NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 13th August 2023, 03:20 am
Corruption and Fraud
Public corruption and government fraud are both white collar crimes characterized by a public official’s abuse of power in exchange (usually) for monetary gain or other assets of value. The most frequent example of government fraud is when a politician takes or solicits a bribe. Nonetheless, there are a multitude of other means by which a public official can commit fraud. Since public corruption poses a substantial risk to the quality of roads and other public services, community protection, and how the court system functions, the FBI and other federal agencies fervently prosecute individuals who are suspected of carrying out or being involved in corruption.
If you or someone you love is the target of an investigation or has been arrested for public corruption, it is essential to get the legal representation of a seasoned federal crimes attorney. Such cases can be extremely complex, and so you need to work with an attorney who knows how to deal with and defend such serious charges.
Public Corruption and Government Fraud Are Federal Offenses
The public corruption cases that are most common generally involve allegations that a public official got or requested a bribe, kickback, or gratuity as compensation for or in connection with an official act. It is critical to note that, in numerous cases, the actual transfer of a bribe is not required to constitute a federal offense. Indeed, public officials have been arrested on occasion based on the promise of a bribe alone.
There are a multitude of federal statutes that govern the prosecution of public corruption and government fraud. A few of the most frequently used statutes on public corruption cases include:
- Hobbs Act — This Act forbids actual or attempted robbery or extortion that affects interstate or foreign commerce “in any way or degree.”
- RICO — An acronym for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, this federal statute was enacted to combat organized crime in the United States.
- Mail Fraud — Federal mail fraud entails the use of mail services to carry out specified fraudulent acts.
- Wire Fraud — Federal wire fraud includes any fraudulent or deceitful scheme carried out through the use of interstate wires.
- The Travel Act — The Travel Act renders bribery in violation of state or federal law a federal crime.
- 18 USC 201 — The federal official bribery and gratuity statute.
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — This federal act renders it unlawful to furnish payments to any foreign government official to assist in obtaining or retaining business.
Various Forms of Public Corruption
The multitude of federal statutes listed above are the government’s effort to cover virtually any type or form of public corruption. That said, corruption and government fraud continue to be common across America. Several of the most common methods that public officials use to commit corruption and fraud include:
- Money laundering
- Bid rigging
- Extortion (including bribery, blackmail, and ransom)
- Honest services fraud
- Embezzlement of public monies
- Campaign law violation
- Defrauding the government
It is important to understand that public corruption can take place at the local, state, or federal level.
Possible Punishments for Public Corruption Convictions
Since federal agencies aggressively work to curtail instances of this federal crime, public corruption and government fraud carry extremely harsh penalties. Generally speaking, punishment on the heels of a successful conviction could include both incarceration and fines. The fine is likely to be commensurate with the value of the money, goods, or services that were fraudulently gained. Moreover, the prison terms connected with public corruption are known to be rather long, often lasting up to 20 years. Finally, if a public official has been apprehended in an act of corruption, then he/she might lose the ability to campaign for any public office thereafter.
Also, public corruption holds a statute of limitations of five years. Pursuant to federal statute 18 USC 3282, a person (in this case, a public official) can be protected from prosecution if the alleged noncapital offense failed to result in an indictment within five years of the offense.
Defending Against Federal Public Corruption Charges
Federal investigators have monumental resources, money, and influence when carrying out an investigation regarding public corruption. Because of this, these are not matters to be taken lightly. If a federal investigator has reached out to you or a loved one, make certain that you call a federal crimes lawyer as soon as you can. Even if no formal charges have been filed against you yet, an well informed attorney can start functioning as your spokesperson for communication with investigators and diligently fight to prevent the charges from being filed.
If, on the other hand, public corruption charges have been already filed, however, then you definitely need a corruption defense attorney to assist you through this long, complex legal situation. Your lawyer can confront the prosecution’s narrative, evidence, and witness testimony with evidence on your side and keep you abreast of court dates and proceedings.