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What you should know about racketeering

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Most people have heard the term RICO charges in organized crime cases. In fact, they have probably heard that if the police cannot find evidence of other charges, they will file racketeering charges.

Therefore, this is what the public should know about racketeering and RICO.

What is racketeering?

Racketeering is a federal white-collar crime that involves gaining profits from illegal or fraudulent activities. Many in the organized crime, money laundering and narcotics trafficking fields face these charges, but businesses can also find themselves in a Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case if they commit or attempt to commit an illegal act or use coercion on another person or entity.

What actions can result in racketeering charges?

Several actions can lead to racketeering charges, including fraud, bribery, money laundering, murder for hire, illegal gambling facilities, forcing others to pay for protection, fencing stolen goods, obstructing justice and other financial or economic crimes. This list now includes cyber extortion, such as malware infections by hackers. In addition, an individual or organization cannot coerce others to commit crimes, such as robbery, murder, kidnapping, forgery, prostitution, gambling, extortion, counterfeiting, arson, bribery and embezzlement. In addition, labor unions cannot extort money from their contractors or the companies they work for and banks cannot participate in predatory lending practices.

What penalties can someone face?

To bring a federal RICO case, the federal or state government needs to prove that an enterprise participates in interstate commerce and has involvement in at least two racketeering activities. State cases often involve acts in a single state. Defendants can face up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine plus restitution.

The RICO act is successful because it allows law enforcement to target an entire organization not just an individual.

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