Estimation of loss in DC federal bribery cases plays an important role in sentencing. The estimate can be calculated in different ways, and this can have vastly different effects on the potential sentencing guidelines.
If you are facing federal bribery charges, you should contact an experienced defense lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled attorney could calculate the loss in a favorable way and fight for a positive outcome in sentencing. Get in touch with an attorney today to schedule a consultation.
One way to identify loss is to calculate it by the amount of the bribe or the inducement that was paid. For example, consider a public official or someone working at a government agency who received a stream of benefits including money, vacations, gifts, and other things of value for a period of years. In this case, the loss could be the value of the stream of benefits.
Another way to calculate the loss is to determine the value of the contract that was awarded as a result of the stream of benefits being paid. Usually, the contract being awarded has a far greater value than the stream of benefits.
Depending on how the loss is calculated, whether one uses the value of the contract or the value of the of the stream of benefits, the final loss amounts are greatly different and drive much different sentencing guidelines. As an example, the stream of benefits paid to a public official could be worth $20,000, while the contract awarded as a result of the payment of the stream of benefits could be worth $3,500,000. The difference between those two loss calculations is huge, so there is room for a skilled attorney to advocate for a particular calculation of loss amount.
The court determines the loss amount under the guidelines in different ways. A federal judge evaluates different information to determine the loss amount. When there is a plea agreement, the court reviews the substance of the parties’ agreement. The court will also consider the pre-sentence report produced by the probation officer, which might agree or differ with the parties’ calculation of loss. If it differs, there could be an argument in an evidentiary hearing before the judge who makes a decision about the appropriate calculation of loss.
In a bribery case, the lawyer has a responsibility to advocate for a particular calculation of a loss amount related to the specific facts of the case and the negotiations with the government. Sometimes, before sentencing when the parties are negotiating over a guilty plea, extensive conversations take place regarding how the loss is calculated. Often, the parties stipulate how the loss is to be calculated and the actual amount of the loss. This is a key aspect of plea negotiations regarding sentencing when the defense has an agreement that benefits them. It is of critical importance to establish a favorable value for the stream of benefits and the amount of the loss, not the value of the contract that was actually awarded as a result of the stream of benefits.
Because estimation of loss in DC federal bribery cases can be calculated in different ways, the potential consequences for a conviction can vary greatly. The prosecution will often fight for severe penalties, so anyone facing bribery charges could benefit from retaining an experienced defense attorney. They could serve as your advocate throughout the process, from plea negotiations to loss calculations during sentencing. Call today to get started.
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