Criminal Law

Commercial Bribery and Kickbacks - Basic Economic Offenses

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§2B4.1GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005


Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 873, 875-877, 1951. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Note:

1. This section applies only to blackmail and similar forms of extortion where there clearly is no threat of violence to person or property. "Blackmail" (18 U.S.C. § 873) is defined as a threat to disclose a violation of United States law unless money or some other item of value is given.

Background: Under 18 U.S.C. § 873, the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for blackmail is one year. Extortionate threats to injure a reputation, or other threats that are less serious than those covered by §2B3.2, may also be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. §§ 875-877, which carry higher maximum sentences.

Historical Note:: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 114); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 479); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 617); November 1, 2005 (see Appendix C, amendment 679).

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§2B4.1. Bribery in Procurement of Bank Loan and Other Commercial Bribery

(a) Base Offense Level: 8

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the greater of the value of the bribe or the improper benefit to be conferred (A) exceeded $2,000 but did not exceed $5,000, increase by 1 level; or (B) exceeded $5,000, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to that amount.

(2) (Apply the greater) If—

(A) the defendant derived more than $1,000,000 in gross receipts from one or more financial institutions as a result of the offense, increase by 2 levels; or

(B) the offense substantially jeopardized the safety and soundness of a financial institution, increase by 4 levels.

If the resulting offense level determined under subdivision (A) or (B) is less than level 24, increase to level 24.

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