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Distinguishing Corruption in Law and Practice: Empirically Separating Conviction Charges From Underlying Behaviors

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
This study examined the laws under which corruption cases are brought and trends over time, in order to assess how the underlying corruption behaviors can be grouped into types.
The study found that corruption was prosecuted under several types of misconduct under law. Federal defendants were most often charged with offenses labeled as bribery, fraudulent statements/entries, theft of public funds, conspiracy, and fraudulent claims (in that order). State defendants were more likely to be charged with the following types of offenses under the broader category of corruption: extortion, theft from government programs, mail fraud, and conspiracy for state defendants, and theft from government programs. Local defendants were more likely to be charged with extortion, mail fraud, and bribery. These differences in the corruption choices by public officials at different levels of government have rarely been considered. Preliminary explanations are offered for these differences, which provide insights into the way in which corruption occurs in different jurisdictions. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019