Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Florida White Collar Crime Attorneys

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, passed in 1977, is found in 15 U.S.C. section 78dd-1.  This federal law prevents bribery of foreign officials and applies to all U.S. persons and corporations as well as to some foreign issuers of securities. Furthermore, the law requires companies that list securities within the United States to comply with U.S. accounting provisions and requirements.

A violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act can result in stiff criminal penalties for businesses and individuals alike. Such cases are brought in federal courts and those found guilty of violating the law can serve time in federal prison.

The anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibit a range of behaviors related to transactions with foreign officials. The Act prohibits willfully using the mail or any means of interstate commerce to offer or transmit anything of value with knowledge that the money or items will be offered, given or promised to a foreign official in order to entice that official to:

  • Violate his lawful duties
  • Engage in acts or omissions designed to give improper advantage to a business
  • Provide improper advantages of any type
  • Assist in obtaining or retaining business
  • Direct business to any corporation or person

U.S. businesses and individuals are prohibited from performing any of the above acts or other acts that could constitute bribery. Further, U.S. citizens may not arrange or suggest bribes through agents or foreign subsidiaries.

Courts have applied the laws strictly and imposed large fines, suspension and/or debarment from federal procurement contracts as a result of violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Employees, corporate officers and individuals who made or facilitated bribes have been fined and served time in prison for FCPA violations.

Federal criminal actions based on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act are serious cases best handled by experienced white collar criminal defense lawyers.  The attorneys at Podhurst Orseck have over four decades of experience in criminal defense matters and represent employees, corporate officers and individuals charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Many of our attorneys are former federal prosecutors and white collar criminal defense lawyers who bring their unique legal perspective to every case.