Honest Services Fraud

Boston's Go-To Criminal Defense Law Firm

Boston Honest Services Fraud Attorney

What is Honest Services Fraud?

US Congress defines honest services fraud as any act meant “to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.” This type of crime is often connected to the public sector. For example, common types of this fraud are bribery and failure to disclose a conflict of interest. In the private sector, it is more difficult to incriminate a person, since it is usually based on unethical conduct. Therefore, the term is most often seen with crimes of public officials. However, there is fiduciary honest services fraud and that is usually where a person’s actions cause harm to his or her victims or influences the victim to change his or her behavior.

Honest Services Fraud is a complex crime, and if you are facing this charge, you must find an honest services fraud lawyer who knows how to address charges of this nature. Brad Bailey, a respected white collar crime lawyer, is experienced in all realms of criminal law, including the public sector and fiduciary crimes. He utilizes out-of-the-box thinking to find the best defense strategy possible.

To schedule a confidential consultation with Mr. Bailey, please contact our office today at (617) 500-0252 or via our online message form.

What is Considered Honest Services Fraud?

18 U.S.C. § 1346 makes it a crime for an employee of a corporation or elected official to fraudulently deprive the corporation or the public of that employee’s “intangible honest services.” The concept of honest services fraud developed in the common law refers to the idea that a corporate officer or elected official owes a duty to the public to perform his or her job honestly. Failure to do so defrauds the public of the “intangible” value of those services.

Honest Services Fraud Examples

Typical cases of honest services fraud involve crimes that include but are not limited to:

  • Bribery
  • Failure to disclose a conflict of interest that amounts to personal gain
  • Kickbacks
  • Self-Dealing

Updates to Section 1346

In the early definitions of the offense, most honest services fraud cases involved public officials who “made governmental decisions with the objective of benefitting themselves or promoting their own interests, instead of fulfilling their legal commitment to provide citizens of the State or local government with their loyal service and honest government.” By this definition, no party or citizen must have been actually financially harmed; they must only have been betrayed in such a way that could have resulted in harm. As you can imagine, this created a lot of concern among the accused, as the criteria for making a charge and conviction were founded on less than firm ground. The expansive language enacted with 18 U.S.C. § 1346 changed that.

However, now, the problem many courts are dealing with is that Section 1346 is too expansive. As a reaction, many federal courts have tried to define a limiting principle for cases involving accusations of honest services fraud. Recognizing that honest services fraud charges must encompass a breach of fiduciary duty, it begs the questions, “Which relationships warrant a requisite fiduciary duty?” and “What is the full nature and scope of the fiduciary duty?” Questions like these make charges of honest services fraud all the more complicated.

If you’ve been accused of honest services fraud and you’re up against a legal system that itself is still trying to figure out how to best prosecute these types of cases, you can’t afford to hire anyone but the best for your legal defense.

Call Brad Bailey Law at (617) 500-0252 to learn about your options at this time.

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