The word "bribe" is often applied so broadly in everyday conversation in New York that you might reasonably forget that it actually refers to criminal activity. The line between being incentivized and actually being bribed is often so razor thin that many come to us here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP completely surprised to be facing bribery charges. Understanding exactly what constitutes a bribe can help you respond to being accused of such an offense.
Per New York Penal Law, the state actually recognizes several different forms of bribery. These include:
- Commercial bribing
- Bribery of a labor official
- Sports bribery
- Tampering with a sports contest
- Impairing the integrity of a pari-mutuel betting system
- Rent gouging
Commercial bribing is defined as benefits conferred on an employee, agent or fiduciary (without the consent of an employer or principal) in an attempt to influence their conduct related to commercial affairs. Offering up a benefit to influence the decisions or actions of a labor official qualifies as attempting to bride one in such an office. Sports bribery refers to benefits offered to sports participants or officials with the intent of influencing the outcome of a sporting event. This differs from tampering with a sports contest in that the latter refers to any actions taken on one's own regard to try to influence the outcome of a contest. Impairing the integrity of a pari-mutuel betting system includes any actions taken to try to influence the data or equipment used in connection with a betting system. Finally, rent gouging occurs when one accepts a benefit to influence the management of a rental contract.
The law clearly delineates the differences between attempting to bribe and receiving a bribe (both are still considered offenses). More information on answering accusations of bribery can be found here on our site.