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Governmental Investigations 

What is a governmental investigation of a business? 

Various agencies conduct governmental investigations of businesses to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Some commonly alleged business activities that draw government scrutiny include fraudulent financial reporting, antitrust violations, environmental violations, tax fraud, false claims, and corrupt foreign practices.

For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigates and prosecutes businesses suspected of fraudulent financial reporting. Fraudulent financial reporting involves the manipulation of financial statements to mislead investors and regulators. This type of activity can harm investors, damage the company’s reputation, and undermine the integrity of the financial markets. As a result, the SEC takes allegations of fraudulent financial reporting very seriously and conducts thorough investigations into any suspected violations.

Businesses must ensure they are operating within the law and not engaging in any activities that could harm the public or the environment. Failure to comply with laws and regulations can lead to fines, legal sanctions, and damage to the company’s reputation. Therefore, strong legal counsel plays a critical role in helping businesses navigate governmental investigations. They can provide legal advice and guidance throughout the process, protect the business’s legal rights, and help minimize the potential negative consequences of the investigation.

Need help with a governmental investigation? Schedule your consultation today with a top bet-the-company litigation attorney.

 What legal issues typically arise related to governmental investigations?

Governmental investigations into businesses can give rise to several legal issues, including privacy concerns and potential reputational harm.

One major legal issue that arises is privacy concerns. During an investigation, the government may request access to sensitive information such as trade secrets, financial data, and personal information about employees or customers. The business must balance compliance with the government’s request for information with protecting the privacy and confidentiality of this information. Perfecting this delicate balancing act requires careful consideration by legal counsel and other advisors.

Additionally, businesses may face reputational harm as a result of a governmental investigation. For example, allegations of wrongdoing may lead to negative media attention and public scrutiny, which can affect the company’s ability to attract new customers or investors and harm employee morale. Therefore, businesses must work closely with legal counsel and other advisors to develop a strategy to mitigate potential reputational harm from a governmental investigation.

What is bet-the-company litigation, and how does it apply to governmental investigations? 

When a company faces legal action that seriously threatens its future, its survival often depends on winning a single, cost-effective verdict. By necessity, such a company needs counsel experienced in bet-the-company litigation. Bet-the-company cases are often highly confidential, involve multiple parties, and entail complex discovery. High-stakes circumstances like these require risk-reward analysis and comprehensive day-to-day strategizing well above the requirements of traditional business litigation because the company’s existence depends on victory.

While the legal requirements to prove or defend against a case of governmental investigations remain the same, the issues are complex and implicate much more money. For example, mergers and acquisitions, accounting irregularities, changing regulatory interpretations, and antitrust matters may all implicate issues related to governmental investigations.

What are relevant laws related to governmental investigation procedures in Florida?

There are several relevant laws related to governmental investigation procedures in Florida, including:

  • The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act: This law prohibits businesses from engaging in deceptive or unfair trade practices. Violations can result in civil penalties and other legal sanctions.
  • The Florida False Claims Act: This law allows the government to recover damages from businesses that defraud the government by submitting false or fraudulent claims. Violations can result in civil penalties and other legal sanctions.
  • The Florida Money Laundering Act: This law prohibits businesses from engaging in money laundering or disguising the proceeds of illegal activity as legitimate funds. Violations can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
  • The Florida Computer Crimes Act: This law prohibits businesses from engaging in computer-related crimes, including unauthorized access to computer systems and theft of computer-related data. Violations can result in criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.
  • The Florida Public Records Act: This law requires businesses to comply with requests for public records made by the government or members of the public. Failure to comply can result in legal sanctions, fines, and other penalties.

Have more questions about a governmental investigation-related situation? 

Crucially, this overview of governmental investigations does not begin to cover all the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances.

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain a tireless advocate every step of the way. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant.

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to set up a consultation.

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