Lorandos and Associates
offers a complete range of white collar criminal
defense services for corporations and individuals. We handle
allegations ranging from securities fraud to healthcare fraud and from
customs violations and money laundering to antitrust violations.
organizations on all types of issues such as:
Avoiding exposure to criminal sanctions
Conducting internal audits and
Designing and implementing compliance
The best result for a client who is the subject of an
investigation is to avoid being charged at all, and we aggressively seek
this result whenever possible. If a case does go to trial, we have the
dedication, resources, skill and experience to provide the best defense.
also handle the civil and administrative litigation that accompanies
criminal investigations. Such litigation may include qui tam cases, SEC
investigations and civil securities fraud litigation.
regularly includes working preventatively and proactively with clients to
help avoid conduct that might prompt an investigation, as well as conducting
prompt and thorough internal investigations for clients who are alleged to
have engaged in questionable conduct.
Criminal Defense FAQ
What is white-collar crime exactly?
crime is a broad term that covers a variety of nonviolent crimes
that are alleged to involve cheating in one form or another.
Examples of white-collar crime include allegations of fraud in
its various forms, bribery, insider trading, environmental
crime, embezzlement, forgery, tax evasion, kickbacks, and money
laundering. According to the FBI, white-collar crimes total
more than $300 billion annually.
Where does the term “white-collar crime” come from?
Sutherland, a noted sociologist, first coined the term
“white-collar crime” in 1939 in a speech he gave before the
American Sociological Association. Sutherland later defined
white-collar crime as “a crime committed by a person of
respectability and high social status in the course of his
What’s the difference between white-collar crime and blue-collar
salient difference between white-collar and blue-collar crime is
the means by which offenses are carried out. Blue-collar crimes
most often involve physical force; white collar crimes, on the
other hand, are inherently technical in nature, often involving
the manipulation of information either on paper or
What agencies investigate white-collar crime?
offenses often fall under federal jurisdiction. If personnel
from one or more of the following federal agencies have
questioned you, you may be the target of a white-collar crime
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Securities and Exchange Commission
Internal Revenue Service
- The United
- The United
States Postal Service
Citizenship and Immigration Service
How can I tell if I’m under investigation for a white-collar
blue-collar crimes, in which the subject is usually unaware of
the investigation, investigations of white-collar offenses have
a well-defined target or pre-indictment phase. A prosecutor may
be gathering evidence to present to a grand jury if one or more
of the following have happened to you:
- You are
contacted by a representative of any of the federal
agencies listed above.
- You are
contacted by a representative of an analogous state
receive a grand jury subpoena to produce business
- You are
presented with a search warrant to seize business
receive a target or subject letter informing you that
you’re under investigation.
What’s a target letter?
letter is a letter that a federal prosecutor at a United States
Attorney’s office sends to inform someone that he or she is the
target of a federal investigation. Most often, the letter
informs the recipient of the nature of the charges being
investigated (e.g. insider trading, wire fraud, etc.).
letters are used during the target or pre-indictment phase of a
white-collar crime investigation. As might be expected, a target
letter advises the recipient of his or her rights, in particular
the right to counsel and the right not to testify. If you
receive a target letter, you are most likely going to be
What does a target letter look like?
is a sample target letter taken from the United States
This letter is supplied to a
witness scheduled to appear before the federal Grand Jury in
order to provide helpful background information about the Grand
Jury. The Grand Jury consists of from sixteen to twenty-three
persons from the District of ___. It is their responsibility to
inquire into federal crimes which may have been committed in
As a Grand Jury witness you will
be asked to testify and answer questions, and to produce records
and documents. Only the members of the Grand Jury, attorneys for
the United States and a stenographer are permitted in the Grand
Jury room while you testify.
We advise you that the Grand Jury
is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal
criminal laws involving, but not necessarily limited to *. You
are advised that the destruction or alteration of any document
required to be produced before the grand jury constitutes
serious violation of federal law, including but not limited to
Obstruction of Justice.
You are advised that you are a
target of the Grand Jury's investigation. You may refuse to
answer any question if a truthful answer to the question would
tend to incriminate you. Anything that you do or say may be used
against you in a subsequent legal proceeding. If you have
retained counsel, who represents you personally, the Grand Jury
will permit you a reasonable opportunity to step outside the
Grand Jury room and confer with counsel if you desire.
What should I do if I receive a target letter?
If you have
received a target letter, the first thing you should do is
retain the services of a law firm that specializes in
white-collar defense. The complex nature of white-collar
defense is such that not only do you need white-collar defense
expertise, you need a team capable of maintaining the necessary
investigatory and support efforts.
response on your part is vital. The sooner you retain a
competent white-collar defense team during the pre-indictment
phase, the easier it will be for that team to point out and deal
with a misunderstanding on the prosecutor’s part. If your case
does not involve a misunderstanding, your white-collar defense
team will be able to work out the most favorable deal before,
rather than after, an indictment is handed down.
What should I do if I am contacted by investigators?
If you are
contacted by federal or state investigators, it is very
important that you do not give statements or cooperate in any
way until you have spoken with an attorney skilled in
white-collar defense. The investigators are not your friends.
Talking to them or otherwise helping them will only hurt you.
Investigators have only one mission: to build a case against
white-collar defense team might be able to get the investigators
to either close the investigation or change its focus.
What could happen to me if I’m convicted of a white-collar
for white-collar crimes vary according to the nature and degree
of the offense; however, punishment for a white-collar offense
could typically include one or more of the following:
- Jail time
(in either federal or state prison)
- Restitution (the return of money or property to the
(the giving up of money or property)
What are some of the possible defenses to a white-collar crime?
If you are
facing a worst-case scenario and have to go to trial, a skilled
white-collar criminal defense team should examine a variety of
defenses. Duress is a possible defense. According to Black’s
Law Dictionary, duress is “a
threat of harm made to compel a person to do something against
his or her will or judgment.”
There are also defenses and defensive
strategies specific to white-collar crime. Here are a
couple of examples:
- Entrapment is a common defense
in white-collar crime cases in which law enforcement
officials have coerced a defendant into committing a
criminal act that he or she otherwise would not have
- Absence of intent is yet
another common defense in white-collar prosecutions.
Because intent is an inherent part of most white-collar
crimes, if your attorney can convince the prosecutors or
a judge that you lacked the intent to commit a crime, a
favorable outcome may be realized.
What should I look for in a white-collar defense attorney?
Because most white-collar crimes fall under federal
jurisdiction, you need a specialist who understands federal
criminal law. Furthermore, not only do you need
attorneys who understand the white-collar offense at issue,
white-collar specialists who are very familiar with the federal
rules of criminal procedure, civil procedure, and evidence.
familiar with federal rules, your white-collar defense team has
to be familiar with government strategy in a white-collar
case. In recent years, the government has made increasing use
of civil enforcement tools (e.g. asset forfeiture, actions under
the False Claims Act, and regulatory investigations). You need
a team of white-collar defense specialists who can anticipate
the government’s moves.
If I am interviewed as part of an internal company
investigation, may I have my lawyer present?
Remember that the company will always put its interests before
yours. The company’s own attorneys invariably conduct such
interviews. They will give you numerous reasons why you don’t
need your own counsel present, not the least of which is that
the interview is privileged. They’ll also intimate that you
don’t really have anything to worry about. However, if your
company experiences even the slightest pressure from a federal
prosecutor, they will often waive that privilege and hand over
the results of their internal investigation.
you don’t have to participate in the interview, but refusal may
result in your termination. In such a situation, you are most
definitely between a rock and a hard place. You need the
experienced counsel of a team of white-collar defense
specialists to help you make the decision that is best for you.
How can I help my white-collar defense team help me?
If you are
under investigation for or have been charged with a white-collar
offense, first realize that you are in serious trouble and that
you need help. Secondly, realize that you have to help
yourself, and that one of the ways you can help yourself is to
work as a team player with your white-collar specialists.
honest with your white-collar defense lawyers. To be able to
help you in the most effective manner, your team has to know the
will have to work to help yourself. You will have assignments,
tasks, and chores to carry out, as will your attorneys. You
must function as part of a team.
What does a healthy attorney/client relationship look like?
opt for a solo practitioner or a team, you should first look for
competence in the area of white-collar defense. You must also
determine that your prospective white-collar defense is loyal,
able to maintain confidentiality, and willing to represent you
You must also
find someone who is willing to communicate with you in a timely
and effective manner. And you must be willing to communicate
with your white-collar defense counsel in precisely the same
way. To be able to represent you in the most effective manner,
your white-collar defense counsel has to know everything.
part, you must be careful to be discreet so as not to endanger
the privilege of confidentiality. If you share the details of
confidential communications between you and your counsel, you
may seriously damage your case.
Do I have the option of firing my white-collar defense counsel?
You can fire a lawyer anytime you are dissatisfied with his or
her services. You even have the option of firing your attorney
once the case has been filed in court. However, there are some
very important things you should consider:
attorney will be entitled to payment up to the time of
- If the
case has already been filed, you may need the court’s
permission to let the lawyer withdraw.
- If the
case is very close to trial, the court may be very
reluctant to allow your attorney to withdraw from the
case, especially if the dismissal will delay the
- In some
states, the attorney may keep your file until you have
paid your bill.
An ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be sure to shop around
carefully and find the white-collar defense team that is right
What is Guidelines analysis?
analysis is a tool on which a competent white-collar defense
attorney bases his or her strategic decisions in a criminal
case. The term refers to Federal Sentencing Guidelines, a
manual to which federal judges must refer when calculating
judge is not bound by the Guidelines, however. The Guidelines
became advisory following a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case called
U.S. v Booker. However, every competent attorney
practicing in the area of white-collar crime will engage in a
form of backwards planning. He or she will determine both the
worst-case and best-case scenario under the Guidelines
What should I do if I’m arrested on some sort of white-collar
find yourself being arrested on a white-collar crime charge,
there are some things you should avoid doing:
- Don’t run. If you attempt to
flee, you run the risk of injury to yourself or others.
You also run the risk of a very unpleasant forceful
arrest. Law enforcement officials who have been forced
to participate in a chase are more likely to be agitated
and consequently draw their weapons.
- Don’t explain. You can only
hurt yourself by talking. Simply invoke your right to
remain silent by stating, “I’m not going to say anything
until I speak to my attorney.”
Don’t get overconfident. This
advice includes not getting chatty or sassy. By no
means interfere with the law enforcement personnel
effecting the arrest. They’re just doing their job.
You do yours by staying silent.
- Don’t give permission to search your person, your personal
effects, your car, or your house or apartment. If
ordered to turn over your bag or your keys, state the
following in a firm but polite manner: “You do NOT have
my permission to search.” Then hand over the item. If
there are witnesses nearby who overhear your statement,
it may be possible for your attorney later to exclude
from evidence what is found.
- Don’t look around nervously at
the places you don’t want them to search. Do not tip
them off by looking at precisely where you don’t want
them to search. Also avoid gasping or sighing.
Simply stare at the ground or ceiling. Refrain from
answering questions like “What is this?” or “Who does
this belong to?”
- Don’t resist arrest. Don’t
push back or knock their hands away.
- Don’t try to be nice. Trying
to convince them of your innocence is useless.
What you say can and will be used against you.
- Don’t believe what they tell you. They can lie to you in a number of
ways to get you to talk. In fact, they will exert many
different forms of psychological pressure on you. Just
remain silent and wait to speak with your lawyer.
- Don’t invite them inside your home. And don’t step outside either. To
enter your home, they must have a warrant. Don’t make
anything easy for them. Simply say “I’ll just stay
right here” or “May I please see your warrant?” If they
don’t have a warrant and go away, contact your attorney
- Don’t agree to secure your car or go into your home. They can follow you and conduct a
What is an “ambush interview,” and what should I do if I find
myself facing one?
interview” is a technique federal agents use to conduct an
interrogation without going to the trouble of obtaining a
warrant or arresting you.
Here is a
typical scenario: Two FBI agents show up at your office
unannounced. They state that they need some information and
would appreciate it if you could help them out. Not wishing to
appear uncooperative, you agree. The meeting starts out
friendly and low-key. They begin by asking seemingly harmless
questions about your company. One agent does the talking; the
other takes notes and says nothing.
the meeting progresses, their tone changes, and the questions
start to focus on particulars. You start to realize that this
meeting isn’t friendly at all. You want to end the meeting, but
you don’t want this to be seen somehow as an admission of guilt.
What do you do?
the meeting immediately and call your attorney. You are under
no legal obligation at this point to answer their questions. To
be forced to answer questions, you must be served with a grand
jury subpoena, and even then, you are obliged to answer
questions only before the grand jury.
like bad pennies, the agents will only show up again. Their
next appearance may not be at your office, but at your home or
anywhere they can figure to gain the element of surprise.
Remember, that your rights remain the same, regardless of the
time and place of the ambush.
carefully the attorney you contact. Most in-house counsel are
not criminal lawyers; even fewer are skilled white-collar
defense attorneys. A skilled, experienced white-collar criminal
defense team can assist you in a variety of ways. They can help
you decide whether to cooperate with the agents. Having counsel
present will suppress the agents’ inclination to question you
aggressively. Most importantly, having good white-collar
defense counsel will enable you to formulate a strategy and
prevent you from making costly mistakes.
What should I do if indicted on a white-collar charge?
If you are
indicted on charges of having committed a white-collar crime,
one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to start discussing
your case with people other than your white collar defense team
and their staff. If someone asks about your case, simply say
that you have legal representation and are not at liberty to
discuss the matter.
If you do not
yet have competent white-collar representation and are
questioned, just say that you’re in the process of finding an
attorney and cannot discuss the matter.
remaining silent is not the same as stating that you are under
representation. This difference becomes especially important
when you talk to law enforcement authorities. If you have not
been arrested, or are not otherwise in the custody of law
enforcement, your silence can be seen as an admission of guilt.
However, if you have been arrested, or are in custody, your
silence cannot be used against you. The best policy in all
circumstances is just to say that you have legal counsel (or are
seeking it) and cannot discuss the matter.
most terrible mistakes that any white-collar crime suspect can
make is to destroy what the authorities could consider evidence
or ask others to somehow cover the truth. You can be completely
innocent, but you will convince the prosecutor of your guilt if
you tamper with documents or tell others to obfuscate. When
such behavior is revealed in court, the effects can be