Illegal Business Procedures, Part II Watch out! More and more business decisions can land you behind bars. Here are a few more to avoid.

Here are three more scenarios that could be prosecuted ascrimes:

Bribery. An influential state legislator offers tointroduce legislation that would remove certain businessbarriers-provided that you and your trade group help him retire hiscampaign debt. This transaction would count as extortion, illegalunder the Hobbs Act, and your contribution would be considered anoutright bribe.

Election-law violations. Business owners are allowed tocontribute $1,000 per candidate per election, the same as anyindividual. Corporations may make no contributions at all. If youtry to get around that rule by handing your employees $1,000"bonuses" to contribute to a candidate in their ownnames, you're guilty of violating federal election laws.

Environmental crimes. Thinking of cutting expenses atyour manufacturing plant by abandoning drums of toxic waste in aravine at night? Under the Clean Water Act and other laws, it'sillegal to release certain toxins into surface or ground water.Many environmental protection laws use a standard of "strictliability," where you can be convicted of a crime even if youdidn't intend to break the law.

If you think you may be in trouble, call a lawyer who can offeradvice and refer you to a criminal defense lawyer if necessary.Don't just ignore the problem-a criminal investigation can takeon a life of its own.

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