Being investigated by regulatory agencies or private parties as part of a lawsuit can be very frightening. All too often, individuals who find themselves in this position make one of three mistakes:
- They fail to secure counsel that is well-versed in these areas,
- They rely on themselves, or
- They rely on bad advice by uninformed counsel to take a wait-and-see approach.
If you are facing criminal charges, or have been charged with a crime, being proactive is critical.
How do you know if you may be charged with a crime? Often, you have been a defendant in a civil lawsuit or targeted by regulatory agencies based on allegations that clearly support a criminal charge. If the allegations involve acts such as fraud, bribery-kickbacks, false medical billings, or securities violations, it is imperative that you retain the assistance of a criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible opportunity. Why? For example, federal regulatory agencies (like the SEC and the CFTC) and private contractors who handle Medicare billing have either obligatory or discretionary referral obligations to the federal prosecuting offices like the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice. State agencies like the California Bureau of Real Estate (which investigates real estate professionals) will refer instances of real estate and mortgage fraud to local and federal prosecutors. Once the case is referred to federal prosecutors by one of these agencies or contractors, the client’s priorities must shift to encompass the possibility of facing criminal charges because of the very real threat that such charges will be brought.
Unfortunately, it is not unusual for criminal defense lawyers to inherit a criminal indictment after either the civil case or the regulatory action has been resolved and the defendant has made statements in an effort to resolve these matters that will be used against him in the federal prosecution. These resolutions often take place after the regulatory agency with whom the client has settled has made the referral to the federal prosecutor. Uninformed counsel will not only run up fees in the defense of these civil and regulatory actions, but will fail to appreciate the dire consequence of the follow-up indictment which, upon conviction, can carry significant prison time, fines, and mandatory restitution obligations.
At the Torrance criminal defense office of Robinson Kardon, we use our vast experience to gauge the likelihood of a referral to a prosecuting agency at the outset. We work closely with civil and regulatory counsel to provide global protection in these situations. Where it is clear that an indictment is imminent, we ensure that our clients do not incriminate themselves in either the civil or regulatory action so that they can either stand and fight the indictment at trial or successfully reach a global resolution.
For more information, or to discuss your potential case, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys today.