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Don't let an honest mistake lead to self incrimination

No one has to wait to be charged with a crime to seek legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney. In fact, many people wait too long before they begin taking steps to protect themselves, and consequently they may say things that effectively help investigators build a case.

In financial crime investigations, the stakes are high, and without the help of legal counsel, those suspected of violations run the risk of misstating details, forgetting important information and not knowing the law when knowledge of the law counts the most. Unfortunately, honest mistakes can result in criminal charges, which in turn can lead to the loss of a person's rights and freedom.

It is possible for prosecutors in white-collar crime cases to use honest or mistaken statements in an effort to show that an accused person is lying. Too often, people who are under investigation for insider trading, mortgage fraud, banking fraud and other complex criminal offenses try to answer investigators' questions without the presence of an attorney who can protect the suspected individual from self incrimination.

After all, statements taken out of context may seem to suggest bad intent, which is what the prosecution needs to prove to obtain a conviction. There may not have been bad intent, however, and in many cases, there are numerous misunderstandings about the questions posed and how they were answered. In other cases, investigators intentionally misrepresent and dubiously connect statements made in interviews.

For people who have never been investigated in connection with a serious crime, the reality of the situation is difficult to fathom. Anyone going through that experience should seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

If you have questions about defending against allegations of financial crimes, then our criminal defense website may prove helpful.