New York Penal Law § 496.05: Corrupting the Government in the First Degree

If you are a public official and you divert government funds to your personal use, you would have committed a crime called corrupting the government. There are 4 corrupting the government crimes in the New York criminal code. The specific charge that you will face depends on the amount of money that you received from the scheme. The most serious corrupting the government charge is corrupting the government in the first degree- a class B felony.

Under New York Penal Law § 496.05 you could be charged with corrupting the government in the first degree if you are a public servant, or of 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 obtain such property, actual services or other resources with a value of over $100,000.

Example

Rhonda was a city official. She created a bank account at First New York Big Bank and named it New York Development. Rhonda was the only signatory on the account and the only person who wrote checks on that account. Rhonda then requested that certain vendors make their checks payable to New York Development. In other cases she had money transferred from other New York government accounts to the New York Development account. Rhonda would then make withdrawals from the account for her own personal use. Rhonda continued this scheme for several years. The total amount that she transferred to herself was over $5 million. Rhonda could be prosecuted for corrupting the government in the first degree in violation of New York Penal Law § 496.05.

Related Offenses
  1. Corrupting the government in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 496.02
  2. Corrupting the government in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 496.03
  3. Corrupting the government in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 496.04
Defenses

You are not guilty of corrupting the government in the first degree if the value of the property you received from the government was $100,000 or less. If the prosecutor is unable to prove that you actually received property, services or resources in excess of $100,000, then you will not be convicted. However, you could still be charged with corrupting the government in the second, third or fourth degree.

Sentence

Corrupting the government in the first degree is a class B felony. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a prison term of up to 25 years, a probation term of 5 years, payment of restitution and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 496.05: Corrupting the Government in the First Degree

A person is guilty of corrupting the government in the first 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 with a value in excess of one hundred thousand dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Corrupting the government in the first degree is a serious crime. The penalty for committing this crime is that you could be sent to prison for up to 25 years. In addition, you will be ordered to pay restitution. 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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