Perhaps you work as a real estate agent, and one of your oldest business contacts is a surveyor. They always give you an extra fifty bucks when you send the client their way. Maybe you work in the purchasing department of a company, and your contact at another business is willing to send you a check if you can convince your company to pay their slightly higher prices.
It may seem like a mutually beneficial arrangement at first, but these kinds of agreements might set you up for white collar criminal charges in some cases. You could find yourself accused of an illegal kickback scheme.
What is a kickback?
A kickback arrangement is a quid pro quo situation. Two or more people agree to do things for one another’s benefit. The issue is that their employer or their clients may not benefit, which makes it a kind of corruption.
Professionals might lapse in their obligations to those who hired them or those who pay their wages in their eagerness to connect with incentives or payments from another professional. Federal rules limit kickbacks in many industries. For example, it’s illegal for doctors to receive financial rewards or perks from drug companies for prescribing certain medications. In other industries, while there may not be industry-specific laws, more general rules may make these activities a violation of ethics and law.
You may not have intended to break the law
You might have thought what you were doing was just accepting or providing referrals to someone you know and like. You may not have had any intention of doing something that was damaging for clients or for your employer.
If you find yourself facing legal charges over an alleged kickback, it’s important to seek experienced legal guidance.