When does the FBI get involved in a case?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) looks into a variety of crimes within eight major sections, five of which are criminal and three of which are for national security purposes.

If you have received a target letter from the Department of Justice (DOJ), call a Georgia federal investigations defense lawyer from Griffin Durham Tanner & Clarkson LLC. We have years of experience representing those accused of federal crimes, and we’ll work hard to secure a positive outcome in your case.

when does the fbi get involved in a case

National security crimes


This type of crime looks into espionage, better known as “spying.” The FBI keeps track of economic espionage, counter-espionage, and the transport of weapons used for mass destruction.


Cybercrime is a newer area of crime for the FBI. With the Internet growing at such a rapid pace, along with electronic technology upgrading constantly, cybercrime has become a lucrative business within the United States. These crimes include computer hacking, internet fraud, and identity theft cases.

Organized crime

Organized crime is a large enterprise used to participate in illegal activities, such as fraud, theft, kidnapping for ransom, etc. Organized crime, better known as the mafia, includes Mexican, Russian, and Italian Mafias. The FBI continues investigating this organized crime as it is a significant concern in the United States.

Disrupting international criminal organizations that are a threat to the United States’ economic and national security is a top priority of the FBI.

Within the United States and throughout the globe, the FBI works closely with law enforcement to track criminal organizations using RICO’s (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) civil and criminal sections.

Most often, organized crime organizations work to seek financial gain. These groups often participate in offenses such as:

  • Smuggling of migrants
  • Unlawful gaming
  • Distribution of drugs
  • Human trafficking
  • Extortion
  • Cyber crimes
  • Smuggling cultural property and wildlife
  • Gun trafficking
  • Manufacturing and selling of fake items

White-collar crimes

This category of crimes contains a variety of offenses committed by “white collar” workers. The FBI investigates white-collar financial crimes that include insider trading, money laundering, antitrust violations, and corporate fraud.

Citizens & civil rights legal protections

Public corruption, such as government fraud, human trafficking, gangs, hate crimes, electoral process fraud, and public corruption, is investigated by the FBI.
Great powers have been bestowed onto law-enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges by the local, state, and federal governments to maintain justice and uphold the law within the nation. These powers include the right to detain and arrest suspected individuals, search and obtain unlawful property, file necessary criminal charges, issue legal judgments, and, where necessary, use lethal force.

When do state or local authorities investigate a case instead of the FBI?

Several crimes fall under the jurisdiction of both the state and federal governments. Illegal activities that occur on the state level can also violate federal law. The FBI may become involved in financial crimes, such as mail, mortgage, and wire fraud, when larger sums of money are involved or when affected institutions are federally insured.

Most crimes fall on state or local authorities. However, the FBI will become involved in politically motivated or severe cases. If local authorities are unable or unwilling to conduct an investigation, the FBI will step in.

Speak with a federal investigation attorney today

If you have received notice of your involvement in a federal criminal investigation, you should take this matter seriously and contact one of our experienced attorneys today. Our firm has years of experience in representing clients who have been accused of white-collar and other federal crimes.

Call our Atlanta office at (404) 891-9150 or in Savannah at (912) 867-9140. You may also submit an inquiry through our secured contact form if you believe you are the subject of a federal investigation. We can help you protect your freedom and future.

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