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DC Federal Conspiracy Investigations

Federal law enforcement agencies typically have significant resources behind them. Federal investigations could use wiretaps, confidential informants, and subpoenas, while state-level investigations typically have fewer resources and might not have the full arsenal of techniques at their disposal.

A person who is subject to DC federal conspiracy investigations could benefit from consulting a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Lawyers could explain a person’s legal options when facing charges that may leave a significant impact on their lives.

Law Enforcement Agencies that Might be Involved in Federal Conspiracy Investigations

The type of federal conspiracy investigation in Washington DC typically dictates which law enforcement agencies take part in it. For example, if a conspiracy investigation involves the trafficking of narcotics, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may participate. If the case concerns healthcare fraud, the FBI or the Inspector General’s Office for Health and Human Services might take part in the investigation. When a case is related to trade military secrets, agents from the FBI or agents from the Department of Defense could have a role in the investigation.

When May Government Officials Talk to a Person’s Employer?

DC law enforcement officers may speak to a person’s employer close to the end of a federal conspiracy investigation. If an employer is contacted, there is the possibility that the employer might inform the target. Law enforcement agencies typically do not want an individual to know they are under investigation. If the officials want the person to know, they might question them earlier in the investigation.

Are People More Likely to be Released on Bail or Their Own Recognizance?

In federal cases, it is typically more difficult to be released from detention. It could depend on the type of case and whether the case involves the allegation of violence. Conspiracy to commit securities fraud, or most other white-collar cases, do not involve physical violence. This could make it easier for someone to be released pending the resolution of the case. Two main factors that may determine whether someone should be released from detention could include:

  • The individual’s potential danger to the community
  • Their potential risk of flight

When it is determined that someone is not a danger to the community, it could be easier for them to be released. The judge could also consider the person’s risk of flight when making a determination of release pending a criminal conspiracy case. If the individual is a U.S. citizen, has a stable, long-term residence, and a family in the United States, this could lead to the determination that they are not a flight risk. If someone is not a U.S. citizen and is a green card holder, it may be difficult for them to be released no matter how long they have been in the United States.

Elements of a Conspiracy Charge

In most conspiracy cases, the government must prove there was an agreement to do something illegal and a minimum of one overt act was done in furtherance of the conspiracy. The prosecutor must also prove the elements of the specific substantive offense that is a subject of the charge. For example, to prove conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, the prosecutor must demonstrate an agreement to do something illegal, an overt act, and the elements of healthcare fraud. A well-practiced federal conspiracy attorney could help a person understand what evidence the authorities could use in DC investigations.

Proving Intent

When the government must prove there was an agreement to do something illegal, the legal definition of an agreement is used. There is also an intent element in the substantive charge that underlies the conspiracy. Whether it is an intent to commit healthcare fraud, real estate fraud, or intent to access a computer network in an unauthorized fashion, the intent must be proven.

Evidence that Could be Used to Prove These Elements

Each of the elements of the charge could be proven through direct or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is something tangible, which could include a witness testimony or evidence from a document that proves the existence of the fact at issue.

Elements of the offense could also be proved circumstantially by using the surrounding circumstances to show that something illegal was done. The government might able to find emails with discussions about doing specific illegal activities through a subpoena or search warrant. The emails may show contact between two people who may not otherwise be communicating if anything illegal was occurring.

How Wiretaps Could be Used

Wiretaps are being used more regularly in the prosecution of a federal conspiracy case. An order is typically signed by a judge and allows a law enforcement agency to access someone’s cell phone. The access is typically done directly at the cellphone carrier without using a physical device on a person’s phone. An order could be issued by the judge that allows a switch to be flipped at Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, or other cellphone carriers that allow the conversations on a particular cellphone to be recorded.

Evidence Unique to Federal Conspiracy Cases

The evidence gathered by law enforcement is typically not unique to conspiracy cases. It might be used differently when trying to prove an overt act since overt acts are not necessarily illegal acts by definition. The government could gather evidence that a layman may not necessarily think poses an issue for someone since the act does not have an illegal action unless there is evidence in a federal conspiracy case.

The Co-Conspirator Hearsay Exception

The co-conspirator hearsay exception could allow statements made by co-conspirators to be used against one another. This is a possible exception to the rule prohibiting hearsay. If 10 people are charged in a conspiracy, any statements made during the course of the conspiracy could be used against any of the other conspirators.

Speak to a DC Conspiracy Attorney Today

If you believe you are a subject in DC federal conspiracy investigations, do not hesitate to contact an experienced defense attorney. A skilled lawyer could help protect your rights and work towards a positive resolution of your case. Call today to set up a consultation.

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