24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Philadelphia Federal Criminal Investigations: Grand Juries, FBI, DEA, IRS

Introduction to Federal Investigations in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a significant federal law enforcement presence, with multiple agencies conducting criminal investigations in the city every year. Key agencies involved include the FBI, DEA, IRS Criminal Investigation, and federal prosecutors who utilize investigative grand juries.
This article provides an overview of federal criminal investigations in Philadelphia – how they work, key laws, defenses, outcomes, and more. We’ll cover the role of grand juries, FBI investigations, DEA drug probes, and IRS financial crime inquiries. My goal is to explain the federal criminal justice process in Philly in an easy-to-understand way.

Federal Grand Juries

Federal grand juries are an important investigative tool used by Assistant US Attorneys (federal prosecutors) in Philadelphia. They utilize the grand jury to gather evidence and determine if charges should be brought in complex cases.

How Federal Grand Juries Work

Federal grand juries have up to 23 members selected from regular citizen rolls. They hear testimony and review evidence in secret. The grand jury doesn’t determine guilt or innocence – just probable cause.
If the grand jury believes probable cause exists that a person committed a federal crime, they will return an indictment – formal charges allowing a case to move forward to trial. An indictment often motivates defendants to seek a plea bargain.
Key laws governing federal grand jury practice include the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 6 and the Jury Selection and Service Act.

Secrecy of Federal Grand Juries

Federal grand jury proceedings are secret. Participants cannot discuss anything that happens with an unauthorized party. Only the prosecutor, grand jurors, interpreter, court reporter and witness being questioned are allowed to be present.
Secrecy makes witnesses more comfortable testifying and prevents possible defendants from being tipped off. Per Rule 6(e), anyone violating grand jury secrecy faces contempt of court charges.
However, critics argue excessive secrecy undermines public confidence in the process and accountability. Some advocate reforms like allowing defense witness testimony or public release of transcripts later on.

Challenging a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

If you receive a federal grand jury subpoena, you must appear to testify or produce records requested. But there are sometimes grounds to challenge or limit the subpoena. An attorney can file a motion to quash or modify the subpoena if it requests privileged, unnecessary or unreasonable materials.

Grand Jury Outcomes

Federal grand juries in Philadelphia return hundreds of indictments each year. For example, the 2021 annual court report shows 513 new indictments initiated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (which includes Philadelphia).
If indicted, you then face federal criminal charges. Often defendants choose to plead guilty and negotiate more lenient sentencing. If no indictment is returned, the investigation typically ends without charges filed.

FBI Investigations in Philadelphia

The FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office is very active investigating federal crimes like public corruption, financial fraud, terrorism, organized crime, civil rights violations and more.

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.

Types of FBI Investigations

FBI agents in Philadelphia spend significant time investigating:

  • Public corruption – Investigating Philadelphia elected officials and government employees for bribery, extortion, embezzlement and more.
  • Financial and corporate fraud – Probing large white collar crimes like securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, money laundering, and other complex financial schemes.
  • Violent crime – Addressing bank robberies, kidnappings, fugitives, crimes crossing state lines under FBI jurisdiction.
  • Civil rights – Unlawful police misconduct and hate crimes.
  • Organized crime and drugs – Italian mafia, trafficking rings and other criminal enterprises.
  • Terrorism and counterintelligence – Preventing domestic and international terrorist plots.

The FBI uses various sophisticated investigative techniques like electronic surveillance (wiretaps), undercover operations, informants, sting operations, and global intelligence capabilities.

Key FBI Investigation Laws

FBI agents have broad authority to investigate federal crimes nationwide. Key laws empowering FBI investigations include:

  • Attorney General Guidelines – Govern FBI law enforcement authority and use of sensitive techniques.
  • Title III Wiretap Statute – Allows electronic surveillance of communications in serious federal cases.
  • Federal Material Witness Statute – Permits detaining witnesses with material testimony who might flee.

Critics argue laws like the Patriot Act give intelligence agencies too much unchecked power to intrude into personal privacy. But the FBI says authorities help prevent terrorism and crimes in an increasingly digital world.

Possible Defenses in an FBI Investigation

If you learn you are under FBI investigation, potential legal defenses to explore with your attorney include:

  • Lack of criminal intent – Argue you acted in good faith without intent to break the law.
  • Entrapment – Claim overzealous law enforcement induced you to commit a crime you wouldn’t otherwise.
  • Unlawful search violations – Seek to suppress evidence from an illegal search.
  • Miranda violations – Suppress statements taken without Miranda warnings.

An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can carefully analyze the case facts and applicable law to craft an effective defense.

Outcomes of FBI Investigations

Possible outcomes of FBI probes in Philadelphia include:

  • Criminal prosecution – If evidence merits, the Justice Department charges crimes in federal court.
  • Civil injunction or forfeitures – The FBI may seek a court order banning unlawful activity or seizing assets.
  • Administrative disciplinary referrals – For government employees violating policies.
  • Closing investigations without action – If allegations are unfounded.

Much depends on the strength of evidence and prosecutorial discretion. Defendants often seek plea bargains to avoid harsh mandatory minimum sentences.

DEA Drug Investigations

The DEA has a strong presence in Philadelphia probing illegal drug trafficking organizations. They target dealers and upper-level cartel members.

Focus of DEA Investigations

The DEA concentrates investigations on:

  • Cocaine, heroin and opioid trafficking
  • Marijuana distribution rings
  • Prescription drug diversion schemes
  • Money laundering operations
  • Drug-related violence and firearms offenses

They work big complex conspiracy cases in cooperation with the FBI, IRS, Homeland Security Investigations, and local law enforcement drug task forces.

DEA Investigative Tools and Methods

To infiltrate trafficking groups, the DEA uses wiretaps, global intelligence sharing, informants, undercover agents, controlled buys, vehicle tracking, phone data analysis, and surveillance.
Key laws authorizing DEA powers include the Controlled Substances Act and Title III wiretap statute. Critics argue mandatory minimums and asset forfeiture give agents too much leverage.

Defending Against DEA Charges

If facing DEA charges, possible defenses include:

  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Entrapment by overzealous DEA operatives
  • Lack of knowledge or intent
  • Unreliable informants
  • Miranda violations

Skilled federal defense attorneys can analyze DEA investigation flaws and negotiate better plea deals or trial verdicts. But lengthy mandatory minimum sentences incentivize cooperating.

Outcomes of DEA Probes

Over 2,000 drug arrests flow from DEA Philly investigations each year. Outcomes include:

  • Criminal prosecution of trafficking, distribution, firearms charges
  • Civil asset forfeiture litigation to seize cash, vehicles, property
  • Pre-trial diversion programs or cooperation deals
  • Possible agency referrals for license revocation

Many cases end in plea bargains with defendants cooperating against higher-ups to earn sentencing leniency. Intense enforcement aims to curb the opioid crisis claiming thousands of lives.

IRS Criminal Investigations in Philadelphia

IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) probes complex financial crimes and money laundering in Philadelphia, coordinating with the FBI, DEA and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Types of IRS Criminal Cases

IRS CI focuses on busting:

  • Tax fraud schemes – Not reporting income, phony deductions, identity theft, offshore accounts, etc.
  • Money laundering and unlicensed money remitting
  • Terrorist financing and transnational financial crimes
  • Cryptocurrency crimes
  • Sophisticated cyber-enabled frauds

IRS CI brings financial expertise and data analysis tools to federal task forces targeting drug cartels, fraud rings, corruption, and terror groups.

Laws Governing IRS Criminal Authority

Key laws include:

Critics argue vague rules and extreme punishments give IRS CI too much power without accountability. But agents say complex crimes demand updated laws.

Defending Against IRS Criminal Charges

If facing IRS CI charges, possible defenses include:

  • Lack of knowledge or intent
  • Good faith misunderstandings
  • Unreliable informants
  • Illegal IRS investigative tactics
  • Miranda violations

Skilled tax crime attorneys can spot issues and negotiate better outcomes for defendants facing severe sentences.

Outcomes of IRS Criminal Investigations

IRS CI probes can lead to:

  • Tax evasion, false return, and currency charges
  • Forfeitures of cash, assets purchased with dirty money
  • Revocation of professional licenses
  • Jeopardizing immigration status
  • Restitution to tax authorities

The government prioritizes cases with sizable tax losses, unreported foreign assets, and money laundering allegations. Many defendants end up pleading out.

Schedule Your Consultation Now