Public Corruption and Bribery

Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 666 to protect the integrity of the vast sums of money distributed through Federal programs. Section 666 permits the prosecution of persons who are alleged to have stolen money or otherwise diverted property or services from state and local governments or private organizations that receive large amounts of Federal funds.   In all prosecutions under 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(A) the United States must prove the following general elements:

  • that the defendant is an agent of an organization or of a state, local or Indian Tribal government;
  • that the organization, government or agency receives benefits in excess of $10,000 in a one-year period pursuant to a Federal program involving a grant, a contract, a subsidy, a loan, a guarantee, insurance, or another form of Federal assistance;
  • that the defendant embezzled, stole, obtained by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly converted to the use of any person other than the rightful owner, or intentionally misapplied, property;
  • which had a value of $5,000 or more; and
  • was owned by or under the care, custody, or control of such organization, government, or agency.

In addition to these general elements the United States must also prove the elements of the specific prohibited act charged, i.e., embezzlement, larceny or criminal conversion.

Representative Case

United States of America v. Contractor – United States District Court, Middle District of Florida – Trombley & Hanes, P.A. represented a contractor accused of bribing a public official for the purpose of securing contracting work.  Trombley & Hanes, P.A. negotiated a resolution with the Government, and, although the Defendant faced a prison sentence, was ultimately sentenced to probation following a sentencing hearing.

United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida – Trombley & Hanes, P.A. represented a County Commissioner alleged to have been involved in a bribery scheme involving a businessman seeking contracts with a local hospital.  After a very public and protracted investigation, the investigation was closed with no charges of any kind.