PUBLIC CORRUPTION

 When defending a public figure, often a politician or community leader, in defense of public corruption charges, Ms. Azari not only provides the most skilled and comprehensive defense to her client, but she does so while managing the non-legal attacks on her client and his/her reputation by the media in the court of public opinion.  

Given the tremendous impact public corruption has on democracy and national security, the government treats and prosecutes this type of offense very seriously. Public corruption is one of the most heavily investigated federal offenses and those suspected of this crime may be monitored and investigated for a long span of time before an indictment is filed. If you have any reason to believe that you are being investigated for public corruption or may be exposed as a result of another investigation you may be aware of, contact the Law Office of Sara Azari for a consultation.

 

Public corruption involves a breach of public trust and/or abuse of position by federal, state, or local officials and their private sector accomplices. By broad definition, a government official, whether elected, appointed or hired, may violate federal law when he/she asks, demands, solicits, accepts, or agrees to receive anything of value in return for being influenced in the performance of their official duties.

 

Public Corruption offenses commonly include:

Bribery

Bribery is the giving, offering, receiving, or asking for anything of value in exchange for money or a favor from someone who in a position or power. Unlike the crime of extortion, bribery requires a participant who works in government, politics, public services, business or sports.  It also does not require a clear threat or leverage that induces the victim to agree. 

Examples of bribery include:

  • A lobbyist offering to pay money to a senator in exchange for a certain vote

  • An government employee soliciting and accepting money from a company to ensure the company receives a desired license 

  • A city employee offering to cancel a debt in exchange for cash payment

 

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is the unauthorized use of money or property legally entrusted to the accused.

 

A typical embezzlement case involves a banker or accountant taking money from a client's account and using it for his or herself. Another example involves the employee-employer relationship in which the employee misappropriates money from his/her employer.

 

The key difference between embezzlement and other theft crimes is that the embezzler has legal possession of the property. It is the misuse or misappropriation of the property that is a crime. 

Embezzled gains may range in value from a few dollars to millions, and charges may carry severe penalties depending on the circumstances.  In embezzlement cases, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:

 

  • Had lawful possession or access to the money or property misappropriated

  • Acted with intent

  • Deprived the lawful owner of the money or property by it's misuse or misappropriation

 

Extortion

Extortion is a criminal offense in which an individual uses threats, coercion, or intimidation to obtain money, goods, or services. Immediate harm to the victim is not required.  Rather, the victim is willing to provide the money, goods, or services based on the fear of future harm. An extortionist threat may also be about exposing a person to the media or subjecting them to an internal investigation or criminal investigation in regard to some other matter. Extortion can be performed by or inflicted upon a politician or employee of the federal government. The various types of extortion include blackmail, ransom, and bribery.

Examples of extortion include:

  • Members of a mob threatening violence to induce a stockbroker to falsely alter the value of certain stock so as to benefit the mob

  • A private investigator seeking money from a private citizen for him to refrain from filing a criminal complaint against the individual

  • A photographer seeking millions of dollars from a celebrity so as not to release nude photographs to the media

 

Money Laundering

The federal crime of money laundering involves the process of making illegal or “dirty” money appear legal or “clean.”  The government prosecutes money laundering under a variety of laws including the Bank Secrecy Act, a variety of Money Laundering Control Acts, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, the Patriot Act, and recently the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.  

Often money laundering charges are related to narcotic activity, gambling, and tax evasion.  In additional to the penalties for the underlying conduct, a conviction for  money laundering can lead to the risk of lengthier prison sentences.  Investigations of federal money laundering crimes can also result in the seizure and potential forfeiture of cash, cars, and real estate.  

 

At the Law Office of Sara Azari in Los Angeles, you will find a criminal defense attorney who is committed to protecting the rights of and aggressively pursuing justice for her clients. Sara Azari has successfully represented clients in a range of criminal cases in both state and federal courts.

 

333 S. Hope Street, Suite 4000

Los Angeles, CA 90071

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