Many financial actions taken by companies could be subject to federal investigation. For example, money laundering—receiving money from a source that did not lawfully earn it—is a common cause for federal financial crime investigations of companies in Charleston. Businesses that have any sort of financial disclosure obligations in banking, stocks, or bond offerings could also be at risk of investigation if there is anything improper with the disclosures.

To keep from being prosecuted, an experienced legal team is the best defense against financial crime allegations. Federal agents often hide true intentions and use subtle tactics to obtain the information they need, so it is critical to understand your rights if you suspect your company is being looked at for financial crimes. A skilled criminal defense attorney could further explain what Charleston companies in federal financial crime investigations should expect.

How to Determine if a Company is Under Federal Investigation

Unfortunately, there is nothing a legitimate business owner can do to prevent an investigation. Those who comply with all the rules and regulations minimize their chances of government scrutiny, but even a company that does everything by the books could be investigated. For instance, a disgruntled former employee could make an unfounded accusation. Alternatively, bad business deals are often viewed in hindsight as being fraudulent even if there was no criminal activity involved. Any number of scenarios could lead to a company and its senior executives to be under scrutiny.

Federal agencies may or may not notify a company of any pending investigations against them. If employees or records are subpoenaed, or if company workers are approached by agents requesting interviews, this is a strong sign of an ongoing federal investigation. However, the government can begin investigating and gathering information on a targeted company long before reaching out to them. Whether or not the federal agency officially informs a company that they are under investigation for financial crimes depends on the specific situation.

If a company suspects they are under investigation based on contact from federal agents or subpoenaed bank records, it is recommended that they seek legal advice from a local attorney. The earlier an attorney is aware of a federal financial crime allegation, the better prepared they can be to navigate the investigation successfully.

Reasons for a Federal Business Investigation

Some common violations by companies in Charleston that may lead to a federal financial crime investigation include money laundering, financial fraud, and counterfeiting. However, a business owner does not have to have criminal intentions or even participate in illegal proceedings for their company to be federally investigated.

Fraudulent Business Deals

Bad business deals can create risk of later investigations. Every business deal involves winners and losers, but bad business deals can lead to criminal investigations because they may involve disgruntled parties. When a deal goes bust, those impacted may want the federal authorities or the South Carolina State Grand Jury to investigate to see if there was any fraud involved. However, bad deals are not always criminal.

When people begin pointing fingers, a diligent attorney could put a business deal into context and help federal agencies understand the decisions that were made. An appropriate risk in a business setting is not fraudulent behavior, and a federal financial crimes lawyer could defend companies against such allegations.

Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility means that when a business is publicly traded, there is an obligation to prepare financial reports that are accurate. This includes complete explanations of various risk factors that could impact the financial well-being of the company.

Although somewhat rare, a senior executive could be held responsible for the financial errors of a department under their management. A federal financial crimes attorney could advocate in defense of a company’s senior executive if they are accused of approving inaccurate or fraudulent financial statements.

Securities and Exchange Commission

If a company is being investigated for fraud in stock or bond disclosure, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may be involved. This agency regulates the stock and bond office and prosecutes related financial crimes along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They may also seek civil remedies to federal financial crimes investigations, but these resolutions can often resemble criminal prosecution.

Call a Charleston Attorney to Discuss Companies in Federal Financial Crime Investigations

Going to federal court can seriously impact a company’s public image. Generally, a company is harmed by merely being charged with financial crimes, even if the company and its owners are innocent. Businesses under investigation at any point in the process, from receiving initial contact from federal agents to being formally charged with a crime, should contact a criminal defense firm immediately.

Company executives in Charleston, may feel as if they have nothing to hide from a federal financial crime investigations, but to avoid risk it is important that you get proper legal guidance before speaking with any government agents. In many situations, during a criminal investigation the target company and its employees should be represented by different defense attorneys. Contact a local defense attorney today if your company has received notice of a financial crime investigation, or if you suspect a federal agency is investigating your company.