There are few privileges greater than being elected or appointed to public office. But an allegation of public corruption does not mean that you are corrupt. Even the best public servants can make mistakes or get caught up in something they had no control over. Unfortunately, the mere suggestion of public corruption, no matter the truth, can destroy a public servant’s political career and erase a lifetime of hard, honest work for those they serve.
It’s not just the law that can be particularly unforgiving in public corruption cases. The legal harshness is often compounded by the aggressiveness of the media, police, prosecutors, and courts that come with a public corruption case.
Public corruption consequences are more than just conviction for a crime. Convictions can lead to prison sentences, sizable restitution payments or fines, removal from office or position, bars to future office-holding or employment, and loss of pensions.
If you have been charged with public corruption, you have no time to waste. Public corruption cases are typically complex, and prosecutors are trained to exploit every nuance in the law. This is no time to go it alone.
The public corruption legal team at Stracci Law Group has a long history of defending high-profile public corruption cases and can both defend your case and navigate the intricate maze of prosecutors, investigators, and reporters that will inevitably surround you.
We Can Help with Different Types of Public Corruption Cases
Both state and federal prosecutors pursue public corruption at all levels of federal, state, and local government. Stracci Law Group defends all types of state and federal public corruption crimes. While most Northwest Indiana criminal defense attorneys are solo practitioners, we are unique. We are a team of seven attorneys, with both prosecution and defense backgrounds, and over 80 years of combined experience.
With nearly eight decades of combined experience on both sides of the aisle, Stracci Law Group is well-acquainted with the nuances of state and federal law and all of the ins and outs of Northwest Indiana public corruption prosecutions.
For most people, the word "bribery" brings to mind shady meetings where envelopes of cash are surreptitiously slid across tables in dimly lit rooms. But bribery is essentially any quid pro quo for an official act.
Giving money to a public official in exchange for their vote on an issue important to your business like a hiring contract or work order is bribery
Offering a police officer a restaurant gift card for stopping someone with a suspended license is also considered bribery, even though the police officer had the power and obligation to do it anyway.
It's the nature of human beings generally — and politicians particularly — to help each other out. Demonstrating the difference between good intentions and those envelopes of cash in shady low-lit rooms requires tactful yet aggressive legal representation.
Embezzlement is misappropriating or outright stealing money or property entrusted to you by another, typically by your employer, business partner, or company. In the context of public corruption or fraud, embezzlement occurs when federal funding is fraudulently diverted from its intended use or skimmed to line pockets, especially those of public officials.
Campaign Law Violations
To ensure election integrity, state, and federal political campaigns are heavily regulated. Hiding the identity of donors or masking the source of campaign contributions is a violation of the law.
Money laundering is concealing the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by depositing it in offshore banking services or disguising it as the profits of legitimate financial activity. For example, a drug dealer might use a cash-heavy business, like a restaurant, to conceal their source of illegally obtained income. In the pubic corruption context, this may occur when campaigns funnel money through companies to conceal the identity of the true payee, or when political parties illegally steer money to campaigns without disclosing the true source of the funds
Bid-rigging is a form of fraud in which state officials, public officials, or their employees collude with contractors to fix the results of a bidding process that's publicly presented as competitive or required by law to be competitive.
Graft is a type of political corruption that occurs when a politician or employee of a state or federal agency misdirects or uses funds meant for public projects to other, unauthorized interests.
Honest Services Fraud
Honest services fraud, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, is a type of white collar crime that typically involves a company or person offering something of value to a politician in exchange for special treatment. It involves the deprivation of honest public services through the use of bribes or kickbacks.
Like bribery, ghost employment evokes a certain image: the employee who never comes to work but still receives a paycheck. But ghost employment can be much more difficult to pin down.
What if you take more paid time off than allotted due to a long-term family emergency? What if one of the employees in your office volunteers to pick up your dry cleaning while they're out running their own errands? What if you invite your employees to attend a speaking engagement that doubles as a campaign event?
These little kindnesses can be prosecuted as ghost employment. Protecting you from politically motivated prosecution takes a team of experienced defense attorneys.
Conflict of Interest/Profiteering
Conflict of interest and profiteering laws make it illegal to have a financial interest in government dealings during and after a term of public service. But, it can cover more than simply paying yourself with government funds. What if you hire your kid’s summer painting company to touch up the office? What if you start a records preservation company right after leaving office to address the need for that office to modernize? In these situations, whether a crime was committed depends heavily on the details.
If you're accused of conflict of interest or profiteering, you need a criminal defense team that's well-versed in the particulars of government finance and criminal law.
Official misconduct charges can cast a wide net in that nearly any offense committed by a public servant in the performance of their duties can be labeled official misconduct.
Interfering with or failing to provide a report to the state examiner can be charged as official misconduct. So can making a purchase or lease on behalf of your office without competitive bidding, or submitting a claim for money spent without proper appropriation.
The better part of criminal defense is convincing the prosecutor, the court, or the jury to exercise sound discretion and put away the hammer when a fly swatter will do. Nowhere is that ability more important than when a client is facing charges of official misconduct.
Punishment and Penalties for Northwest Indiana Public Corruption Offenses
Public corruption is a serious offense in Northwest Indiana. Those who violate state or federal public corruption laws or regulations can be subject to stiff penalties.
The severity of the punishment may depend on the nature and severity of the offense, as well as the individual's criminal history. Some of the penalties for public corruption offenses in Northwest Indiana include:
- Fines: Individuals convicted of public corruption offenses may be required to pay significant fines, which can range from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Prison: Offenders can be sentenced to serve time in prison, ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the nature of the offense.
- Probation: A judge may also sentence an offender to a period of probation, during which they must report to a probation officer and comply with certain conditions like payment of restitution or community service.
- Restitution: In some cases, offenders may be required to pay restitution for any damages or losses incurred as a result of their actions.
- Disqualification from Public Office: Those convicted of public corruption offenses may also be barred from holding public office or participating in government activities.
How We Defend Against Public Corruption Charges in Northwest Indiana
Creating an effective defense against public corruption allegations requires you to get started early, investigate thoroughly, and gather the right evidence. We can help you with the following critical activities:
- Pleading Requirements: In a public corruption case, the prosecutor must plead and prove each element of your charged offenses. If there's any weakness in the prosecutor’s pleadings, we'll seize upon it and file a motion to dismiss your case.
- The Discovery Process: During the discovery phase, each side demands evidence that's in the possession of the opposing legal team. The discovery process is complex and difficult, but it must be carried out strategically and with precision.
- Witnesses: Accountants and other experts often serve as key witnesses in public corruption cases. It's vital to locate these witnesses, find out what they know, how they might be able to help, and prepare them appropriately.
Why Choose Crown Point Public Corruption Attorneys from Stracci Law Group?
The public corruption attorneys from Stracci Law Group offer personalized attention to each client, work tirelessly to build a strong defense, and strive to achieve the best possible outcome for their case.
Some of the reasons clients should choose Stracci Law Group for their public corruption case include:
- Record of success defending clients against public corruption charges
- Experience in both state and federal court systems
- Individual attention and dedicated legal representation
- Aggressive defense strategies designed to protect clients' rights and interests
- Knowledge of public corruption laws and regulations in Northwest Indiana
Schedule a Consultation with a Crown Point Public Corruption Attorney
Don't let political hair-splitting make you a criminal. Contact Stracci Law Group today at 219-351-7580 to discuss your case with a skilled defense attorney.
Schedule a Consultation for Your Northwest Indiana Public Corruption Case
Stracci Law Group has the knowledge and experience to help you if you've been charged with a public corruption crime. We offer free, comprehensive, and confidential consultations, and want you to feel confident that we're the best choice to defend your legal rights against criminal prosecution. Contact us today at 219-351-7580 to speak with one of our veteran defense attorneys.