Although a government search is immediate and catches people by surprise, investigators can rely upon other tactics to gather evidence against a company and its leaders. On the surface, subpoenas may seem less intrusive, because agents aren’t coming in with loud fanfare. But subpoenas, grand jury investigations, and depositions can be extremely invasive and broad.
The agents may not need probable cause to convene a grand jury or to issue a subpoena. The requests may be extremely broad, asking for information that is difficult to produce—like records going back several years, or all email and text exchanges, or bank records and tax records.
Although witnesses will have substantial advance notice to comply with requests for the production of documents or testimony, such requests come with enormous liability. Failure to comply can result in charges for obstruction of justice. For this reason, the company and the employees should consult with counsel if they ever receive a subpoena. Further, the company should provide basic training to help all team members understand the process and implications.