As a contractor, you likely possess a competitive spirit and a strong will to build your empire, but crossing the ethical line into the realm of over-zealousness could lead to the end of your career if you take some ill-advised actions to steer your career towards guaranteed success. One such example that has lead contractors to ruin is the act of bribery, especially in regard to procuring lucrative public works contracts.
In part one of this three-part series, the Jacksonville construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law explained what bribery is and the steep penalties that contractors who commit this crime can face. Now, we will discuss some statistics on bribery and who is responsible when a bribe occurs before discussing a real-world case of contractor bribery in part three. Remember, if you believe that a competing contractor has engaged in bribery with a public official to acquire public contracts, a Jacksonville construction attorney can help you submit a bid protest through the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and local ordinances.
Facts on Bribery Involving Public Officials
In 2017, the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) published an in-depth report on bribery involving public officials. Some of the most important information pertaining to this document includes:
- 216 bribery offenders
- Bribery offenses decreased over the last five years
- 78.7 percent of offenders were men
- Average age of offender was 48 years old
- 94 percent of bribery offenders were United States citizens
- 94.4 percent of bribery offenders had clean criminal records prior to their offense (Criminal History Category I)
- Median monetary value of bribes was $64,500
- 92.7 percent of indicted bribery offenders dealt with less than $1.5 million
- 33.3 percent of indicted bribery offenders dealt with $15,000 or less
- 58.8 percent of indicted bribery offenders were public officials
In addition, the sentences for many bribery offenders were increased because their offense involved multiple bribes, coordination with a high-level public official, involvement in a leadership role, or obstruction of justice.
Who is Responsible for Bribery?
The definition of bribery clearly explains that both parties engaging in the act of bribery, the one giving value and the one receiving it, are guilty. In fact, although it’s not a federal crime, contractors can be bribed by subcontractors to obtain contracts. If a contractor accepts payment in exchange for accepting the services of a subcontractor, both the contractor and subcontractor are committing bribery of a lesser degree.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.