And no one expects a target letter. The Department of Justice defines a “target” of federal criminal investigation as “a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him or her to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant.” Federal prosecutors are encouraged to notify targets of their status and give them a chance to testify before the grand jury when such notification won’t compromise the integrity of the government’s investigation—such as by prompting the target to flee the jurisdiction or destroy evidence. When they’re given, those notifications are known as target letters.

We want our clients to avoid getting those target letters. That starts with great compliance programs and robust internal controls to avoid fraud and other malfeasance. It also takes rigorous and sensitive internal investigations to determine whether there’s a problem. If the government begins its own investigation, potential white collar defendants need careful counsel to avoid enforcement action, which can take the form of civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings, and to achieve the best possible outcome in any enforcement action that does ensue.

Target Letter is a resource for those who are in need of practical information and valuable insights covering a broad range of government investigations and state and federal criminal and civil proceedings. We’ll focus particularly on gathering news and providing analysis of white collar issues related to healthcare, government contracting, technology, money laundering, corruption, and fraud and enforcement developments in the Pacific Northwest.  Because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition . . . .

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Photo of Aaron P. Brecher Aaron P. Brecher

Aaron Brecher is a litigator at Lane Powell in Seattle. He focuses his practice on investigations, compliance and white collar defense as well as privacy and data security. He’s passionate about helping individuals and companies through some of their most difficult and sensitive challenges: investigations that could lead to government enforcement actions and resulting litigation. In addition to his compliance and enforcement work, he represents clients in antitrust, intellectual property, and securities litigation as well as qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act.

Photo of Justin Okun Justin Okun

Justin Okun is a senior corporate counsel with T-Mobile, where he handles regulatory and operational compliance. Justin was formerly a shareholder in Lane Powell’s Investigations, White Collar and Compliance practice group. Before joining Lane Powell, Justin spent over a decade in government service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, a DOJ trial attorney in Washington, DC, a supervisory attorney with the Department of the Navy, and a judge advocate in the Marine Corps, where he began his career. While Justin no longer exercises like a Marine, he still drinks beer like one, especially when he’s blogging.