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Bribing a Financial Institution

Whether we like it or not, banks and other financial institutions play a large role in the country's economy and our day-to-day lives. Whenever someone is looking to buy a home, start a business, or pursue an education, they rely on banks to provide financial backing. Facing a denial of funds, however, can quickly derail their hopes and dreams.

As a result, people may take desperate measures to help their chances of receiving vital financing. This can include bribing or otherwise influencing a financial officer to make a favorable decision. However, these acts are forbidden by federal law, and any person who is accused of taking these steps could face life-changing criminal penalties and crippling fines.

A Michigan bribing a financial institution lawyer may be able to help. A qualified attorney could work with you if you are accused of either bribing a financial institution or receiving a bribe to protect your rights and freedoms in United States District Court.

How the Law Defines Bribing a Financial Institution

18 U.S.C. §215 prohibits the bribing and receipt of bribes by financial institutions. This statute specifically states that it is illegal for any person to give, offer, or promise anything of value to any person with the intent that this gift will in some way influence a financial institution's business decisions. This can include the offering of money, gifts, property, or future profits.

This statute also makes it illegal for any employee, agent, or officer of a financial institution to accept or solicit any bribe. However, the statute explicitly does not apply to any salaries, commissions, or business expenses that are paid in the normal course of business.

Therefore, it is not illegal for a sales representative to accept a loan application from a client with the knowledge that it would result in a significant commission payment, even if the loan applicant tries to use this as an incentive to promote the deal. A Michigan bribing a financial institution lawyer could provide further clarification about this law and how it might apply to individual cases.

How are Violations of Federal Bribery Laws Punished?

The same statute that outlaws the bribing of financial institutions provides the available penalties for a conviction. The severity of the penalties is tied directly to the dollar value of the alleged act. For example, if a person offers a loan officer a new golf club if they approve a loan, that gift could be valued at around $100. That would make the alleged bribery a misdemeanor, for which a court could sentence a person to no more than one year in jail.

The charges become more serious if the value of the items used in the bribe exceeds $1,000. This makes the charge a felony for which a conviction could result in a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and fines of up to $1,000,000. The available penalties for both the giver and recipient of the bribe are identical, so either way, representation from a Michigan bribing a financial institution lawyer familiar with cases involving bribing a financial institution may be key to a defendant's odds of a positive outcome.

A Michigan Bribing a Financial Institution Attorney Could Fight by Your Side

Allegations that a person has bribed a financial institution are serious matters. A conviction for even the misdemeanor version of this offence could result in heavy fines and significant jail time. The felony version is even more serious, with fines reaching into the thousands of dollars and potentially including lengthy prison sentences. The same penalties can apply to financial employees or officers who solicit or receive bribes.

In either case, a Michigan bribing a financial institution lawyer may be able to help. They could help you understand what the government needs to prove at trial to obtain a conviction and analyze the prosecution's case for strengths and weaknesses to determine the best path forward. Do not take any unnecessary chances—let a knowledgeable attorney fight for you. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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