Bribery is a criminal offense that often contains links to political figures. It is always about power and money.
As with many other white-collar charges, such as fraud and embezzlement, the government takes these offenses seriously, and may go to great lengths to prosecute. Upon conviction, a person's penalties are likely to be severe.
The Percoco case
A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco was recently found guilty of federal fraud and bribery charges after the jury deliberated for more than three weeks. According to prosecutors, companies interested in redevelopment on state-owned land and in building power plants paid Percoco and his family more than $300,000 to secure needed help for their projects from the governor. Gov. Cuomo denies knowing anything about this activity.
Shades of the past
The Percoco case is reminiscent of a similar case from 2009, when a federal jury convicted then-Congressman William Jennings Jefferson of bribery. Like Joseph Percoco, Jefferson solicited “things of value,” bribes that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars that he used in his official capacity to advance the interests of certain companies. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison on 11 counts that included wire fraud, violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and bribery. The court also ordered Jefferson to forfeit $470,000.
Joseph Percoco faces penalties that include up to 20 years in prison on charges that include soliciting bribes in addition to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. The bribes include a $90,000-a-year position for his wife from the company interested in building power plants.
A person does not have to be a politician to become embroiled in a bribery issue; no matter what someone does for a living, even the implication could ruin his or her career. However, if an individual senses that a charge such as bribery is in the wind, it is a good idea to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who may be able to prevent prosecution and who can litigate even the most complex matter, if it comes to that.