OFAC Investigations

Sometimes, responding fully to a subpoena can take a very long time. Usually you have to respond to an OFAC subpoena within 30 days, but you can ask for several extensions of that deadline. Once you have responded to everything that OFAC has requested, OFAC can take up to a couple of years to resolve the situation if it is complex.

There is no specific timeline, but many times it can take over a year for the whole process to be finalized. To learn more about the time frame of an OFAC investigation, speak with a OFAC subpoena lawyer today.

Evidence and Documentation

It all depends on the transaction being investigated. The evidence could be bank records, shipping records, insurance records, or communications between particular people such as copies of emails, letters, purchase orders and other similar items.

For instance, if you received a subpoena relating to travel to Cuba, OFAC may request information describing how you got there, where you stayed, and whether you met with any members of the Cuban Government or the Communist Party in Cuba.

OFAC Enforcement Officers

In these cases you are facing an opposing party because this is an investigation by the U.S. government through OFAC.  However, instead of a prosecutor, you are dealing with an enforcement officer who works as both the prosecutor and investigator in the case.

Appealing OFAC Decisions

After responding to an OFAC subpoena, OFAC may determine that a violation has indeed occurred and that violation was egregious enough to justify the imposition of a penalty. The client can directly appeal to OFAC to reconsider the imposition of the penalty. The client can also appeal the imposition of the penalty under the Administrative Procedures Act and other federal laws in federal court. However, there is a very low likelihood of success when challenging OFAC’s actions in federal court.

Usually you can appeal to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. or you can appeal to any other U.S. District Court that is proper.

Finding legal Counsel for Help with OFAC Subpoenas

After receiving a subpoena, one should seriously consider hiring an attorney who can help the client gather and review responsive information and evidence.

Having an attorney can be very helpful. It is important to have somebody with experience to review the subpoena for you. You do not want to inadvertently violate other rules or admit to violations of other sanctions rules. You also want to have somebody analyze whether any of the exemptions or general licenses apply to your situation so you are not held responsible for something that may not have actually been a violation.

The Value of Experience with OFAC Cases

The experience is really important. You need to have somebody who can advocate for you. You also should have somebody who can analyze any exemptions and general licenses when responding to the subpoena to determine whether or not any of those exceptions or rules apply to your situation. An attorney can also help identify mitigating factors in your case which can possibly go a long in reducing any potential penalty that may be levied against you.

The combination of experience dealing with OFAC sanctions and white collar and federal criminal cases makes for an attorney qualified to handle and defend against OFAC enforcement actions and to respond to subpoenas.