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The former chair of the Council of Economic Opportunities of Greater Cleveland has been charged with bribery in federal court after she allegedly accepted $24,000 in illegal goods and services. A Shaker Heights woman was the target of a state investigation, and soon resigned from her position on the council. She accepted work done to her home and several other items from contractors of the agency.
According to the information filed in Cleveland, the woman was charged with two counts of fraud, one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. She is expected to plead guilty to the crimes.
In its legal definition, bribery is the act of giving money or gifts that change the behavior of the recipient in any way. The gift is of a dishonest nature, intended to create a certain effect rather than being meant simply as a gift. In some situations, as in this particular case, people can be charged with bribery for accepting gifts of this nature and changing their behavior based on the receipt of those gifts.
There are many different levels of bribery. The punishments that a person receives when convicted of bribery depend on the level of the crime. For example, the bribery of a public official (a senator, judge or other government worker) is an extremely severe crime that could lead to a fine of three times the bribery amount and a prison term of up to 15 years. Those that accept bribes are often punished more severely than those that offer the bribes.
If you have been charged with bribery or any other white collar crime, consult a dedicated Cleveland criminal defense attorney.