Department of Justice Drops Mail Fraud/Wire Fraud Investigation Targeting Company Founder
Our client was a successful company founder who had franchised her concept nationally. When a group of disgruntled franchisees complained to the FBI that she had made false statements in the company’s Franchise Disclosure Document, she became the target of a federal mail and wire fraud investigation.
Our client initially engaged a local criminal lawyer who performed a brief investigation, met with the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) handling the case, and then advised that the next step would be to wait and see whether the government would indict. With her freedom on the line, young children at home and uncomfortable with such a passive approach, our client contacted us.
Shortly after being engaged, we discussed the case with the AUSA and she shared with us the government’s position with regard to where the fraud might have been committed. Armed with these insights into the prosecutor’s perspective, we were able to focus our efforts. We reviewed relevant documents and did lengthy fact-finding interviews with our client, her business lawyers, and accountants. We prepared and submitted to the AUSA a White Paper articulating our position that no fraud whatsoever was committed and that the investigation should be closed without prosecution.
Fifty-one days after we were retained, the Assistant U.S. Attorney advised that the government was closing its investigation and would not be charging our client.