You may think that answering an investigator’s few simple questions cannot harm you. Your cooperation, however, may backfire, as any statement you make could end up incriminating you and turn you from being a witness to being the “target”of a criminal investigation.
Parties to a tax dispute need strong legal representation, but the witnesses often do not realize that they also need the very same kind of assistance. Don’t take advice from a lawyer who represents your employer, business associate, or someone else – those attorneys only care about their client, not you. Get your own experienced, criminal tax attorney, who is familiar with this type of case. The attorneys at Moskowitz, LLP represent witnesses in both civil and criminal tax proceedings and will look out for your best interests.
Harsh penalties for dishonesty
Any misleading statement to an investigator, including saying that you have never done business with a particular person when in fact you did at some point, could land you in prison. Under 18 U.S. Code § 1001, you may be subject to fines and up to five years’ imprisonment for falsifying or covering up a material fact of a case, making a false statement, or using a document that contains materially fraudulent or fictitious information.
In court, the lawyer for one of the other parties may try to twist your words or otherwise discredit you on the stand. This may expose you to criminal charges, affect your reputation and future employment, and subject you and your spouse to civil liability.
Protecting your rights
You have the right to decline to answer any questions that might incriminate you. We can advise you what to do when asked to reveal information that could harm you, and prepare you to testify if required. We have also helped many clients obtain immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony.
If you are approached by an IRS agent or other government investigator, ask for their card, refuse to answer questions, and contact one of our experienced criminal tax attorneys immediately.