Those who have wealth tend to have influence, but those who use their wealth to directly obtain influence in any fashion may be found guilty of one of the more serious white collar crimes: bribery. In the state of New York, bribery charges are divided into two forms: bribery of a public servant and commercial bribery. Both of these charges are considered felonies, and can result in penalties including long prison sentences, large fines, and more.
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When you work in a government institution or hold a position of power, you are forbidden from taking bribes. It’s not uncommon for businesspeople and others who wish to have the government look the other way on their unscrupulous deeds or grant them special privileges to “incentivize” a legislator with a gift. The laws regarding bribery in the public sector are covered under Article 200 of New York Penal Law, which deals with bribery and receiving bribes for public servants.
Outside of the public sphere, commercial bribery is also a serious crime that involves attempting to purchase a decision or action from someone who holds power. For example, companies are not allowed to bribe employees in their competitors in order to sabotage their business or steal trade secrets. Commercial bribery in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in prison.
Commercial bribery in the first degree is the same, but is applied when the benefit given exceeds $1,000 in value or the damage resulting from the bribe exceeds $250 in value. Commercial bribery in the first degree is considered a class E felony, carrying penalties of up to four years in prison.
In both commercial and public servant situations, receiving a bribe is against the law. Depending on the value of the bribe you receive, your penalties could be exactly the same as the ones levied against the one who gave you the bribe in the first place. Additionally, public servants who are convicted are usually removed from office and never allowed to hold a public servant position again.
Have you been accused of bribery? Don’t face your prosecution without a powerful ally on your side! Contact Foley Griffin, LLP online now to get started.