The most common way a person can be charged with bribery is in the contracting realm, where a contractor bids on a government contract. The individual tries to sweeten the pot by incentivizing the party that decides who gets the contract by providing that person a thing of value. Incentives can be trips, cash, or anything of value that provides the decision-maker with a reason to choose the individual’s company’s services for that contract.
Other forms of bribery involve elected officials in the government who have friends that donated to campaigns or provided personal enrichment to the elected official for favorable treatment from that elected official. This is often referred to as “paying for play.” Any pay-for-play scheme that involves a government official is ripe for a bribery charge. If you have been charged with federal bribery in Virginia and are looking to combat your charge, consult with a bribery attorney as soon as possible.
Because the nature of these offenses betrays public trust and government function, the United States Attorneys who prosecute these cases consider them to be serious crimes. They believe that one of their most important roles is to preserve public trust in government. These actions undermine public trust in government. They see it as their duty to restore public faith in governmental institutions and rigorously prosecute those charged.
No matter how the Virginia federal bribery charges occur, an individual should hire an attorney to combat the severity of the penalties associated with the charge.
There is a range of penalties for bribery charges that depend on the amount of money involved. The federal sentencing guidelines use a sliding scale to assign points for the base offense level. The higher the dollar figure, the higher the sentence can be. The maximum penalty for bribery is 20 years in prison. It is easy for people to get close to that in large-scale bribery schemes when great amounts of money are exchanged.
Conspiracy charges are treated similarly in a sense that the amount of money involved increases the sentencing guideline recommendation.
A federal bribery charge or conviction on a person’s record calls into question their trustworthiness. It is a crime of moral turpitude (CMT). A CMT conviction on a person’s record affects their future employability. Their days of doing business with the government are most likely over. No matter whether they get prison time or not, they are out of the contracting business entirely as part of any supervised release or probation they get as a result of such a sentence.
Beyond the scope of that probation or supervised release, no government agency will come close to someone with a bribery conviction on their record. To determine how the Virginia federal bribery crime occurred, and to properly combat the allegation, it is pertinent to consult with an attorney.
Depending on how an individual’s Virginia federal bribery charge occurred, they are likely placed on a pre-trial supervision period that feels like probation. They have a probation officer with whom they must check in with on a regular basis. Their travel is also most likely restricted. The government takes the individual’s passport away to prohibit them from leaving the country. Finally, they are required to reside at their home address and clear any and all travel with the pre-trial supervising officer prior to doing so.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the government attorneys go to a grand jury and procure an indictment. They might notify the person that they are the target of an investigation and invite them to come in and cooperate prior to that indictment taking place.
Under certain circumstances, someone could be arrested on criminal information provided by the government to the court. The court then issues a warrant for that person’s arrest. The vast majority of bribery cases originate with an indictment.
When someone is charged with federal bribery, there is a good chance the government overstepped their authority and made assumptions about what took place. It is up to the attorney to find out what really went on and then attempt to disavow the government’s attorneys of their opinions.
If the attorney is unsuccessful in doing that, they must prepare for a vigorous trial where they can present evidence proving the true intent of the exchange. If the true intent of the exchange was not to influence government function, they should win at trial, and dismiss the penalties associated with their client’s Virginia federal bribery charge. Only a seasoned attorney experienced with these kinds of cases has the ability to develop a game plan to do that.