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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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RICO Charges: Why You Need a Top Organized Crime Defense Lawyer

By Spodek Law Group | October 20, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 21, 2023)

Last Updated on: 21st October 2023, 08:48 am


RICO Charges: Why You Need a Top Organized Crime Defense Lawyer

If you’ve been accused of racketeering or other organized crime offenses, you need an experienced defense attorney on your side. RICO charges carry serious penalties and require specialized legal knowledge to fight effectively. Here’s an overview of RICO laws and why hiring a top lawyer is critical.

What is RICO?

RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law passed in 1970 to combat organized crime. RICO laws provide prosecutors powerful tools to go after criminal enterprises like the mafia.

Under RICO, it’s a crime to engage in a “pattern of racketeering activity” connected to an enterprise. This includes many types of offenses like bribery, money laundering, murder, kidnapping, and fraud.

RICO also makes it illegal to “conspire” to violate the law, even if you don’t actually commit a crime yourself. So you can face charges just for planning or agreeing to participate in criminal activity with others.

Why are RICO Charges Serious?

RICO charges carry much stiffer punishments than normal. If convicted, you could face:

  • Up to 20 years in prison per racketeering count
  • Fines up to $25,000 per count
  • Forfeiture of assets connected to the criminal activity

Prosecutors can stack multiple RICO counts too, so you could easily be facing decades behind bars. RICO also contains provisions for the death penalty in certain murder cases.

In addition to jail time, the government can seize property like homes, businesses, vehicles, and bank accounts linked to your alleged crimes. You don’t even have to be convicted for the forfeiture to go through in some cases.

Why RICO Cases Require an Experienced Attorney

Given the severe consequences, mounting a strong RICO defense is critical. Here’s why you need an experienced organized crime lawyer on your side:

Proving a “Pattern” of Activity

One major challenge is that prosecutors don’t need to prove you committed crime after crime. They only have to show two predicate acts within 10 years that demonstrate a “pattern” of illegal activity. Your lawyer needs to carefully scrutinize the alleged acts to see if there’s really a pattern or just isolated incidents.

Prosecutors often rely on informants or co-conspirators looking to save themselves by testifying against you. An adept lawyer can undermine their credibility by exposing inconsistencies or motives to lie.

Using RICO’s Complexity

RICO laws are complex with many nuances. An experienced attorney can leverage RICO’s intricacies to get charges dismissed on procedural or jurisdictional grounds before trial.

Fighting Forfeiture

Your lawyer may be able to prevent the government from seizing assets not directly linked to criminal acts. And even if assets are forfeited, skilled negotiation may secure your future interest in them.

Sentencing Mitigation

If convicted, an attorney experienced in RICO sentencings can advocate for less jail time and fines. This includes presenting evidence about your minimal role in the enterprise or otherwise showing you’re not a danger to society.

Key RICO Defense Strategies

Here are some key strategies an experienced RICO defense lawyer may use:

No “Enterprise”

Your lawyer can argue the alleged criminal acts were isolated events, not part of an ongoing organized enterprise. Without an enterprise, there is no RICO charge.

You Weren’t Involved

If others committed crimes without your knowledge or participation, you may be able to show you weren’t really part of the conspiracy.

Illegal Government Conduct

If the investigation involved illegal wiretaps, improper surveillance, or other government misconduct, the case could get tossed out.

Statute of Limitations

Federal RICO charges must be brought within 5 years of the alleged criminal activity. If prosecution missed the deadline, the charges can be dismissed.

Why the Lawyer’s Experience Matters

Given RICO’s broad scope, prosecutors have incentive to apply it creatively to all kinds of criminal activity. You need an attorney well-versed in RICO’s intricacies to combat those efforts effectively.

More importantly, you need a lawyer experienced specifically in organized crime cases. RICO matters involve special strategies and defense knowledge you won’t find in other practice areas.

Look for an attorney who has successfully defended major RICO indictments before. Their proven track record can give you confidence they have the skills to protect your rights and freedom.

Our Skilled RICO Defense Attorneys Can Help

The stakes are high when facing RICO charges, but our attorneys have the experience to build an aggressive defense on your behalf. If you or a loved one have been indicted, contact us for a free case review. We’re here 24/7 to take your call and discuss your best legal options.

Criminal Resource Manual 109 – RICO Charges

18 U.S. Code § 1963 – Criminal penalties

Criminal Resource Manual 106 – RICO Forfeitures

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

Racketeering / RICO

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