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Wisconsin Federal Target Letters

You Just Got a Federal Target Letter in Wisconsin – Here’s What to Do

What Is a Federal Target Letter?

In simple terms, a target letter is a notification from federal prosecutors that you are the target of a criminal investigation. It means the government believes they have substantial evidence linking you to a federal crime. The letter will likely state the general nature of the investigation and the agency involved, like the FBI, DEA, or IRS. It may also include a request for you to take certain actions, such as:

  • Testify before a grand jury
  • Meet with the prosecuting U.S. Attorney
  • Provide documents or evidence

Most importantly, the target letter signals that an indictment could be coming if the prosecutor can further build their case against you. Now you’re probably thinking – this sounds pretty serious, right? You’re not wrong. Receiving a target letter is definitely a big deal that requires your immediate attention. But here’s the key thing to understand: A target letter is not formal criminal charges or a conviction. It’s simply a notification that you are squarely in the government’s investigative crosshairs. The good news? By taking swift and strategic action, it may be possible to resolve the case before charges are ever filed. And that’s exactly what an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer like myself can help you do.

What Not to Do After Receiving a Target Letter

I’ve covered the crucial “dos” after getting a target letter. Now let me warn you about some of the biggest “don’ts” I always caution my clients against:

  • Do NOT speak to federal investigators or prosecutors without your lawyer present, no matter how small the discussion may seem. As I said, anything you say can potentially be used against you.
  • Do NOT destroy or conceal any documents, emails, mobile devices or other potential evidence. This can easily lead to additional obstruction charges on top of the original investigation.
  • Do NOT lie or mislead investigators if they do approach you before you’ve hired a lawyer. This can compound your legal troubles significantly.
  • Do NOT assume you can easily talk your way out of this situation on your own. Federal prosecutors are skilled and determined. You need an equally skilled defense attorney on your side.
  • Do NOT take a “wait and see” approach, hoping the investigation will just go away. It won’t. You need to take decisive action to defend yourself.

The bottom line is that from the moment you receive a target letter, you are in the federal government’s crosshairs. Any missteps could seriously jeopardize your freedom and your future.So the prudent path is to go into complete lockdown mode – remain silent, remove yourself from the situation, and allow an experienced federal criminal lawyer to take the lead.

Why Do Prosecutors Send Target Letters?

Federal prosecutors have a few different reasons for sending out target letters:

Investigation – The investigation is still ongoing, and the prosecutor wants to pressure you into cooperating by testifying or handing over evidence.
Negotiation – The letter is an opening move to get you to consider negotiating a plea deal or cooperation agreement.
Strategy – It’s a strategic tactic by the prosecutor to induce you into making incriminating statements or taking actions that could provide more evidence.
Rights Notification – The letter informs you of your constitutional rights, like the right to an attorney, in case you do decide to cooperate.While not legally required, target letters serve an important purpose for prosecutors building a case. But for you as the recipient, the letter represents a critical crossroads requiring careful navigation with legal counsel.

What Happens After You Get a Target Letter?

Once you receive a target letter, the situation can evolve quickly in a few different ways:

You Hire a Lawyer – This is the first and most crucial step. An experienced federal defense attorney takes the lead in strategizing next moves and dealing with investigators.
You Testify Before a Grand Jury – The target letter may instruct you to testify before a grand jury investigating the case. Your lawyer will prepare you for what to expect.
Negotiations Take Place – Your lawyer may negotiate with prosecutors for a pre-indictment resolution like a plea deal or cooperation agreement to avoid charges.
You Get Indicted – If negotiations break down, you may get indicted based on the evidence against you. This leads to an arrest and the start of criminal proceedings.
The Case Gets Dismissed – It’s also possible your lawyer could get the charges dismissed by poking holes in the prosecution’s case before an indictment is issued. As you can see, there are multiple potential paths after a target letter arrives. Having a skilled legal advocate is critical to navigating this maze and putting you in the best position for a favorable outcome.

What Are Common Federal Crimes Involved in Target Letters?

Target letters can be related to virtually any federal crime, but some of the most common include:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
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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.
Crime Category Examples
White-Collar Fraud Mail/Wire Fraud, Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Securities Fraud, Embezzlement
Public Corruption Bribery, Extortion, Racketeering
Drug Crimes Trafficking, Distribution, Conspiracy
Cyber Crimes Hacking, Identity Theft
Violent Crimes Firearms Violations, Terrorism

The key is that federal prosecutors believe they have substantial evidence tying you to one or more of these offenses. The target letter represents the first shot across the bow.

How an Experienced Lawyer Handles a Target Letter

At Spodek Law Group, our federal criminal defense attorneys have successfully guided countless clients through the target letter process. Here’s a look at our comprehensive strategy:

Initial Consultation – We start by meeting with you one-on-one to go over the letter in detail and learn about your situation. This allows us to formulate a customized legal strategy.
Evidence Review – Our team will thoroughly review all evidence the government has against you to identify strengths and weaknesses in their case.
Witness Interviews – We’ll track down and interview any potential witnesses that could provide exculpatory statements or testimony in your defense.
Pre-Charge Resolutions – Whenever possible, we’ll proactively work to negotiate for a pre-indictment resolution like a declination of prosecution or a favorable plea deal.
Motions and Dismissals – If charges get filed, we’ll file aggressive motions to suppress evidence, dismiss charges, or recuse prosecutors who have overstepped bounds.
Trial Preparation – If the case proceeds to trial, you can count on our team to craft a robust defense strategy and prepare you to take the stand if needed.
Sentencing Advocacy – In the event of a conviction, we’ll fight hard for you to receive the absolute minimum penalties available under the law. Our sole objective is securing the best possible outcome for you – whether that means avoiding charges entirely or minimizing potential consequences. We leave no stone unturned in your defense.

What If I Don’t Respond to the Target Letter?

It can be tempting to just ignore the target letter and hope the whole situation goes away. But we strongly advise against this for a few key reasons:

  • The investigation won’t stop and will likely intensify without your participation
  • Prosecutors could view your silence as an admission of guilt
  • You’ll lose the opportunity to influence the direction of the investigation
  • If charges get filed, your defense options become much more limited

While responding is not legally required, it’s typically in your best interests to be proactive under the guidance of a lawyer. Pushing back against the allegations shows you are taking the matter seriously.

What If I Simply Didn’t Commit a Crime?

Even if you are 100% convinced of your innocence, you should still take a target letter extremely seriously. The federal government wouldn’t go through the process of sending a letter unless they had some evidence implicating you. It could be that you simply did not see the bus. It could be that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could be that someone is falsely accusing you. It could be a misunderstanding. Regardless of the circumstances, you need to vigorously defend yourself and assert your innocence through legal channels. Trying to go it alone is a recipe for disaster against the vast resources of federal prosecutors. An experienced defense lawyer knows how to effectively counter the government’s evidence and allegations. They give you the best chance at clearing your name when you truly did nothing wrong.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Federal Target Letter?

The costs of hiring a private federal criminal defense lawyer after receiving a target letter can vary significantly depending on factors like:

  • The law firm’s experience and reputation
  • The complexity of your case
  • Whether the case goes to trial
  • Your geographic location

That said, be prepared for potential legal fees ranging anywhere from $25,000 on the low end to over $100,000 for a protracted, complex case.While not cheap, this investment in your freedom and future is absolutely critical when facing federal charges. Public defenders are overworked and underpaid – you need a private lawyer devoted fulltime to your defense. Many firms offer flexible payment plans to make hiring them more affordable. You can also explore sources like equity loans against your home’s value.The bottom line: Don’t let cost discourage you from getting the legal representation you need and deserve. Your entire life could be at stake.

What If I Can’t Afford a Lawyer?

For those who truly cannot afford a private attorney, you do have the option of requesting a public defender or court-appointed lawyer. This is a constitutional right. However, be aware that public defenders often juggle hundreds of cases at once. You may not get the personalized attention and aggressive advocacy that a private firm can provide.If hiring a private lawyer is completely out of reach, a public defender is better than no lawyer at all when dealing with federal charges. Just understand the limitations upfront.

Why Hire the Spodek Law Group?

Most law firms implement a cookie cutter strategy in order to fight your case, and save their own time. They don’t look carefully at your situation – they simply want to move on to the next case.At Spodek Law Group, we leave no stone unturned. We do everything possible to win. Everything we do is focused on getting you results.We understand the difficulties and challenges of going through a case. If you’re accused of a crime, schedule a consultation with our criminal attorneys today. Sometimes prosecutors will only be fair if you respond with force to them. Without an attorney advising you, you might accidentally plead guilty when you could’ve won the case.The only way to truly know is to hire a private criminal defense attorney. At Spodek Law Group – we pride ourselves on taking a hands-on approach. It means researching the exact situation surrounding your case, and putting in the leg work to be familiar with every single intimate detail.

Our firm has excellent work ethics, and we constantly hold firm meetings in order to discuss and address all of our cases. In the event of an emergency – we have a full team of lawyers available to help you. Regardless of how tough your situation is – we are here to help you. Our criminal defense lawyers work hard to have a solution for you, irrespective of the situation you find yourself in. Many clients are often embarrassed by their situation, and don’t speak openly about their alleged issue. We encourage open dialogue, and recommend full transparency – so we can give you the best possible legal advice. The Spodek Law Group handles cases nationwide. Give us a call today at 212-210-1851 or schedule a free consultation online. 
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