Mississippi business owners and contractors have a lot to keep in mind in terms of staying compliant with the law. In some cases, an offer that comes with certain benefits may seem harmless, but in reality, it could put you in a situation where you could face criminal charges for accepting a kickback. Unfortunately, this ordeal could put you in the path of some severe consequences.
Accepting kickbacks is often considered an ethical and legal issue. Many people believe that a company has a duty to act in the best interests of its consumers and shareholders, and accepting kickbacks could result in choices made for personal benefit rather than the overall good of the company, consumers and, possibly, taxpayers.
Laws against kickbacks
When it comes to government contractors and subcontractors, the Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act of 1986 makes it illegal for individuals to perform any of the following actions:
- Asking for, taking or trying to take a kickback
- Offering, giving or attempting to give a kickback
- Adding a kickback to the contract price charged by a subcontractor to another contractor
This act also states that violations of could result in penalties such as fines and time in prison, with a maximum sentence of up to 10 years.
Accepting or offering kickbacks is considered unethical because it creates a bias. Rather than a business owner looking at potential offers strictly from a viewpoint of what would be good for the business, its shareholders and its clients, lucrative offers of cash, other compensation or more favorable treatment may sway the owner. Kickbacks could sometimes result in a business owner or contractor choosing to work with another company that is not the best suited for the circumstances but that will offer the most attractive compensation or special treatment.
Defending against allegations
Though it may not seem like a significant issue to accept a little something extra in exchange for working with a particular contractor, it is a slippery slope that could cause serious issues for companies and owners alike. In the event that you find yourself facing serious allegations of accepting kickbacks or participating in other activities that may constitute white collar crime, you may want to ensure that you fully understand your legal rights and options. Defending against such allegations may be complex but not impossible.