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Photo of attorneys E. Kelly Conway, Michael E. Gehring and Stephen G. Harvey

What if I think my company is committing a crime?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2023 | Federal Court

When people think about crimes, their thoughts might automatically be about individuals. This isn’t always the way it happens. In some cases, companies can face criminal charges.

Corporations can face both state and federal criminal charges. Consumer protection, labor, and environmental laws are some examples of potential violations. The only way to prevent criminal charges against a company is for the owners and leadership to ensure that all employees comply with all applicable regulations, laws and guidelines.

Criminal charges against companies aren’t usually a surprise. The ownership and executive teams may learn about investigations before criminal charges are filed.  What should you do if you learn about an investigation or believe that a criminal offense may have been committed?

Preserve evidence

It may be tempting to hide evidence. However, this in itself can be a crime – potentially one with more serious consequences than the original criminal act.

Owners and executives must clarify that nothing related to the matter can be destroyed. Even if the documents and other evidence would usually be destroyed, they should be retained. Clear steps to preserve potential evidence must be put in place.

Set clear boundaries

One important point to remember is that nobody in the business can try to influence anyone else’s testimony. It’s up to the company’s leadership to outline the specific boundaries about communication regarding the potential criminal offense

Protecting the company must be the priority. Looking at everything objectively is critical. Getting experienced legal guidance can help you deal with the justice system and protect your company