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Difference Between Illegal Gratuity and Bribery in Maryland Federal Bribery Cases

If a person is facing bribery or illegal gratuity charges, they should seek an experienced Federal public corruption attorney who understands the severity of the consequences and penalties. There is a difference between illegal gratuity and bribery in Maryland Federal bribery cases. A common misconception is that a person offering an illegal gratuity or bribery will not be charged, however, both parties can be charged with public corruption offenses. A person needs to build a strong defense and seek a lawyer who can help them determine the best course of action.

Federal Bribery Charges

Bribery is interesting because there are two parties involved, the briber and the person being bribed. Bribery takes place when someone gives, offers, or promises something of value to a public official with the intent to influence an official act. Bribery also occurs when a public official demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value for themselves or someone else in return for affecting the performance of an official act or to commit some form of fraud against the United States. Bribery is a two-way street where both sides can be prosecuted: the person who offers or gives money or something of value with the expectation that the public official acts in their favor; and the public official who accepts or agrees to accept something of value in exchange for them to perform or omit some act.

Common Misconception

A common misconception is that people think bribery is focused on the public official or, conversely, focused on the person attempting to influence a public official. However, it happens both ways and does not require that the transaction actually takes place. A public official who agrees to accept or an individual who offers to give is enough under the bribery statute. The giver and the recipient can be charged with bribery.

What is an illegal gratuity?

Illegal gratuity is when something of value is given or offered to a public official for the purpose of influencing that person’s act. Illegal gratuity is when someone gives anything of value to a public official in exchange for some official act that took place. In other words, a county commissioner votes the way a person wants the county commissioner to vote on a specific act or action by the government and so they give the county commissioner $10,000 or a new car. That is an illegal gratuity. The difference between bribery and an illegal gratuity is that bribery requires proof that there was an agreement by the public official to do or not do something in their public duties in exchange for receiving something of value. An illegal gratuity does not require that the public official agreed to do something in exchange for the thing of value.

Differences Between Illegal Gratuity and Bribery

There are differences between illegal gratuity and bribery in Maryland Federal bribery cases. Bribery is an exchange. There is an agreement between both parties. The person attempting to bribe the public official and the public official accepting or agreeing to accept the bribe. There is an agreement that a thing of value will be given in exchange for the public official doing or not doing something because of the thing of value being given. An illegal gratuity is where someone gives something of value to a public official because of something the public official did or did not do with regard to their official duties.

It is not okay if a person wants to give the mayor of their hometown a gift because they like the way the mayor voted on certain things and want to influence future decisions made by the public official. That is why illegal gratuity is unlawful. That is the important differentiation between bribery and illegal gratuity.