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US Attorney Defendants

"U.S. Attorney Defendants" can have slightly different meanings depending on whether the United States Attorney's Office (the "USAO") is conducting an investigation or whether it has filed a formal law suit in court against a person or a company. United States Attorneys' Offices are part of the U.S. Department of Justice (the "DOJ"). Sometimes people refer to a U.S. Attorney's Office as the DOJ. Most often, though, "DOJ" is used to refer to the Department of Justice's main office in Washington, D.C., as opposed to the U.S. Attorney's Offices located in each State.

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When a U.S. Attorney's Office is conducting an investigation it usually believes, based on evidence available to it at the time, that a federal crime may have occurred. Often the USAO is assisted in its investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") and/or one or more other federal investigatory agencies. During a USAO investigation, a person or company that the USAO believes actually did commit a crime is often referred to as a "target" of the investigation. Over the course of a USAO or FBI investigation, someone who the USAO or FBI initially believe may be a potential "target" may come to be viewed as just an innocent witness. Likewise, someone who the USAO or FBI initially believe is just a witness may come to be viewed as a "target". During an investigation, sometimes people outside of the USAO and FBI will refer to a "target" of the investigation as a US Attorney defendant in the investigation.

Over the course of its investigation, the USAO may come to believe that one or more people, or one or more companies, did in fact commit a crime. A person or company may be able to get the USAO to agree to settle the situation during the investigation. The settlement is typically documented in an agreement (called a "Plea Agreement"), which is then presented to a court for the court's approval. A person or company that enters into a plea agreement with the USAO is formally called a "defendant" when the USAO submits the plea agreement to the court.

Typically, if a person or company does not settle the situation by entering into a plea agreement during the investigation, the USAO will present the evidence that it has to a federal grand jury and ask the grand jury whether it finds enough probable cause to believe that the person or company did commit a crime. At this time, the person or company may be referred to as a "grand jury defendant" or a "defendant" in the grand jury investigation.

If the grand jury does find enough evidence, it can issue an "indictment". The USAO begins a formal lawsuit against a person or company when it files the grand jury's indictment in federal court. This lawsuit in a federal court is usually referred to as a "prosecution" or a "criminal case". Once a prosecution or criminal case is brought, the person or company that the USAO is suing is called a "defendant".

If you would like information about The Pickholz Law Offices' experience representing U.S. Attorney Defendants, or those who believe that they may become a U.S. Attorney Defendant, please feel free to click on the "Our Cases & Results" link and the other links on the right side of this page.

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The Pickholz Law Offices represents U.S. and international clients in securities and white collar cases. The Firm has helped whistleblowers report frauds to the SEC, CFTC, and IRS, and has defended clients in investigations by the SEC, CFTC, DOJ, FINRA, and other financial and securities enforcement regulators.

The Firm’s founder, Jason Pickholz, is the author of the two-volume book Securities Crimes, has appeared on tv and radio, and has taught continuing legal education courses. A former BigLaw partner, he has been representing clients in financial and securities fraud cases since 1995. In recognition of his many achievements, Mr. Pickholz was elected by his legal peers to be a Fellow of The New York Bar Foundation, an honor limited to just 1% of all attorneys in the New York State Bar Association.

Mr. Pickholz has been counsel in many high-profile cases. He was the first attorney ever to win an SEC whistleblower award on appeal to the Commission, which Inside Counsel magazine called one of the five key events in the history of the SEC whistleblower program. On the defense side, Mr. Pickholz has defended clients in the SEC’s COVID-19 investigations, the CFTC’s cryptocurrency cases, and a former US Senator, among others.

If you want to speak with a CFTC, IRS, or SEC whistleblower lawyer, or with a white collar defense lawyer, you can call the Firm at 347-746-1222.

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