You would never go out of your way to impede a federal investigation — but having detectives show up at your door threw you for an emotional loop.
In your panic, you didn’t exactly lie about what you know — but you weren’t entirely truthful, either. You obfuscated the facts a little or claimed that you didn’t know the answer to their questions (even though you did).
You could now be guilty of a crime
Title 18, Section 1001 of the United States Code is a favorite tool among federal prosecutors. Under that section of the law, you’re guilty of a crime if you “knowingly and willfully” make any statement or representation that is materially false, fraudulent or fictitious or somehow falsify, conceal or hide a material fact from investigators.
This means that anything short of the absolute truth — or absolute silence — can be considered a crime. This is true even if you aren’t under oath when you lie, and it’s true whether or not you were given any kind of Miranda Warning.
Nor does it matter if your lie was effective. In fact, federal authorities are known for asking questions to which they already know the answer. they do this both to test the truthfulness of a witness and to ensnare those who are not — yet — in a legal trap.
Silence is always golden when dealing with federal agents
When you’re being questioned by federal agents, the smartest thing you can say is, “I’m invoking my right to remain silent until I speak to my attorney.” You need to take immediate steps to protect your rights and your future.