Fifth Amendment rights
  • Review the evidence and potential defenses
  • Discuss the possibility of cooperating, if appropriate

The key is developing a strategic response rather than acting rashly. An attorney experienced with target letters can craft the right approach.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Target Letter

It may be tempting to disregard a target letter, but that is not advisable. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore it:

  • The investigation will proceed with or without your cooperation
  • Remaining silent could prompt prosecutors to take a more aggressive stance
  • An indictment could broadside you if you fail to engage
  • You lose the opportunity to advocate your position
  • Any defense will be tougher post-indictment

While a target letter is not to be dismissed, neither is it a definitive condemnation. Retaining counsel promptly allows you to thoughtfully navigate the situation.

Potential Defenses

Depending on the circumstances, possible defenses may include:

  • Lack of criminal intent – You made an honest mistake rather than willfully violating the law.
  • Entrapment – The government induced you to commit a crime you otherwise wouldn’t.
  • Self-defense – Your actions protected yourself or others from harm.
  • Duress – You were coerced into activity under threat.
  • Statute of limitations – Too much time has passed since the alleged crime.

An experienced lawyer can evaluate defenses and craft the most advantageous strategy.

Getting Support

Being under federal investigation can negatively impact mental health and relationships. It’s important to have support systems in place. Consider:

  • Talking to trusted friends and family
  • Seeking counseling or therapy
  • Joining a support group of others going through similar circumstances
  • Relying on your faith community
  • Making time for self-care through exercise, hobbies, etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask your attorney to connect you with resources as well. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Contact a Federal Defense Lawyer Today

Receiving a target letter from a U.S. Attorney or federal agency marks the beginning of a serious legal battle. But with an experienced attorney guiding you, it does not have to be the end. A skilled lawyer can stand up to the government on your behalf and work to achieve the best possible outcome. Don’t wait to get counsel on your side.

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