Naples Bribery Defense Lawyer
We can help you with your complex criminal case in Collier County, FL
The authority and influence placed in the hands of elected or appointed government officials and public employees can invite bribery to occur. Witnesses in legal cases and jurors are also subject to bribery laws. Federal law can impose harsh sentences on those convicted of bribery in Naples, Florida. As a result, someone accused of this crime may want the representation of a Naples bribery defense lawyer who understands federal criminal law. A defense attorney may develop strategies for casting doubt on a prosecutor’s interpretation of evidence.
Bribery encompasses both the offer or acceptance of something valuable in exchange for a desired outcome that the public official or employee can provide. Public officials could also be accused of graft when they solicit or accept bribes.
Important things to know about bribery:
- anything deemed to have value can serve as a bribe.
- money, lucrative government contracts, jewelry, travel packages, discounted real estate or delivery of tangible property could represent a bribe.
- the exchange of value does not have to take place for the crime of bribery to exist.
- the two parties only need to have entered an intentional agreement to make the corrupt exchange.
- the action resulting from a bribe does not have to undermine the public interest.
Real-life bribery examples
A person might end up with a charge of bribery during a traffic stop, which happened to a Naples man during a DUI stop. After failing his field sobriety test, officers alleged that he offered them money for a ride home.
In some cases, evidence suggests that public employees actually accepted bribes. This is the accusation in an investigation of multiple employees at the Bruce W. Carter Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. They allegedly wrote fictional supply orders or inflated real orders to pad bills to supply vendors that then paid them for the favor. Each bribery charge could produce a 15-year prison sentence in addition to penalties for other federal criminal charges against the defendants.
Bribery accusations frequently involve elected officials instead of employees. The mayor of one South Florida town stood trial on charges of accepting money from a lobbyist on behalf of developers who turned out to be undercover FBI agents. The jury acquitted her, and the governor reinstated her to her elected position.
Bribery can take many other forms, such as:
- a gambler paying an athlete to manipulate the final score of a game
- a contractor paying a building inspector to ignore defects
- a developer offering something of value to a local official who can approve a building permit
- a public official intending to influence an official act in violation of official duty
- an elected official soliciting bribes in exchange for political action
- a person offering bribes to an elected official for the purpose of altering legislation
- a person attempting to buy favorable witness testimony or prevent testimony altogether
- a witness asking for some form of payment to give, alter or withhold testimony
Expert witnesses, however, may charge a fee for their services in certain contexts without violating the law.
Due to the variations that can arise in bribery cases, legal representation from someone capable of unearthing weaknesses in evidence could prove essential to avoiding maximum penalties.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Federal law applies to bank bribery
The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 addressed corrupt practices within the banking industry. Bank officers, such as employees, agents, directors, attorneys and other office holders at financial institutions, must not ask for or accept money, goods, services or anything of value outside of what is given directly to a bank during legitimate transactions.
The legal elements that form a bank bribery case are similar to other corruption cases involving public officials or those who offered bribes. A conviction may be possible if a prosecutor can show that:
- a defendant offered or delivered something of value to someone else
- the accused person knowingly and willfully acted in a corrupt fashion
- the intent to influence or compensate a bank officer or employee existed
- the alleged bribe took place in connection with a business transaction at a financial institution
Prosecutors must build a case around evidence that illustrates all elements laid out in the criminal code for a particular crime. The primary role of a defense lawyer is to highlight the absence or insufficiency of the evidence. The elimination of one or all of the elements necessary to prove guilt could enable a defense attorney to get charges dropped or reduced or convince a jury that too much doubt exists to convict.
Comprehensive defense strategies
Accusations of bribery may only be one part of a criminal case against a person. Defendants often face multiple related federal charges that could include tax evasion, insider trading, embezzlement or money laundering. The potential for multiple convictions on multiple charges enhances the risk of lengthy prison sentences or costly fines for people caught up in a criminal investigation.
Building a defense against aggressive federal prosecutors requires an attorney capable of analyzing every detail of the criminal complaint. Extensive scrutiny of the evidence may reveal weak areas that enable a defense attorney to argue that required legal elements have not been satisfied. This effort may include gathering additional evidence, interviewing witnesses and, at times, presenting an affirmative defense that offers an alternative narrative about what happened.
Federal defense attorney serving Naples
A person must treat allegations of bribery very seriously due to the potential for long prison terms and reputational damage. Joffe Law, P.A. provides individuals concerned about an investigation with confidential advice from a bribery defense attorney. Ideally, people seek legal counsel as soon as they realize that suspicions of corruption have been raised. Legal guidance at the early stages could shield someone from arrest in Naples or pave the way for a viable defense if the case moves forward.