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Criminal Bribery of a Public Official

Recently in South Florida, a Boca Raton U.S. Postal Service worker was charged with accepting a bribe in order to deliver boxes of drugs on her route. Postal worker, Evelyn Price, admitted to receiving around $500 from a man she only knew as "Steve" in order to deliver boxes to him in parking lots instead of to the addresses listed on the packages.

According to Price, who confessed immediately to her crime after it was discovered that the boxes she had been delivering contained Marijuana, the man approached her and asked her if she would provide him with addresses of locations on her route where she could easily intercept the box deliveries. He would pay her $50 a box to bring them to him instead of the address listed on the label. Although at the time, she did not know what was in the boxes, but suspected they may be drugs.

When it was discovered by investigators that the boxes contained illegal drugs, and Price was to blame for facilitating the delivery of the drugs, she was immediately fired from her position. A year later, she was charged and sentenced to one year of house arrest, five years of probation, and 500 hours of community service. She avoided the potential 12-18 months in federal prison that she could have received as punishment for her crime. "Steve" was never arrested for his part in the crime.

Judge Provides Leniency

The judge in this case provided leniency in sentencing Price due to the fact that she did not have any prior arrests, and she had proven to be an upstanding citizen throughout her career and life. Character witnesses provided accounts of her assisting low-income families and giving back to her community through various causes. The judge acknowledged that Price had betrayed public trust by accepting the bribes for extra cash, but that this crime was an aberration in her life, and therefore spared her time in federal prison.

What is bribery?

Bribery occurs when there is an intention on the part of someone to influence someone else, usually a public official, in a quid-pro-quo style arrangement. Many times it is money that is offered in exchange for influence, such as in this case where money was offered for the delivery of illegal substances. A bribe conviction can be punishable by up to 15 years in a federal prison.

A Bribery Defense

In order to prove that bribery occurred, the "qui-pro-quo" should be specific. If it cannot be proven that a public official specifically received a benefit to act on or forgo to act on something, then it might be harder to prove that a crime of bribery happened.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime such as bribery, it's important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the charges against you and protect your rights.

References:

McMahon, P. (2017, October 11). Fired postal worker gets house arrest for taking bribes to deliver marijuana packages. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/crime/fl-reg-postal-worker-drugs-sentenced-20171010-story.html

2041. Bribery Of Public Officials. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2017, from https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-2041-bribery-public-officials

Legal, I. U. (n.d.). USLegal. Retrieved October 17, 2017, from https://bribery.uslegal.com/federal-laws-on-bribery/

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