A federal criminal law case starts with an investigation, triggered in one of a number of ways: unlike a bank robbery where the event itself triggers the investigation, in most white collar criminal cases a federal regulatory (the SEC, one or another Medicare program safeguard contractor, the IRS, etc.) gets wind of improper conduct, or a federal criminal law investigative agency - FBI, DEA, ATF, ICE, etc. - comes across information about criminal conduct. That can happen in one of a number of ways. First, some citizen might see or hear about criminal conduct and report it. Sometimes federal criminal law cases begin with the arrest of someone caught engaging in a criminal act and, in order to save himself, he tells the authorities that he knows of some far more serious criminal conduct.