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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Federal Defense Lawyer Explains Foreign Corrupt Practices

FCPA defense attorneysThose who do business abroad may find that the business climate in many foreign countries encourages corrupt practices including bribery of public officials. While this behavior may be standard practice in certain parts of the world, companies in the United States can face very serious legal consequences if they engage in this type of behavior. These legal consequences occur under the terms of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was passed in 1977 to prohibit U.S. companies and U.S. individuals from engaging in bribery to further a business deal.

Anyone who resorts to bribery – even if the bribe is a very small one – could potentially be charged with a federal criminal offense under the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act.

This could have very serious financial consequences and could affect your future if you or your company has been accused of wrongdoing.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act can be a complicated law to understand and it can be difficult formulate a response to charges, especially when much of the evidence involved in these types of cases may be located in foreign jurisdictions. It is imperative that you are represented by a federal criminal defense lawyer who understands the laws and who can put together a sold defense strategy aimed at helping you to avoid a guilty verdict or minimize the penalties that you face.

If you live in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas or if your company does business in these states and you or your organization has been charged with a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, LV Criminal Defense is here and ready to help you to respond to accusations. We know the laws inside and out and can help you throughout the investigation and during the entirety of your involvement with the federal criminal justice system.

To find out more about how our firm can represent you as you face charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or if you are charged with any federal offenses, you should give us a call today.

What Does the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Require and Prohibit?

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act applies to publicly traded companies, shareholders, directors, agents of organizations, corporate officers, and employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) work together to oversee the enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and those who are accused of violating the Act could face both criminal penalties and civil penalties if they are found to have committed wrongdoing.

The FCPA applies to prevent prohibited misconduct anywhere in the entire world, so defendants can be charged with wrongdoing for bribes made on foreign soil no matter where the bribes take place. Any type of bribe to assist in obtaining business or to assist in retaining business is strictly prohibited.

Bribes are unlawful not only if they are made by the company or its officers directly, but also if they are made on behalf of a company by any third party agents, joint-venture partners, consultants, distributors, or anyone else acting on behalf of the organization or working to secure business for the company through the use of unlawful bribes.

In order to make certain that no unlawful bribery is taking place, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act not only prohibits bribery but also imposes affirmative requirements. For example, organizations are mandated to obtain accurate books and records.

They are also required to provide reasonable assurances that all transactions are done with authorization from management and that any and all assets are accused and accounted for in accordance with authorization from managers.

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Penalties Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Penalties for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act can be very severe. There are both criminal penalties and civil penalties that can be imposed. While civil penalties do not include jail time, the financial loss due to fines, fees, and penalties can be substantial and the burden of proof for those civil penalties to be imposed is much lower than the burden of proof required to secure a conviction in criminal cases.

While the burden of proof in criminal cases requires guilt to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, civil penalties can be imposed if it is proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was violated. This means civil penalties can be imposed if it is more likely than not true that the Act was violated.

The criminal penalties can include a felony conviction and lengthy jail sentence, along with fines and the repayment of ill-gotten gains. Civil penalties can also include fines up to double the amount of money that was expected to be received as a result of the bribery.

If a company is found to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company may be required to accept the oversight of an independent third party in order to ensure that the organization remains in compliance with the Act in the future.

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Getting Help from a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being accused of a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act could damage your professional reputation as an individual and could damage your company’s reputation. Being found guilty could mean going to jail, facing huge financial loss, having your company subject to outside oversight, and other serious consequences for the future.

You need to develop a strategic response to serious charges associated with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act so you can fight for your future and the future of your business. This means finding a federal criminal defense lawyer who understands how this complex federal statute applies to your particular situation.

Nick Wooldridge can help you to decide if you should fight charges by pleading not guilty or if you should negotiate a plea deal to try to reduce the consequences you face.

LV Criminal Defense can also work with you to respond to both civil and criminal charges with a comprehensive legal defense strategy. Give us a call today to learn more about the help that we can offer.

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