Civil Investigative Demand

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Never take a Civil Investigative Demand for granted.

Minding your own business and doing your job ought to protect you from the drama and stress of an government investigation arising from your job. But that is not necessarily the case.

Civil Investigative Demands are considered a type of administrative subpoena. They allow government agencies in the US to obtain information that is relevant to an investigation from private entities.

Anyone can be drawn into an investigation when the government has reason to believe that person “may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary material or information relevant to a false claims law investigation….” 31 U.S.C. 3733

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Civil Investigative Demand and The False Claims Act

The False Claims Act was enacted during the Civil War to combat fraud by defense contractors. The False Claims Act has been amended several times and covers allegations of knowingly submitting false claims to the government. The government may recover three times it’s damages and various penalties. 31 U.S.C. 3729

The government can pursue claims or allow a private citizen to file a suit on behalf of the government. These actions are qui tam suits. Qui tam suits are allowed to encourage citizens to reveal alleged frauds that would not be discovered without the assistance of someone with inside knowledge of the fraud. The plaintiffs in these actions are referred to as whistleblowers.

So what does this mean to you?

It means the government can use something called a “civil investigative demand” to force any person to produce documents, answer questions in writing about the documents, give oral testimony, or provide any combination of the documents, written answers, or testimony. The government only needs “reason to believe” that you have information.

What if I'm innocent?

The fact that you are innocent of any wrongdoing or even lack knowledge that the information you possess may include evidence of false claims is unnecessary. The government’s power is broad and extensive. Many people are drawn into investigations through government-issued civil investigative demands in false claim act cases.

Failing to prepare to respond is dangerous to the innocent as well as a person responsible for a false claim. Of course, it is entirely possible that no one is responsible for submitting a false claim.

Although you are required to respond, you have every right and would be wise to respond only after a careful, thorough investigation into the facts. Knowing what’s in the documents requested is informative and may help prepare you for ultimate questions under oath.

Never ignore a civil investigative demand. Never take one for granted.

Most important never respond before speaking to counsel qualified to analyze your situation, evaluate the government’s objectives, and assist you in responding to the civil investigative demand.

White collar investigations are complex. The conduct the government is investigating often involves legitimate business practices. It is important to have experienced counsel representing you during any investigation that may result in civil liability or a criminal charge, even when you’re a mere witness in an investigation.

We have advised many people during investigations, represented witnesses forced to appear before grand juries, and helped clients prepare for imminent charges. We understand the exposure you face and can help you navigate this difficult process.

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What to do if you've been served a Civil Investigative Demand

Given the fast pace at which most people live their lives, the mounds of data we create in our daily lives, and the piles of documents involved in almost anyone’s life these days, it is critical to have experienced counsel to assist you in preparing for a civil investigative demand.

When you are a potential witness, you want to avoid increasing your potential liability. When you are a target, you want to do everything to mount an effective defense to reduce or minimize your risks of civil and criminal exposure.

Counsel must be prepared to analyze this information and consider alternatives to willful conduct as well take into consideration and offer explanations for lawful behavior.

We have advised people during these investigations, consulted experts, and defended claims of arising from civil investigative demands.

We understand the monumental task of gathering documents for an independent review, the worry associated with not knowing where the government’s investigation will lead, and the danger of losing everything you have worked for.

We are prepared to help you challenge these investigations and defend you at trial when necessary.

We understand you risk losing everything. We are criminal white-collar attorneys prepared to help you achieve your best possible results and get back to leading a productive life.

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Call, text, or email criminal defense attorney Amos Tyndall.

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