Bribery is not politically correct. We understand the consequences.
Being charged with bribery generally means you have offered money to a public official to behave in a certain manner. This may involve offering money in exchange for awarding a contract to your company or offering money to thwart specific legislation. Charges for paying a bribe are not to be confused with someone’s acceptance of a bribe. Even if a public official did not accept funds from you, you may still face bribery charges.
INVESTIGATING BRIBERY CHARGES
Typically, bribery charges are not filed unless someone has filed a specific complaint against a person or business. For example, if a company offered a school department a steep discount to accept school books from them and no other vendor in spite of a bidding process, the school may report the attempted bribery. Money may not have changed hands and in this case, money would not change hands. Instead, the funds were merely used to reduce the obligation to pay for the books.
PUBLIC CORRUPTION CHARGES AND BRIBERY
If a public official is charged with any type of corruption, it is a fairly common practice to begin an investigation into all of his known associates. Oftentimes, this can result in someone who has provided gifts in nearly any form in return for specific consideration. For example, if someone offered a public official tickets to a Yankees game in consideration of having their bid for services accepted, this would be considered bribery.
LEVELS OF BRIBERY
Offering a bribe to a public official is nearly always considered a felony. Under New York laws, bribery is charged by degrees, usually depending on the dollar value of the consideration. The most severe charge is bribery in the first degree and it is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. To be prosecuted for this offense, the person offering the bribe must be asking for consideration to influence an individual to change the outcome of an arrest, prosecution or incarceration. Even a low-value benefit is prosecuted aggressively.
In addition to facing charges of bribery, a person offering money could also face charges of enterprise corruption, falsification of business records and in extreme cases, grand larceny. Those found guilty of bribery may also face extortion charges depending on the circumstances of the investigation and resulting arrest.
Bribery charges have minimum sentence requirements and a guilty finding is something anyone under investigation should be concerned about. If you have discovered you are the subject of an ongoing bribery investigation or if you have just been charged under New York bribery laws, it is important to hire a white collar criminal attorney immediately.
Solomon Richman, P.C. has experience dealing with a wide range of white collar crimes including bribery. We understand that in addition to being able to conduct our own investigation of the proof against you that you need a strong advocate. Contact us at (516) 437-6443 if you have been accused of bribery. We will stand by your side throughout the investigation and work hard to ensure you do not face jail time as the result of a conviction.