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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an anti-corruption law aimed at American companies that operate in international markets. When it was passed in 1977, the FCPA was the first law to make both individuals and corporations civilly and criminally liable for corruption crimes committed outside of the country.

The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies and/or their representatives from bribing a foreign official, political party, or candidate for office in order to drum up business, secure an advantage, or strengthen a business relationship. The anti-bribery provisions apply to three categories of individual or entity:

  • Issuers, such as companies that are listed on American stock exchanges or required to file reports with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). These entities are required to maintain complete and accurate records and ensure that transactions are executed in accordance with the law.
  • Domestic concerns, meaning American companies, their representatives, and companies that are organized under U.S. laws and/or have their principal place of business in the U.S.
  • Those under “territorial jurisdiction,” which are typically foreign individuals and businesses operating in the U.S.

The one exception to the “no incentive” rule is facilitation payments, which are made to foreign officials to enable or expedite routine governmental action. If such payments are not properly recorded, however, it may violate the FCPA accounting provisions.

Penalties for violating the FCPA depend on whether the accused is a person or company, as well as which provision applies. The SEC may initiate a civil enforcement action against issuers and their representatives while the U.S. Department of Justice aggressively investigates and prosecutes criminal actions.

An individual found guilty under the Act’s anti-bribery provisions faces a civil fine of up to $10,000 and/or a criminal penalty of $250,000 and five years in prison. Accounting provision violations are even more severely punished, with civil fines of up to $100,000 and criminal penalties, including a $5 million fine and up to 20 years in prison.  Under the Alternative Fines Act, fines may be increased to twice the gross financial loss or gain resulting from the bribe. Companies found guilty of the same offense may pay a civil penalty of $500,000 and a criminal fine that could be as high as $25 million. They may also be subjected to oversight by an independent third party.

With the SEC and Department of Justice taking a heavy-handed approach to suspected violations, any person or company accused of bribing a foreign official for illegal gain should contact an experienced New York FCPA defense attorney immediately. They will have the experience and global reach to collect and analyze the facts in your case and conduct a multi-jurisdictional defense that gives you your best shot at an acquittal. Julie Rendelman is an experienced criminal defense attorney who represents clients in New York City who offers free consultations. If you are concerned that you may the subject of a criminal investigation related to violation of the FCPA, then contact Ms. Rendelman’s office at 212-951-1232 or visit www.RendelmanLaw.com to learn more.

Traffic crimes in New York City

Traffic crimes in New York City

An estimated 4,000 New Yorkers suffer serious injury in vehicle-related accidents every year, and over 250 people die as a result of these collisions. These statistics, along with the fact that being hit by a car is the leading cause of fatal injuries for children under 14, has driven the formation of the Vision Zero Action… Continue Reading

Why hire a criminal defense lawyer?

Why hire a criminal defense lawyer?

If you have been arrested or charged with committing a criminal offense, then you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately, many people in this situation hesitate at first for reasons like the following: They don’t think they can afford professional representation They think they can get the charges dropped by telling their… Continue Reading

Assault on a police officer in New York

Assault on a police officer in New York

Assaulting a police officer is one of the more serious assault charges under New York State law. This particular crime arouses both public anger and high volumes of press coverage because the police are sworn to protect New York’s citizenry and violence against them is seen as a threat to public safety. If you are… Continue Reading

Selecting the best criminal defense attorney for you

Selecting the best criminal defense attorney for you

If you are found guilty of a criminal offense, then the potential consequences can be severe. They include jail time, fines, possible forfeiture of property, and a criminal record that will cause problems for you long after authorities decide that your debt to society has been paid. With so much at stake, you need to… Continue Reading

What can we learn from California’s proposed ransomware law?

What can we learn from California’s proposed ransomware law?

In some instances, laws can be very specific, leaving a judge with little room for interpretation. In other instances, a law can be surprisingly vague. Sometimes, over time, and as societies and their technologies evolve, laws may end up being interpreted differently. This is often the case with the penal law. One notable area is… Continue Reading

­­­­Voter fraud in New York

­­­­Voter fraud in New York

Voter fraud is a form of illegal interference with the electoral process. It comes in a variety of forms, including: Impersonating a registered voter Intimidating someone into voting as directed Fraudulent voter registrations Bribing voters and election officials to produce the desired result Destroying ballots that have already been cast Equally varied are the New… Continue Reading

What to do if you are facing criminal scam charges

What to do if you are facing criminal scam charges

Scams are relatively common across the country these days, especially as the reliance on technology and the Internet has increased. In fact, the capture of personal data using electronic methods has impacted dozens of people over the course of the past year alone. Scams can range from minor to serious, with criminal charges a strong… Continue Reading

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship and receipt or viewing does not constitute such relationship.


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