New York Penal Law § 496.02: Corrupting the Government in the Fourth Degree

Sadly, corruption by public officials is not uncommon. It takes many forms. One type of corruption involves a public official hatching a scheme to defraud the government of property or services. However, doing so is a crime called corrupting the government. There are 4 corrupting the government crimes in the New York criminal code: corrupting the government in the first, second, third and fourth degrees. Corrupting the government in the fourth degree is the least serious of these offenses. However, it is still a felony.

Under New York Penal Law § 496.02 you could be charged with corrupting the government in the fourth degree if you are a public servant, or if you act in concert with a public servant, and you engage in a scheme with the intent to defraud the state or one or more political subdivisions of the state to obtain property, actual services or other resources from the state, or any political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of the state by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, and thereby wrongfully obtains such property, actual services or other resources.

Example

In her role as a public official June operated the cash drawer in one of the clerk's offices. When she was low on cash June would occasionally take $20-$30 from the cash register to pay for groceries and pay for other essentials until payday. Sometimes she slipped the money back into the cash drawer, but sometimes she did not. June could be prosecuted for corrupting the government in the fourth degree in violation of New York Penal Law § 496.02.

Related Offenses
  1. Corrupting the government in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 496.03
  2. Corrupting the government in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 496.04
  3. Corrupting the government in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 496.05
Defenses

Even if you participated in a scheme with a goal toward obtaining property, services or resources from the government, you would not be guilty of corrupting the government in the fourth degree if you did not actually obtain such property, services or resources.

Sentence

Corrupting the government in the fourth degree is a class E felony. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a prison term of up to 4 years, a probation term of 5 years, payment of restitution and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 496.02: Corrupting the Government in the Fourth Degree

A person is guilty of corrupting the government in the fourth degree when, being a public servant, or acting in concert with a public servant, he or she engages in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud the state or one or more political subdivisions of the state or one or more governmental instrumentalities within the state to obtain property, actual services or other resources, or obtain property, actual services or other resources from the state, or any political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of the state by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations or promises, and thereby wrongfully obtains such property, actual services or other resources.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Corrupting the government in the fourth degree is a serious crime. The penalty for committing this crime is that you could be sent to prison for up to 4 years. If you are under investigation for committing this crime, it is important that you are represented by someone with experience to ensure that your rights are protected. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes related to corrupting the government as well as grand larceny, embezzlement, and other white collar crimes. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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