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Does the FBI send federal target letters?

Did you receive a federal target letter? Speak to our attorneys today. 

Let’s Talk About FBI Federal Target Letters

The term: Target Letter; you probably have heard the term “target letter” in movies or the news, but what does it mean? Target letters are notices sent by investigators and agencies, such as the FBI, to people during investigations. If you get a target letter, this means you are under scrutiny and being watched – in an ongoing federal probe. It’s a serious issue. In almost all situations, you will want to hire a federal defense attorney who can represent you in the target letter. The goal of this article is to discuss FBI target letters, what FBI target letters mean, legal considerations when you get one, and guidance on responding to FBI target letters.

What is a FBI Target Letter?

FBI target letters are an official notice from the DOJ or FBI letting you know that you are under investigation for committing a federal offense. You have not been convicted; but you are under investigation, in a serious manner. This letter is most commonly sent in the following situations:

  • White collar crime investigations – e.g. fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion
  • Public corruption probes – e.g. bribery, extortion, RICO charges
  • National security matters – e.g. terrorism, espionage
  • Drug trafficking and organized crime cases

You can receive a FBI target letter if the FBI wants you to cooperate as an informant, testify before in front of a grand jury, or confess to criminal activity. It all depends on the situation you’re in. The FBI target letter is indicative of the fact that investigators have substantial evidence implicating you in a federal crime.

What Are Key Components of an FBI Federal Target Letter

Target letters have certain common features that communicate who they are from, and their purpose:

  • Sent on DOJ/FBI letterhead
  • Addressed directly to you, the target of the investigation
  • Notify you that you are the subject of an ongoing federal probe
  • Overview of potential charges being considered
  • Request for a response within a certain timeframe
  • Contact information for investigators

The FBI target letter is looking to entice targets to cooperate with prosecutors via promises of leniency. But you should be aware that any statements you give may be used against you.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
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
2024-03-18
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
2024-03-18
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
2024-03-15
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
2024-03-15
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
2024-03-12
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
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
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
2024-02-24
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.

How Does the FBI Decide Who Gets Federal Target Letters?

Receiving a FBI target letter is indicative of the fact that investigators have identified you as a key suspect or “target” in an active case. This targeting decision is based on:

  • Evidence the agency got through search warrants, surveillance, or subpoenas
  • Testimony the agency got from witnesses or informants identifying you in criminal activity
  • Communications the agency intercepted through wiretaps suggesting your involvement
  • Financial records, documents, or digital evidence tying you to a federal offense

You will get a target letter letter if the FBI has cause that you committed, or have assisted, with crimes under investigation. Higher level suspects get letters first in hopes they will provide evidence against additional co-conspirators.

What Legal Rights Do FBI Target Letter Recipients Have?

Targets of federal probes have certain legal rights:

  • Right to an attorney – You have the right, in the USA, to an experienced criminal defense counsel immediately to engage with prosecutors on your behalf. Do not forgo this right.
  • Right against self-incrimination – You are allowed to invoke the 5th Amendment in order to remain silent, rather than confess your guilt or testify before a grand jury.
  • Right to privacy – You have the right to keep the the FBI target letter confidential rather than revealing it to anyone.

The most important thing you can do, at this junction, is to promptly retain a federal criminal defense lawyer to protect your interests. Federal criminal defense attorneys can negotiate with prosecutors, seek information, assert your rights, and undermine the government’s case – but only if you hire one in a timely manner.

Responding Cautiously

Here are some tips if you get a FBI target letter:

  • You must contact your attorney immediately and have them handle the response.
  • You should not disclose receipt of the letter to anyone other than your lawyer.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to meet with investigators, testify, or provide statements.
  • Understand that any statements you make, even denying guilt, can aid prosecutors.
  • Be aware you likely are under surveillance, so avoid actions that could inflame suspicions.
  • Preserve all communications, documents, and evidence relating to the allegations.

Respond carefully and strategically based on counsel’s guidance to avoid accidentally enabling the government’s case against you as the investigation unfolds.

Next Steps After Getting a Target Letter

Receiving FBI target letter means your freedom and reputation are on the line in a high-stakes federal probe. Here are important next steps:

  1. Contact a defense lawyer – An experienced federal criminal attorney is critical to defend your rights.
  2. Assess the allegations – Work with counsel to examine the potential charges and evidence against you.
  3. Weigh proffers and cooperation – Decide on your lawyer’s advice whether to cooperate as a witness or remain silent.
  4. Begin building your defense – Your lawyer can start contesting allegations, undermining witness credibility, and developing counter evidence.
  5. Expect follow-up requests – Prosecutors will likely subpoena you before a grand jury and/or propose a plea bargain to elicit your cooperation. Work through your lawyer to strategically respond.
  6. Determine trial viability – Gauge the amount and strength of evidence and determine if fighting charges at trial is a viable strategy or if a plea is advisable.

The intensive phase happens after you receive a target letter. Do not go it alone. An experienced federal criminal defense attorney can help you and give you guidance and represent you in order to make sure the justice system doesn’t unfairly prosecute you. 

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RAJESH BARUA

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