These days, now more than ever, federal prosecutors rely on social media to gain information and context about the people they are investigating or prosecuting. If you've recently been arrested on federal fraud charges, you can be sure your social media accounts are being monitored and scoured for possible evidence. Your behavior on social media going forward can also profoundly affect the outcome of your case. To that end, let's look at some definite “don'ts” when it comes to your social media right now.
DON'T Start Deleting
Your first impulse might be to start deactivating or deleting your social media accounts in an attempt to protect your privacy. It's too late for that now—what you've posted is already a matter of public record, and it's likely already being viewed as evidence. Any attempt to remove your profiles will be seen as destruction of evidence, making you susceptible to more charges. The same goes for deleting individual posts. No matter how incriminating the posts might be, your best chance at a better outcome and avoiding new charges is to leave everything as it is.
DON'T Post More Content or Engage on Social Media
You don't want to delete evidence, but neither do you want to create more possible evidence. So while your case is ongoing, we highly recommend avoiding any engagement on social media. That includes photos, check-ins, verbal postings, blogs, or even comments on other people's posts. If you have friends who tag you regularly on their posts, politely ask them to refrain from doing so. No matter how inane you think the posts are, anything you say or do on social media may be used by prosecutors to paint a picture for a jury. Also, you don't know who among your contacts is acting as a cooperating witness, and they may also share any incriminating posts with prosecutors. Better to be safe than sorry.
DON'T Accept New Friend Requests or Make New Connections
Anyone you're connected with on social media is a potential witness, whether for or against you. The problem is, you don't always know which is which. Just as investigators may have access to your social media, they can also look at those you are connected with and view your interactions with them. Expanding your network is not a good idea right now because you simply don't know how those connections might work against you.
The Sigal Law Group has a reputation for successfully defending our clients against federal criminal charges in the Los Angeles area. For more information, call us today at (818) 325-0570 for a free consultation.
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