The federal government has criminal laws in place that punish individuals who give or take bribes in the financial institution setting. The purpose of these laws is to prevent bank deposits from being harmed by bank employees making unsound and improper lines of credit to bribers. These laws are designed to protect deposits, not the banks themselves or their employees.
What Counts as Bribing a Bank Official?
If you give, offer, or promise anything of value to a bank employee with the intent to influence or reward the bank employee in connection with a transaction, you may be found to have bribed an official.
What If a Bank Official Accepts a Bribe?
If you are a bank employee who requests, demands, accepts, or agrees to accept anything of value from a person with the intent to reward them during a transaction may be found to have been bribed. Whether the bribe is actually given to the bank employee, or diverted to a third party, does not matter, as the law is intended to prevent a bank employee from being influenced.
What Is the Penalty for Giving or Accepting a Bribe?
If you are found guilty of giving or accepting a bribe you can be:
- Fined up to one million dollars, or three times the value of the bribe given, offered, promised, requested, demanded, accepted, or agreed to be accepted, depending on whichever is greater; or
- Sent to prison for no more than thirty years; or
- Both a fine and imprisonment
If the bribe is less than $100, then you may face a fine three times the value of the bribe given, a sentence of up to one year of imprisonment, or both.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been accused of giving or taking a bribe in a financial institution setting, you may want to consult an criminal defense attorney who is experienced with white collar crimes. A lawyer can advise you of your rights and defenses that you may assert. Additionally, an attorney can defend you in legal proceedings that may arise after you have been accused.