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How Do You Know You’re Under Federal Investigation?

May 26, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

One of the commonly asked questions in the legal fraternity is how one can know that they are under federal investigation. In this article, we shall look at some of the indications that the feds might be looking into something you are associated with.


Home visit


One of the common ways of knowing that you are under federal investigations is by getting a visit by federal agents in your home. When you hear a knock on your door, and you find people who identify themselves as federal agents and who would like to have a talked with you, this is an indication that you are under investigation. In most cases, federal agents will identify themselves before and interrogating you. If the agents are asking questions relating to something you could have done or interested in your personal life, it is an indication that they are after an offense that you could have committed.


Search Warrant


This is another very common method through which people can understand whether they are under investigation. If the police show up in your house or your premises with a search warrant, this is a clear indication that they are investigating a matter you might be involved in. If a search warrant is conducted in your premises, you should automatically know that the federal government is following your movements.




For a business organization, a business owner is likely to know that the business is under investigation when a subpoena is presented to the business by the federal agency, requiring the business to supply business records. Although a business owner might be a different entity from the business, in one way or another, you will be compelled to reply to the subpoena as the owner of that business.


OIG Meeting


For federal employees, a common way of knowing that they are under federal investigation is by communication from the Office of Inspector General. In most cases, agents from the office of the inspector general represent themselves in the workplace of the federal employee and say that they are conducting an investigation and would like to hear from the accused. In some places, the agents will require you to accompany them to the office from where and they will interrogate you.


Target Letter


When a federal prosecutor sends a letter little to person informing them that they are a target for investigation, that letter is known as a target letter. In most cases, the letter will request the accused to see the prosecutor for interrogation. In such cases, it is prudent to consider whether you should present yourself alone or seek the services of a lawyer.


Word on the Street


It is common for people to know that they are under investigation by a federal agency through the word on the street. Sometimes you might come across information that you are under investigation by the federal agency and decide to inform you. Hearing an investigation on your conduct is happening gives you an advantage of knowing in advance what is not yet revealed to you and can take necessary measures to avoid getting into anything considered illegal.


The federal investigation marks the beginning of a federal criminal justice process. In this step, federal agents are piecing together information that could help them conclude whether there has been a violation of the federal law. Federal investigations aim to come up with three conclusions. One it is to determine whether a federal crime was committed, who are responsible for the crime and what evidence is there to show that the crime was committed.


In federal investigations, the main actors are the Federal Bureau of Investigations agents. They are the people responsible for carrying out investigations by gathering evidence and interrogating witnesses. Federal agents work closely with federal prosecutors for a comprehensive investigation. The prosecutors give legal guidance to the agents in cases where subpoenas or search warrants are needed. Also, it is the role of the prosecutor to determine if there is sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges formally.


If you find yourself under federal investigation, one of the first steps to take is to obtain legal representation from a credible attorney. You shouldn’t inform anyone apart from your attorney about any issue related to the matter under investigation.



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