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855. Extortion and Bribery—18 U.S.C. § 152(6)

Subsection (6) of Section 152 is a very broad statute which covers all aspects of bribery and extortion in bankruptcy cases.

Subsection (6), provides:

A person who...knowingly and fraudulently gives, offers, receives, or attempts to obtain any money or property, remuneration, compensation, reward, advantage, or promise thereof for acting or forbearing to act in any case under title 11;...shall be fined...and imprisoned...or both.

    There is no requirement that the act or forbearance from acting be unlawful itself. Acting or not acting with the requisite criminal intent is sufficient. For example, a bidder agreeing to withdraw the bid in return for money is covered. United States v. Weiss, 168 F. Supp. 728 (W.D. Pa. 1958). CAVEAT: Full public disclosure of any offers to act or to not act -- e.g., compromising of claims, or plan negotiations in Chapter 11 cases--will typically negate any suggestion of criminal intent.

    [cited in JM 9-41.001]

    Updated January 21, 2020