When do gifts count as illegal bribes?

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2021 | Bribery

Whether a gift counts as bribery in California depends on the circumstances of the offering. A gift that is given as a reward for an act of wrongdoing is a bribe. A gift that is given as a reward for a project that is completed successfully is not bribery. If a professional commits bribery, the result can be a corruption charge made against him, her, or the company.

The meaning of bribery

Bribery is the offering or receipt of a valuable item in exchange for an immoral or illegal service. Proving bribery can be fairly easy because it only involves showing an intent to influence the actions of another person. Bribery is a felony under California law that carries fines, imprisonment, or both.

Every company needs a policy

Every company or organization needs an ethics policy that defines what bribery is, the laws regarding bribery, and how it is handled by the fraud department. The policy must apply to actions committed by any professional within the company from the CEO or president to the lower-level staff members, according to the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

An employee accused of bribery can be immediately terminated or given a verbal or written warning. Either way, an investigation is needed beforehand. If fraud has been committed, the company needs to reevaluate its methods of business and ensure that the same act is not committed again.

Preventing bribery

Every government has a law to prosecute bribery. Likewise, your company or organization should have a policy that is devoted to the most common white-collar crimes, including bribery. The staff should understand when it becomes illegal to give and receive gifts for business reasons and the penalties for doing so.