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What if I’m accused of fraud?

If you work in financial services, there are many ways that you may find yourself on the receiving end of fraud charges. Fraud is wide-ranging, and depending on the nature of your work and the individuals you deal with, you may not even know that something you do may cross a line that raises the interest of law enforcement.

Should you face fraud charges or even suspect that you may have a problem with the law in the future, you should consider your next actions very carefully. In many cases, you have more options to defend your innocence than you might think, but it is important to not make yourself look guilty by acting unwisely.

Don't react unwisely when you discover a problem

For many individuals who find themselves in a suspicious situation, it's not the initial problem that sinks their battleship, it's the cover-up of that problem. We all have the same desire to avoid trouble, and it is natural to think "I should just sweep this under the rug and move on."

Unfortunately, it's often the cover-up that truly makes a person look guilty, even if he or she is not. As soon as you find yourself facing a potentially fraudulent issue, you should consult with an attorney immediately. In these instances, appearing innocent is often just as important as actually being innocent. Even if you didn't do anything wrong or illegal, your actions may look like you did, and this could ruin your career even if you beat the charges.

In general, it is wisest to consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible and refrain from saying anything about the matter.

There's no need to panic. In fact, the more you panic, the more likely you are to do something that may hurt your case in the long run. Instead, simply say nothing, or as little as possible, and seek professional legal counsel to protect your rights.

You don't owe anyone an immediate explanation, and you may not even fully understand the circumstances you hope to explain away. You should also refrain from speaking to friends or family members about the issue. If your case continues to court, these individuals may face subpoenas to testify against you.

Build a strong defense quickly

There are many reasons you might face fraud charges, and your strategy for defending yourself against those charges should reflect the specifics of the issue at hand. A defense against money laundering through a closely held business is far different from a defense against allegations of fraud from a business partner who chooses to throw your name under the bus to save themselves from similar allegations.

With proper legal counsel, you can take a deep breath and carefully and confidently prepare a legal defense that protects your rights, your privileges and your reputation.

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