As we indicated before in our previous blog, professionals in Pennsylvania are regulated by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA). A question many licensed professionals and workers have is "once an investigation begins, what steps should a person take to defend their livelihood?"
As we reported here, the start of a BPOA investigation can be brought about by a number of reasons and the first time the accused usually becomes aware of the investigation is when they are contacted at home or their office by one of the BPOA's investigators - known as Professional Conduct Investigators, or PCIs.
If you only heed one piece of advice, speak with a professional licensing attorney before you speak with a PCI or give them any documents or records. PCIs are not required to provide the target of their investigation with "Miranda Warnings" that police officers and detectives must give. They often will not provide a copy of the complaint against the professional.
However, a licensee represented by counsel has a tremendous advantage over an unrepresented target. A Philadelphia criminal defense attorney familiar with defending licensed professionals in Pennsylvania can:
- explain your rights
- control what information is provided to the PCI by making appropriate objections and ensuring that the PCI and BPOA has complied with law governing the release of medical (and other) records
- request that any interviews be recorded so that your words cannot be twisted against you
- obtain information and documents for investigators
- ensure that your possible defenses to any allegations are not damaged during an interview with a PCI
- communicate directly with the BPOA's prosecuting attorney
- provide a position statement to the BPOA attorney before a decision is made whether to prosecute or not.
An investigation does not automatically lead to prosecution. With skilled representation from the beginning, it is possible to have an investigation closed without prosecution or formal disciplinary charges.
Licensed professionals are experts in their field. But, they don't know the law, procedure, or rules that apply to a BPOA investigation. In fact, most attorneys are not even familiar with these specialized rules. In nearly all cases, an unrepresented person is simply not adequately prepared to be interrogated by a seasoned investigator, and does not know how to subpoena documents and present evidence on their own behalf in a compelling way. The sad truth is that people with a good defense or explanation just do not know how to adequately prepare their case and either avoid prosecution, or argue effectively in front of the BPOA because they have never been through anything like this before. The BPOA is represented by attorneys: you should be too.
If you have been notified by the BPOA or one of its investigators about a complaint against you, contact a lawyer that has the skills, experience, and reputation to handle the allegations against you. Michael Parkinson, Timothy Tarpey, and James Lloyd are criminal defense attorneys and former Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys with more than 40 years of experience who have handled thousands of criminal cases.
More importantly, Tim Tarpey and Jim Lloyd are also Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE). As Certified Fraud Examiners, our attorneys are highly skilled in analyzing claims of fraud, deception, improper record keeping, and other financial issues and in building a strong and persuasive defense.
If you have any type of questions about an occupational license or professional licensing disciplinary issue, don't try to handle a complicated situation without professional help.
You can ask our attorneys questions about your case for free, and with no obligation.Simply contact us at (215) 352-3432.