Conducting business can require establishing good relationships with customers. But such relationships must have boundaries and should avoid crossing into areas that could be constituted as being unlawful. It could be easy for boundaries to become blurred if the parties involved are not careful. What might seem a like a good business arrangement could ultimately result in life-altering criminal charges.
Recently, in a U.S. District Court, a 52-year-old woman from Florida entered a guilty plea to charges of mail fraud. A news release issued by the U.S. Attorney?s office located in Shreveport stated that the mail fraud charge was connected to an alleged bribery scheme that was perpetrated by the woman and an ex-staff member at a Louisiana university.
Specifically, evidence was presented indicating that the woman had paid kickbacks to the ex-staff member. The payments were for the staff member, who was a laboratory assistant director, to purchase products from the woman?s company. Reportedly, after the woman?s company received payments from the university, she would then mail the kickbacks to the former staff member?s residence.
As a result of her plea, the woman is now looking at a possible prison term of 20 years, a supervised release of five years and a fine of $250,000 along with restitution. She is scheduled for sentencing in January. As for the former staff member, in 2012 he entered a guilty plea to a single count of mail fraud and is due for sentencing in November.
This story makes clear that what may seem like a mutually beneficial business arrangement could ultimately have severe legal repercussions. If you are ever charged with crimes relating to your work or business, you may want to consider the manner in which you are going to protect your interests and your reputation. A Louisiana attorney who handles white collar criminal cases may be able to help you do these things as you pursue your best possible outcome.
Source: The Shreveport Times," Woman admits to bribery scheme with hospital staffer," Oct. 7, 2014