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Last Updated on: 28th July 2023, 07:22 pm
Racketeering is a criminal enterprise that involves a series of unlawful acts performed with the purpose of obtaining money or property. Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) in 1970 to combat organized crime and fraudulent business dealings. Racketeering can include various crimes such as drug distribution, money laundering, and even murder.
If charged with racketeering at the state or federal level, you may face significant fines, a lengthy prison sentence, and other severe penalties. The three federal RICO-related offenses are leading or participating in a racketeering enterprise, gaining or maintaining an interest in an enterprise via racketeering, and investing proceeds obtained through racketeering.
In court, the prosecution must show the “elements of the crime” to prove your guilt. To be found guilty under RICO, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you were involved in a criminal enterprise, such as an organized crime group or mafia, and committed at least two racketeering crimes in the past ten years.
Racketeering can take many forms, but some of the most common include extortion, bribery, money laundering, gambling, and drug trafficking. For example, money laundering involves making “dirty” money obtained through illegal means look clean by going through a series of financial transactions, such as moving it through multiple bank accounts or investing it in legitimate businesses.
If you or someone you know has been charged with racketeering, only a skilled criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the complex legal system and develop a strong defense strategy. Contact a Los Angeles racketeering defense attorney today to learn more about your legal options and fight back against these serious charges.
If you or a loved one is facing charges for conspiracy or any RICO-related crime, you must take immediate action to hire a skilled federal criminal lawyer. Federal charges can dramatically impact your life, with potential consequences that include significant prison time, hefty fines, and more. Our law firm can provide you with a highly experienced and supportive attorney who will fight tirelessly for your rights every step of the way, from the initial stages of the investigation to the trial.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law that enables members of criminal enterprises to be charged with racketeering. If two or more members of a criminal enterprise commit any two of the 35 listed federal and state crimes within ten years, the RICO Act applies. Originally intended to eradicate the ill-effects of organized crime on the nation’s economy, RICO was primarily directed towards the Mafia and other similar criminal activities.
Nowadays, RICO is a powerful tool used to fight a wider range of criminal activity, including extortion and coercion. RICO covers a broad spectrum of racketeering activities, including fraudulent and extortionate practices by businesses. If you are facing allegations of racketeering, you need an experienced lawyer who is knowledgeable in RICO cases defense.
Before RICO was passed into law, people who ordered others to engage in criminal activity often avoided prosecution because they did not commit the crime themselves. RICO changed that. After its passage, criminal organization leaders can be charged for crimes they ordered others to commit, even when they did not personally commit the offense.
RICO can now be used to fight a vast range of white-collar crimes and political corruption. It allows federal prosecutors to combine all criminal activities of an organization into one legal action, resulting in more significant charges and more severe penalties.
RICO covers a wide range of criminal offenses related to an ongoing criminal enterprise. To pursue charges under RICO, there must be at least two crimes committed through the enterprise within ten years. Common examples of crimes covered under RICO include:
Attempt and Conspiracy
A conviction for racketeering under RICO carries severe penalties for acts that benefit a criminal organization. You could receive up to 20 years in a federal prison for each count of racketeering. If the charges include crimes such as murder, then you could receive a life sentence. The court can also order huge fines or twice the amount of the illegal profits earned from the racketeering offense.
Additionally, if convicted under RICO, you could face asset forfeiture, meaning the government could seize money or property connected to the racketeering activity. However, the prosecutor has to prove that you earned the money or property from the illegal activity, used it to commit the illegal activity, or even bought property with money gained from the illegal activity.
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