Every year, the numerous agencies of the United States Government send out letters to companies putting them on notice that the company is suspected of committing some serious violation. Usually, the letter or notice demands a written response within 30 days or the company will be subject to a penalty or fine. Knowing how to handle such letters, notices, or subpoenas is critical in terminating the investigation successfully, not paying a huge penalty, and even avoiding criminal prosecution.
The Executive Branch departments, bureaus, and agencies of the Federal Government all have the legal authority to investigate and assess penalties against companies that violate that particular Government agency’s regulations. This is especially true of companies which are importers, exporters, or otherwise involved in international trade such as customs brokers, international freight forwarders, airlines, and indirect air carriers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would issue an “Administrative Subpoena” or a”Notice of FDA Action”, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) would issue an “Administrative Subpoena” while the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would call it a “Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty”, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) describes it as a “Notice of Action” and “Pre-Penalty Notice”, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls it a “Request for Information”, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) calls it a “Proposed Charging Letter”, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would call it a “Letter of investigation”.
Whatever pseudonym or term is used, the Government documents are all similar in […]