A kickback is a method of bribery that is negotiated prior to engaging in services. After the services are completed, the kickback (i.e., the bribe) is delivered. Kickbacks can take the form of money, services, or goods.
Kickbacks are differentiated from other types of bribes as there is implicit collusion between the negotiators of the two parties. This is in contrast with traditional bribes, with one party typically extorting the other. Kickbacks are generally offered by one party to another in order for cooperation in illegal activities or schemes, like healthcare fraud.
If you have been accused of engaging in a kickback scheme, a federal criminal defense attorney may be able to help you.
One example of a kickback is the submission of an inflated or fraudulent invoice for goods and services that are of inferior quality or items that are not needed. An employee of the company purchasing the unneeded goods will then secure the payment for the company submitting the fraudulent invoice.
The employee that secures the payment will then receive some form of payment (i.e., cash, services, or merchandise) for their cooperation. There are also individuals who work as "brokers" for kickbacks. These brokers help to link individuals with other individuals that are willing to engage in a kickback scheme.
In the case that a broker is used, one party or both parties usually pay the broker as a part of the kickback scheme. Kickback schemes can also be more widespread. In the 1980s, some companies that provided services to patients with Medicare would send payments to doctors if they referred their patients to them for services, regardless of if the patient needed the services the company provided.
These types of fraudulent acts led the United States government to pass an anti-kickback act in order to prevent these activities.
The Anti-Kickback Act passed by Congress in 1986 bans government subcontractors and contractors from accepting or soliciting kickbacks. Contractors who violate the terms set by the act may be punished by five years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
Criminal charges for involvement in kickback schemes can be charged at both the federal and state levels. For individuals facing these charges, it is wise to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. They can help protect your rights in court and have a strategy planned to get you a favorable outcome.
If you would like more information or a no-fee consultation regarding your kickback case, contact the federal criminal defense attorneys at Foley Griffin, LLP.