If you have been charged with taking or giving a bribe in Scranton or another community in Northeastern Pennsylvania, you will need a criminal defense lawyer representing you as soon as possible. The consequences can be dramatic if you are found guilty of this criminal charge.
Depending on how much money was involved, you could be fined thousands of dollars and/or imprisoned for several years if you are convicted of bribery. In addition, you could lose your license to work in your chosen profession due to your bribery conviction.
At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we understand the seriousness of such bribery charges in Pennsylvania. Our white collar criminal attorneys are also extremely knowledgeable about state and federal bribery laws. Our law firm includes a former two-term District Attorney for Lackawanna County.
What is Bribery?
Bribery involves giving, soliciting or receiving money or other items of value to influence someone or a business in exchange for something else of value. Common motivations for bribery include:
- Obtaining a job
- Seeking business or government contracts
- Hoping to persuade law enforcement officials not to investigate criminal activity
What are Different Types of Bribery?
- Bribery of a public official – Such bribery charges are among the most common in Pennsylvania and across the country. Bribing public officials can include judges, politicians, police officers and many others. Public officials who actively request bribes also can be charged with this crime.
- Bribing a witness – This charge often goes hand in hand with other criminal charges. Specifically, a defendant on trial for a crime might bribe a witness in an attempt to convince the witness not to testify in court.
- Bank Bribery – This form of bribery often involves bribing a bank official to receive a loan. Bank officials that solicit bribes in exchange for special treatment can also be charged with bank bribery.
- Bribery in sporting contests – Anyone involved with fixing the outcome of a sporting event for monetary gain can be charged with bribery.
What are the Penalties for Bribery in Pennsylvania?
The penalties for bribery in Pennsylvania vary widely. Factors that affect the penalty for bribery convictions include the amount of money involved, number of times the bribery occurred and whether violence or intimidation was used when soliciting or accepting a bribe.
In the case of bribing a public official in Pennsylvania, for example, this form of bribery often results in up to 15 years in prison. But some prison terms can be much longer, especially if they also involve RICO or racketeering charges.
One recent notorious case involved former Pennsylvania judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, who was found guilty of accepting cash from juvenile detention center officials in exchange for sending the minors to these facilities. Conahan was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Ciavarella is now serving a 28-year prison term and is liable for damages, meaning financial compensation.
How can Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano Help
If you are represented by us, we will discreetly investigate the government’s allegations. Our approach often includes reviewing arrest records, financial statements and consulting with experts in their field in certain cases. Call (570) 348-0776 today to find out how we can start helping you.