Adjunct professor Joel Cohen co-wrote an article for Law & Crime about the investigation process for white collar crimes.
You’re under investigation for alleged white collar crime. Maybe you’re guilty, maybe not. It doesn’t necessarily matter in terms of how the investigation will proceed.
While prosecutors typically say they have an open mind and everyone deserves a presumption of innocence, don’t necessarily believe it. They’re not investigating you because they think you’re innocent – it’s just a question of whether they believe they’ll be able to sufficiently establish your guilt to get an indictment, and ultimately take you to trial.
Guilty or not, your prosecutor will promptly issue grand subpoenas for pretty much every piece of paper you or your corporation have relating to the conduct in question. But not only paper. She will cause you to search virtually everything on your computer or your company’s computers that has remote relevance to the investigation. And don’t think you’ll be able to get a court to limit the production breadth – it almost never happens. Frankly, even if you get some relief from a court, the prosecutor will subpoena the emails of your emailing counterparts and get the material anyway — or worse, get a search warrant and cull through the emails herself, or both.