Federal criminal investigations are serious matters, and a Louisiana resident might receive notifications from investigators. Specifically, someone might receive a notice called a target letter. The recipient may not know what a target letter is or their duties upon getting one.
The target letter
The U.S. Department of Justice sends a target letter that serves as a written notice that the person identified on the letter is now a target of a federal criminal investigation. A federal prosecutor could issue a target letter, and so may the FBI or another entity in the Department of Justice.
People who receive target letters may be required to testify before a grand jury. The letter will detail the crimes and even inform the recipient of their rights related to federal criminal defense matters. After grand jury proceedings end, the person under investigation may be indicted on federal charges.
Numerous federal crimes could prompt a target letter. Fraud remains a common federal crime committed in the United States, and people accused of fraud, embezzlement or other white-collar crimes might face jail time and significant punitive fines upon conviction. If federal authorities believe they have enough evidence to conduct an investigation, a person suspected of white-collar crimes might receive an official target letter. The same may occur with other federal crimes, such as ones involving narcotics or firearms.
Indictments on federal charges precede a trial where the accused can defend themselves. A criminal defense approach might attempt to prove that no intent existed or might point to problems with any evidence levied against the accused. Documents or other evidence seized without a warrant could be deemed inadmissible in court. A further examination of witness testimony might reveal the person lied, further eroding the case against the defendant.