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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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What is Federal Bribery?

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 28, 2023)

Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:22 pm

Unmasking Bribery: Shady Deals and Public Authority

Alright, let’s have a chat about bribery – one nasty piece of business that’s affecting our societal norms and public duties. Picture this: someone with power and authority gets a tempting offer, some sort of valuable goodie to sway their actions to someone else’s favor. Sounds like a plot of an intense movie thriller, doesn’t it? But that’s bribery for you, a grim reality that brings private interests to the forefront, pushing honesty and integrity into the background. And, understandably, it’s a crime that can land both the giver and taker in a lot of hot water.

Digging into the Bribery Blueprint

So, you might be wondering, what does it take to prove bribery? First off, you need a “quid pro quo” situation, which is just a fancy Latin way to say a clear exchange – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. This isn’t like a campaign donation from a corporation to a political candidate; there’s a direct relationship here, and evidence of it can make a case for this violation.

The key word here is “intent”. You’ve got to show that there was an underlying intention to influence some official duties. And, of course, both parties must be on the same page, fully understanding and agreeing to the deal. Simply asking for a bribe can get you in deep trouble, and you don’t even have to succeed in getting it. Surprisingly enough, the penalty for trying and succeeding to get a bribe can be pretty much the same.

Consequences of Bribery: Economy in the Crosshairs

Bribery may seem like a cut-and-dry crime to some, but it also throws a wrench into our economy. It fuels something called rent-seeking behavior, which basically means a company or individual is trying to rig the market in their favor in an unscrupulous way.

This inappropriate market influence creates a situation where resources aren’t allocated correctly, like a sophisticated game of musical chairs where only a select few have a chair when the music stops. This, in turn, can stunt economic growth and needs to be tackled head-on.

At Spodek Law Group, we’ve seen firsthand the distress bribery creates – and we’re here to help. Todd Spodek, our seasoned lawyer, is your ace in the hole for dealing with criminal charges like these. Whether you’re the one facing charges or know someone who is, reach out to us, we’ve got your back.

Bringing to Light Federal Bribery Charges

Here’s the scoop: bribery isn’t just serious, it’s flat out prohibited at both state and federal levels in the US. And let’s say you’re caught committing federal bribery, the next thing you can expect could be time behind bars, heavy fines, and possibly a future where you’re disqualified from handling positions of honor or trust in Uncle Sam’s land.

But wait, what exactly counts as bribery?

Here’s the lowdown: somebody gifts something or drops some greenbacks into the hands of public officials hoping for some favorable treatment. Now, don’t get it twisted. In some countries, bribery is as common as coffee, but here in the states, it’s a big no-no. Imagine someone trying one of these stunts:

• A sneaky deal with a judge for a lighter sentence.
• Making a cop’s pocket heavier to dodge a ticket.
• Spoiling a government official with an all-expense-paid trip hoping for quicker construction permits.

Dissecting Federal Bribery

Federal bribery can come in various flavors: bribery of a public official, illegal gratuity to a public official, sneaky receipt of commissions or gifts if you secure loans, and conspiracy. It’s illegal for officials to demand or accept anything valuable in return for some sort of influence over official acts, to enable fraud, or do (or neglect to do) something against their official responsibilities.

Public Official Bribery: The Breakdown

In legal parlance, under the princely 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(1), someone can be guilty of bribing a public official if they give or promise something in return for influence over an official act, or to avoid performing an official act, which is opposite to the public duty of the official.

“Hang on”, you might say, “who’s a public official?” Well, any officer, employee, or agent acting on behalf of Uncle Sam or any of its departments is a public official. Surprise surprise, even Jurors can be caught under this umbrella!

Illegal Gifts to Public Officials: The Nitty-Gritty

The unlawful art of giving gifts to public officials, formally known as Illegal Gratuity to a Public Official under 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)(A), is also about offering something valuable to an official for an act. To make a case for this violation, a tangible connection between the gift offered and influence over an official act is required.

Sketchy Receipt of Gifts or Commissions for Securing Loans

Involving bank officers, this flavor of bribery is known under 18 U.S.C. § 215(a)(1) as Receipt of Commissions or Gifts for Procuring Loans. In this case, bank officers could include directors, staffers, agents, and even attorneys of a financial institution.

Conspiracy: The Collusion Crime

Simply put, it’s a criminal agreement between two or more people to perform illegal actions. Even one overt act to further a conspiracy can land your team with federal bribery charges.

Winding Up: The Elements of Federal Bribery Charges

To make the case in court that somebody has gone against federal criminal statute related to bribery, a prosecutor must demonstrate the defendant made an offering to a public official with the goal of impacting an official act. To do this, they must show beyond a reasonable doubt that a quid pro quo existed; that the offered gift had a price: the public official’s actions or decision.

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