Question: What should I do if a federal agent contacts me?

Benson Varghese: When a federal agent contacts you, you have to understand that they absolutely have a strong case against you. In the federal system, agents don’t make direct contact with individuals who are suspects until they feel like they have a very strong case. In the state system, they might reach out to you sooner; they might be looking for more corroboration. In the federal system, they’re not really looking for corroboration. You might have some information that’s valuable to them.

The most important thing to remember in the federal system if you’re contacted by an agent—whether it’s DEA, FBI or any federal agency— is to immediately contact an attorney. If there’s information that you have that could be valuable to the federal government, it’s important that your attorney set up the parameters for that conversation. The information you provide shouldn’t be free; you should get something for what you give, because what will happen if you just simply give them information hoping that you will get a benefit out of it? You really won’t. They will have the information that they were looking for; they’ll still feel compelled to move forward on the case against you. But having the attorney there can result in a case not being filed at all or a much better result when the case is filed.