Unlawfully Procuring Bank Loans
Federal law prohibits receiving commissions or gifts in exchange for procuring a loan, so if you have been accused of being involved in this type of activity, you should strongly consider retaining a white collar crime lawyer who may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
As most people know, applying for and receiving a loan is not in itself unlawful. However, there are certain kinds of conduct that are not permitted when it comes to procuring a loan. For example, federal law strictly prohibits giving, offering, or promising anything of value to an officer, director, employee, agent or attorney of a bank or other financial institution in exchange for a loan. Similarly, officers, directors, employees, and agents who work for a bank are barred from soliciting or agreeing to accept bribes in connection with procuring a loan.
A bribe does not need to be in cash to qualify under the unlawful procurement law. Instead, anything of value that is given or received with the intent to corruptly influence the recipient counts as a bribe. This includes free travel, expensive entertainment, fees and commissions, and costly gifts.
Penalties for Conviction
Those who are convicted of this offense face steep fines of up to $1,000,000 or three times the value of the bribe, as well as imprisonment for up to 30 years. However, if the bribe was less than $1,000, a convicted defendant can only be imprisoned for a year. Further, the prohibition against offering or accepting a gift in exchange for procuring a loan does not apply to salaries, wages, fees, or expenses paid or reimbursed in the usual course of business. Other exceptions to the prohibition against accepting things of value in connection with a banking transaction include:
- Accepting gifts based on family relationships, such as those between the parents or spouse of a bank official, if there is evidence that the relationships rather than the bank’s business were the motivating factors;
- Accepting meals, entertainment, accommodations, and travel arrangements of a reasonable value in the course of holding a legitimate business discussion, as long as the bill is paid for by the bank as a business expense;
- Accepting loans from other banks on customary terms to finance the activities of a bank official, such as a mortgage loan;
- Accepting advertising material, such as note pads, pens, key chains, and calendars;
- Accepting discounts on merchandise or services that are also available to other customers;
- Accepting gifts for an event or occasion, such as a wedding, holiday, retirement, or promotion; or
- Accepting awards for recognition of service.
When determining a sentence, courts will also take into account not the only the amount of the bribe, but also the value of the action received in exchange. For example, if a bank officer agreed to accept a $25,000 bribe in exchange for approving a $250,000 loan under terms for which the applicant would not usually qualify, the defendant could expect to have the level of the offense increased, resulting in more severe penalties.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Dedicated White Collar Crime Attorney Today
If you are being investigated for bribery in connection with a banking transaction, please call 305-670-9919 to discuss your case with experienced white collar crime lawyer Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. Our Miami legal team is prepared to assist you today.