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When Is a Gift a Bribe?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

August 12, 2019

There is nothing wrong with giving someone a gift to show that you appreciate their work or partnership, but the circumstances that surround the giving of a gift can turn a show of appreciation into an illegal act. That’s why everyone should know when giving a gift turns into a bribe.

Commercial Bribery

As stated in Chapter 838 of the Florida Statutes code, commercial bribery is when a person commits bribery in a commercial setting.

Commercial bribery is defined as, “soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept a benefit with intent to violate a statutory or common-law duty to which that person is subject as:

(a) An agent or employee of another;

(b) A trustee, guardian, or other fiduciary;

(c) A lawyer, physician, accountant, appraiser, or other professional adviser;

(d) An officer, director, partner, manager, or other participant in the direction of the affairs of an organization; or

(e) An arbitrator or other purportedly disinterested adjudicator or referee.”

Therefore, bribery is a situation where someone agrees to accept a personal benefit in exchange for breaking a common-law duty.

Therefore, if a decision-maker in a company makes a decision based on a promised gift, this gift is likely seen as a bribe in the eyes of the law.

Additionally, if a public servant receives a gift and exerts power or refuses to exert power in a particular way (makes a law, approves a contract, etc.) because of that gift, this gift is a bribe.

Have You Been Accused of Bribery?

If you have been accused of bribery, you have the right to defend your case in court. An experienced white-collar crimes attorney can help you fight for your rights in the face of an accusation of bribery.

Hager & Schwartz is ready to defend your case, call (305) 330-1360 now for an immediate consultation.