Under federal law, bribery is the attempt to influence the official actions or duties of others by offering, giving, or receiving something of value. Bribery most commonly involves government officials, witnesses, jurors, and other officials in positions of trust, such as bank officials. If you are facing federal charges, you may wish to contact a Charleston federal bribery lawyer right away.
In many cases, federal bribery cases involve conspiracy, which occurs when two or more people work together to commit a crime. A dedicated federal fraud lawyer may be able to help craft an effective defense strategy in cases involving allegations of bribery and related charges.
Federal Bribery of Public Officials in Charleston
According to 18 U.S.C. § 201(b), bribery of public officials and federal witnesses to be unlawful. Bribery primarily occurs when individuals give, offer, or agree to give anything of value to public officials, or offers or promises public officials to provide anything of value to others, with the intent of:
- Influencing their official acts
- Influencing them to commit or participate in fraud
- Inducing them to violate or omit to carry out their lawful duties
Public officials may also commit bribery when they demand, seek, receive, or offer to receive anything of value in exchange for influencing an official act. Individuals who commit bribery may face fines in the amount of three times the value of the bribe or offered bribe, a 15-year federal prison sentence, or both. A federal bribery conviction may also prohibit individuals from holding any public office in the future.
The same essential elements of bribery also apply to witnesses in trials, hearings, or other proceedings before any courts or government agencies. A federal bribery lawyer in Charleston may be able to examine the circumstances surrounding an alleged bribe and determine whether the evidence is sufficient to support criminal charges under federal law.
Illegal Gratuities Given to Public Officials
Additionally, 18 U.S.C. § 201(c) establishes another form of bribery, in which individuals give something of value to public officials as a result of an official act that they performed. This offense, known as an illegal gratuity, requires that a relationship exists between the public official receiving the item of value and the performance of the official action.
The sanctions for illegal gratuities include fines and a term of incarceration of up to two years. A criminal defense attorney in Charleston may be able to assist in defense of those accused of giving illegal gratuities to public officials.
Bribery of Bank Officers in Charleston
Under 18 U.S.C. § 215, it is illegal to provide anything of value to bank officers to influence their behavior concerning a business transaction. Likewise, it is unlawful for bank officers to solicit or accept anything of value with an illegal or corrupt intent to be influenced in a business transaction.
Bribery of a bank officer can result in a fine of one million dollars or three times the item of value that individuals offer, give, or receive, whichever is greater; a 30-year federal prison sentence; or both. If the item of value is less than $1,000, however, the individuals could face a fine, a one-year prison sentence, or both.
Call a Charleston Federal Bribery Attorney for Advice
Most bribery offenses are felonies and carry severe penalties, including lengthy prison terms and high fines. Conspiracy and other related charges can add further punishments to bribery sentences, worsening the overall sanction. As a result, individuals facing bribery charges may wish to consult a Charleston federal bribery lawyer for legal advice and guidance.
A federal bribery conviction could damage your future employment prospects and your financial future. Retaining the legal advice that you need when initially facing bribery charges could be essential to protecting yourself and your family.