How to Respond when an OIG Agent Wants to Talk
An OIG agent is an officer from the Office of the Inspector General tasked with investigating criminal, civil and administrative matter. This agent is mandated to carry a gun and a badge. You might find yourself in a situation where an OIG agent wants to talk to you. You should know that this is not uncommon and it doesn’t mean that you have committed any crime. They might just be looking to make some enquiries as part of their investigations. Despite this, you still need to be careful as a simple mistake might land you in the wrong side of the law. Here is how you need to respond when an OIG agent wants to talk to you:
Take a breath and relax
Most of the times, an OIG agent will call ahead if they want to talk to you and this will give you time to prepare yourself psychologically. In case the agent shows up at your door step or work place unannounced, it can be a quite complicated situation. You can feel your blood pressure going up or getting confused because of the panic that this surprise has put you in. You should not go ahead and converse with the agent in this state of panic as it can be disastrous for you. This is because you might not be able to think straight and you may say what you never intended and get in trouble.
The best response anytime an OIG agent shows up at your doorstep or office desk asking to talk to you is taking a minute or so to breath and relax. You can let your blood pressure get back to normal and compose your thoughts before going ahead to be talk to the agents. When you are calm enough you can go ahead to inquire what the agents want to talk about with you and why.
Weigh your options
An OIG agent will inform you what they want to talk to you about and why. Once you understand this, it’s time to weigh your options. Weigh what the implications of what you say might be to you. If you deem that you will not get into trouble because of your answers you can go ahead and have conversation with the agent. You can answer only what you are willing and it’s not a must you answer all the questions. You should keep in mind that the agent standing in front of you makes their living by making cases and putting people behind bars. They do not in any way have your best interests at heart. In any case as you make your decision, you must weigh your options in relation to what is in the best interest to you. The agents may come to you nicely and be compelling in asking you to talk to them but you should only look out for yourself. If you have doubts about the implications of your answers, you can ask for your attorney to be present before you have the talk. For more information on this subject, click here.
Hire an attorney
When it comes to hiring a lawyer, most people who land in trouble usually do because of arrogance. No matter how good you are at researching matters on law, hiring a lawyer is very important for any encounter with a law enforcement officer. When an OIG agent comes to talk with you, it’s not just always about you committing a crime. They might be looking for you to ask you to testify or offer assistance. Even in this type of situation, having a lawyer is critical. You don’t know about the future so its best that you prepare for the worst as you hope for the best. Hiring an attorney is your best shot at this. This is because it might turn out that the case is very sensitive and you need witness protection. A lawyer will be of great help in helping you get the best deal in such a situation. For more information on whether to hire a lawyer in this situation, click here.
Don’t lie to the agent
If an OIG agent shows up at your doorstep or workplace, you might know the reason they are there. Maybe you already know you are part of a federal investigation. It is in your best interest whether you are part of the group being investigated or just being asked as a witness, not to lie. Lying to a federal agent during an investigation is a crime punishable by jailtime. You might find yourself in jail not because of the crimes that were being investigated by lying. Rather than lie, you will be much better refusing to answer the questions and asking for your lawyer. For more information on what to avoid if there is an investigation, click here.