For a licensed professional in Illinois, having their hard-earned professional license investigated by The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is a threat to their career, livelihood and personal life. Professional licenses can be investigated and disciplined for a variety of reasons. Federal laws, administrative regulations, new licensing board rules, statues and ordinances all regulate and control every facet of a professional practice. If you are under an investigation by the IDFPR, be careful with your behavior and actions as your license, reputation and future are at risk.
The thought of an investigation and potentially losing your professional license can be panic-inducing, but do not panic and do not get in a hurry. Remain collected through the investigation and work with your attorney immediately to dispute the complaint. During the investigation, you will still be permitted to practice in your field and continue to work with clients.
While you’re calm and collected, that doesn’t mean to put your guard down. The investigators and prosecutors are not your friends. With the guide of your attorney, protect yourself through the investigation at all times. You are entitled to seeking and asking your own questions: Which agency is conducting the investigation? Why, what and who is the investigation towards?
If you’re told that you have the right to remain silent, then do just that. Remain silent as you are clearly the subject of a criminal investigation.
Once you know more about who and what is being investigated, you have the right to decide to submit to an interview or not. By law, it is not usually required to submit to an interview. However, if opting to an interview, it is always best to have your attorneys present. During the interview, as any part of the investigative process, it is important to remain truthful and do not justify a situation. The investigators’ job is to collect evidence and information for the prosecuting attorney. Hold your explanations for a time more suited to this information, but also be aware that there will not be an opportunity to review or correct any information given in an investigators’ report. It is also important not to offer up any authorized original documents or copies without a subpoena or search warrant. Your words and actions can and will be used against you, if the investigator sees fit to.
Being investigated is not a trivial matter and can be overwhelming. Investigators have been known to be intimidating in nature often downplaying the importance of an investigation, declining information and making the interview uncomfortable. This is unreasonable for a professional and is a serious matter. You are entitled to information, professionalism and have the right to terminate an interview at any time.
Once a complaint is fully investigated the case will be either dropped or the license holder will be subjected to an informal hearing or a formal evidentiary hearing. In a typical calendar year, the IDFPR imposes discipline on 3,000+ licensees in various regulated professions, yet less than 200 are actually subjected to an evidentiary hearing. Most settlement agreements are negotiated during or as a result of an informal Disciplinary Conference.
The longer one practices, the more likely to be investigated. Stay calm and safeguard the process of your investigation with careful and precise steps with your attorney as described above.
You should not go through an investigation without a lawyer. Very few attorneys have experience with these cases. If you want a referral to an experienced IDFPR law firm that will protect you, call us at 312-346-5320 or fill out our contact form.