The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a complex legal statute that is traditionally associated with organized crime. Typically, there is some type of bribery, extortion, fraud or violence associated with criminal organizations. Prosecutors will have to prove a pattern of illegal activity and show that the criminal acts were carried out as part of an enterprise owned or controlled by those who engaged and benefited by the crimes. RICO is a serious federal crime that has severe penalties associated with it. Although RICO typically has some type of violent crime or threat of violence involved, it’s usually associated with and classified as a white collar crime.The RICO Act
The RICO act is designed to investigate and prosecute The RICO act also includes crimes such as mail fraud, securities fraud, collection of illegal gambling debts and other fraudulent and white-collar type enterprising crimes. Since it’s a federal act, it also applies to criminal interstate or foreign crimes.What is Racketeering?
Simply put, racketeering is the act of operating or running an illegal business for profit or somehow engaging in a fraudulent enterprise. A variety of different criminal business practices like racketeering can fall under the RICO act, so no two cases are the same. If you’re facing racketeering or any charges under the RICO Act, you need to get in touch with a skilled criminal defense attorney who has white collar crime case experience immediately.RICO and White Collar CrimeEnterprise
To fall under the umbrella of RICO, there has to be an enterprise involved. An enterprise can be just about any partnership, individual, corporation or association that are connected with the criminal and profit activity. These organizations can be legal entities, unions, clubs or just associated groups of individuals. In order to be convicted of any type of RICO charges, there has to be some type of enterprise involved.Pattern of Racketeering
The prosecution will also have to successfully argue that there was a pattern of racketeering activity in order for charges to stick. This means they will have to prove or show that at least more than two criminal acts occurred in association with the enterprise and profit scheme. The prosecution has to show there was a pattern of this criminal racketeering activity. If you’re facing any type of RICO or racketeering charges, you need to get in touch with a skilled criminal defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. It’s essential to have a lawyer who has white collar criminal defense experience, because these cases are extremely complicated and complex.Penalties of a RICO Conviction
Some possible penalties associated with a RICO conviction can include long-term prison sentences, probation, parole, payment of restitution to the victims, significant fines, loss of the right to be bonded, forfeiture of assets, among other negative outcomes. Even if there wasn’t technically any violence or violent crimes associated with your RICO charge, you could still be facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. White collar crimes like RICO are taken very seriously by the federal government, and you could very likely end up in a federal prison facility, if convicted. If you’re facing RICO charges, the sooner you talk to a skilled criminal defense lawyer, the better.RICO Defenses
Each case is different, and the individual circumstances of your particular situation will dictate the type of defense you and your attorney work on, but there are several commonly used defenses to RICO. A lack of evidence will obviously be a good defense. Your attorney will show that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to convict you. Also, it’s possible to prove factual innocence in some cases. Also, police procedures should be examined to determine whether or not there was any type of miscarriage of procedure. Finally, showing a lack of knowledge of the illegal activity in question is also a possible defense to RICO charges.When to Call a Criminal Defense Attorney in Jackson
If you or somebody you love is facing any kind of racketeering or RICO charges, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who has proven white collar crime defense experience as soon as possible. With hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences possible, it’s essential to get started on your defense immediately. These cases are high-stakes, and you need somebody with experience and knowledge in your corner. After a RICO or racketeering charge in the Jackson Metro Area or any of the surrounding communities, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 948-1600 for an immediate case consultation today.