New and Existing Federal Investigations Stall Including Fraud and Other Criminal Complaints Before the DOJ
We’ve all seen the “Expect Delays” signs when driving through a snow storm or road construction. When it comes to the white collar docket, the writing is on the wall. This includes federal investigations of fraud and other such criminal complaints whether they are new or already in process. Why?
The short answer is everything has changed over the past weeks and the court system is certainly not immune in these unprecedented times. Judges and lawyers are working from home. Grand and trial juries cannot meet. Law enforcement is unable to search homes and present subpoenas onsite at businesses. Evidence presentation and indictments are at a standstill nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current shutdown is hitting every state and its impact affects federal fraud cases at every stage. Those cases well underway will most likely be granted on-going continuances. However for those investigations that are early on, the DOJ will be stymied it their ability to dig deep and pull all the records needed to prosecute fraud cases. This research can take weeks or longer even during normal times. With the private sector primarily closed down, offices inaccessible and staff resources limited due to layoffs and furloughs, producing records is far lower on the to do list.
As the governors and legislators begin talks of re-opening, what is likely to happen in the case of federal fraud investigations? The DOJ is already planning ahead. When it comes to existing matters, delay is the key word whether it be the resolution or adjudication of previously indicted cases.
There will also be new cases. When disasters happen whether a hurricane, forest fire or health crisis like today, the genuine acts of heroism are often matched with individuals and companies that take advantage of the situation. This leads to a potential rise in federal fraud investigations. The Coronavirus is not immune as late last month, there was already a case brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. The DOJ clearly stated its plan to rigorously prosecute COVID-19 fraud-related matters.
The result: Fraud may be pushed to the back of the line, but the investigations will not go away.
If you are charged or being investigated for a white collar crime or have general questions regarding criminal prosecutions at this time, you should seek experienced legal counsel. To schedule a confidential consultation with
the attorneys at Neff & Sedacca, P.C., contact the firm by phone at 215-563-9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.