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2420. Employee Benefit Plan Kickbacks -- 18 U.S.C. 1954

This chapter focuses on the investigation and prosecution of conduct prohibited by Title 18 U.S.C. § 1954. Section 1954 prohibits the giving or acceptance, respectively, of things of value paid by any person to four categories of recipients in relation to matters concerning an employee pension or welfare benefit plan subject to title I of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). See 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq. The categories of recipients include agents of the plan, an employer or agents of an employer whose employees are covered by the plan, agents of an employee organization (labor union) whose members are covered by the plan, and persons providing services to the plan. The statute punishes the payment and receipt of graft ("because of") or bribery ("with the intent to be influenced with respect to") the recipient's actions, decisions or duties in relation to a plan matter. The statute contains a defense for bona fide compensation for goods or facilities actually furnished or for services actually performed by the recipients in the regular course of their duties.

[cited in JM 9-134.010]

Updated January 17, 2020