To bribe is an illegal practice of providing something to another individual or group in exchange for something else.
It’s an illegal operation across numerous business and legal and government sectors. Furthermore, the act results in criminal charges and potential prison time.
The presentation of a bribe involves the offer of a valuable object, such as money, a gift, or an opportunity to a business or government official. In exchange for this item, the provider expects cooperation in some form, such as decision influence, committing fraud, or going against an organization’s policies.
Bribes toward government and other public officials are illegal across the globe. In the United States, it is prohibited through the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and connected laws. Additionally, states have regulations against the act.
Technically, there aren’t regulations against bribes in the private sector. Still, companies have strict guidelines against the practice. On top of this, a federal mail and wire fraud statute deems it illegal to deprive a party of honest services through bribes from a cooperating third party.
There’s no difference between a bribe and corruption. The latter term encompasses the act of presenting bribes along with other unethical and unlawful actions. These include embezzlement, graft, and influence peddling.
A recent example of this action is the 2019 college admission scandal. To help their children get into prestigious universities, several parents worked with an individual to doctor their children’s records. This individual asked for hundreds of thousands of dollars from each set of parents to make the changes. In addition to charges of mail fraud to the manipulator, those that knowingly provided the bribes were also charged.
When it's determined that a bribe has taken place, there are serious consequences for both the provider and the receiver.
When it’s determined that a bribe has taken place, there are serious consequences for both the provider and the receiver. In the business world, the discovery of the action leads to the termination of the parties and legal actions. Further investigation takes place to discover if the practice occurred in other organizations.
If a bribe is presented to a public official, it could result in the arrest of both individuals and groups. In addition, they might be sent to prison. This depends on the circumstances, the scope of the crime, and the information discovered by legal authorities.
If someone is convicted of a bribe delivered to a public official, they are fined up to three times its value. Furthermore, they could receive a sentence of imprisonment of no less than 15 years in a federal penitentiary. Both parties could be denied the possibility of holding office once their bribery prison terms are complete.
These fines and prison sentences may be reduced or increased depending on the situation. For instance, if someone is forced to present a bribe by another party, they might not be subject to legal action.
Are you concerned that you or someone you know is involved in this form of corruption? If so, reach out to our lawyers at the Law Office of Patrick R McKamey for more information. Patrick McKamey has the experience to help you with your case.