Prosecutors are increasingly relying on civil investigations—where unsuspecting witnesses are less likely to be represented by counsel—to further criminal investigations. A recent article in The New York Times describes the cautionary tale of a former Dewey & LeBoeuf non-attorney employee who was contacted by an SEC attorney in connection with an investigation into a bond offering. Because the employee was not involved in the bond offering, he did not think he was a target. Accordingly, he agreed to meet with the SEC to provide them with what he believed to be background information related to a civil investigation. Prior to the meeting, the SEC attorney told the employee that a district attorney would also be at the meeting. The district attorney asked the majority of the questions at the meeting, leading the employee to realize that he himself was a target. Four months later, the employee was indicted—along with Dewey’s former chairman, executive director, and chief financial officer—on fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly concocting an accounting scheme that led Dewey to bankruptcy. The employee claims he was never told that he was the target of a criminal investigation and did not hire an attorney until after he was indicted. While the tactic is technically not improper, persons who are contacted by a government agency to be witnesses in a civil matter should proceed cautiously lest they too find themselves unwittingly speaking with a prosecutor who is in fact preparing a criminal case against them.