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California Commercial Bribery

California Commercial Bribery PC 641.3

According to California Penal Code Section 641.3 (a) an employee who solicits, accepts or agrees to accept money or anything of value from a person other than his employer, corruptly and without the knowledge or consent of the employer, in return for using his position for the benefit of that other person, is guilty of commercial bribery.

Prosecutor must establish the following elements to prove a charge of commercial bribery:

  • Defendant is an employee who with the intent to defraud or injure solicits, accepts or agrees to accept
  • Money or anything else greater than $250
  • From a person who is not an employer
  • Without the consent and knowledge of the employer
  • In return for using his position to convey a benefit for that person.

PC Section 641.3 applies similarly to employees receiving or soliciting bribes and to the person offering bribes. Commercial bribery statute is based on the concept of fiduciary duty between an employer and his employees. The purpose of PC Section 641.3 is to punish individuals who conduct actions to undermine the employer’s interests for receiving money or anything else of value that personally benefits them.

Related Offenses Include the Following PC Sections:

  • California PC Sections 67 and 68 Bribery of an Executive Officer/Public Employee
  • California PC Sections 85 and 86 Bribery of or by Legislators
  • California PC Sections 92 and 93 Bribery of Judges and Jurors
  • California PC Sections 138 and 139 Bribery of or by Witnesses

Legal Defenses to California PC Section 641.3 (A) Charges

No Evidence of Corrupt Intent

The main defense to commercial bribery charges is that there is no evidence that the employee or the person who pays the bribe had corrupt intent. There is no criminal act in case there is no conduct that can be interpreted as damaging the interests of the employer.

Penalties for Violating California Penal Code Section 641.3

Commercial bribery is an offense that can be punished as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the amount of the bribe.

Penalties for Misdemeanor Conviction of Commercial Bribery in California:

In case the value of the bribe is under $1000 the defendant will get a misdemeanor conviction and will be sentenced to the county jail for up to one year.

Penalties for Felony Conviction of Commercial Bribery in California:

In case the value of the bribe is $1,000 or more the defendant will get a felony conviction with the following penalties:

  • 16 months, two or three either in a county jail or California state prison

In case the victim suffered monetary losses a court can also order restitution pursuant to California PC Sections 1202.4(a) and (f). Civil damages can also be recovered under California Civil Code Section 3281 if the employer suffered a loss.

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