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New Column: Potential criminalization of traditional business relationships

Paul R. Enzinna, partner at Brown Rudnick, lends his extensive expertise in white collar criminal defense to discuss, in a new PoL column, the federal court's expansive interpretation of "honest services" fraud in the Kevin Ring trial and most importantly, the potential implications such expansive interpretation may have in relation to traditional American business relationships.

Mr. Enzinna writes:

Jim invites Pam, an employee of a potential customer, to lunch. Over the next several years, during which Jim and Pam enjoy dozens of lunches and dinners, and Jim treats Pam to many rounds of golf, Pam's company becomes one of Jim's biggest customers. None of this is extraordinary -- most, if not all, businesses, entertain customers in the hope of developing business. However, a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia threatens to criminalize this practice. In United States v. Ring, the court held that an individual who provides a "thing of value" to another, with the "corrupt intent to influence" her, may face up to 20 years in prison for violating the federal "honest services fraud" statute.
Mr. Enzinna anticipates regular contribution to PoL's commentary on the topic collectively dubbed "overcriminalization," so we can look forward to additional thought-provoking and important input in the near future.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.