WHAT TO DO IF SERVED WITH A SEARCH WARRANT – CORPORATE INTERNAL RESPONSE

by Ashley D. Adams

The sudden appearance of federal or state agents can be a frightening prospect. While the FBI normally appears in business dress, they have been known to arrive in battle fatigues with weapons drawn. Having an educated staff with explicit written procedures in place is the best defense to an unexpected search warrant.

EDUCATE EMPLOYEES

Every company should advise its employees that they have no obligation to speak with investigators, but should in no way interfere with their doing so. Interference in the investigation by the company could lead to obstruction of justice charges, or worse. Employees should be encouraged to be polite, and truthful, and told that the company will pay for separate legal counsel should the need arise.

INTERNAL RESPONSE POLICY

All companies should develop an Internal Response Policy to be included in their Operations Manuals. A point person should be assigned, who will coordinate all activities related to the raid, including the flow of information. The team should consist of a Senior Manager appointed as team coordinator, a back-up team coordinator, and other members as appropriate, including a MIS person. The Operations Manual should contain the phone numbers and addresses of the response team members, including in-house and outside counsel.

OTHER RESPONSE TEAM RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Contact counsel immediately
  • Make a list of areas searched and items seized
  • Accompany agents to every location searched
  • Videotape search if possible
  • Make copies of items seized
  • Obtain agents’ business cards
  • Inquire regarding prosecutor assigned to the investigation
  • Coordinate interviews

If you have further questions about this issue, please contact Ashley D. Adams, PLC 480.219.1366 or aadams@azwhitecollarcrime.com, www.azwhitecollarcrime.com. Ashley is a criminal defense attorney in Scottsdale and a former federal prosecutor.