The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, also known as RICO, is a federal law that was passed in 1970 in order to tackle the problem of organized crime. The act allows the court system to prosecute, as well as allow for civil penalties against, anyone involved in racketeering and conspiracy involving two or more people.
RICO violations can be added on to existing criminal charges, making for a much more complicated and complex case. A defendant facing RICO charges can be up against severe penalties if found guilty.
The Milwaukee criminal defense team at Hart Powell, S.C. has a thorough knowledge of federal law and the complex issues surrounding RICO charges. We pride ourselves on defending your rights and offering you strong legal counsel.
If you are facing RICO charges you need an experienced attorney on your team immediately. Call (414) 271-9595 in order to discuss the details surrounding your case and let us start protecting you.
What is RICO?
RICO is a sweeping act that is meant to prosecute those involved in organized crime. Before the passage of RICO, prosecutors who worked on mob-related cases could only try related crimes individually. This made it very difficult for the government to shut down an entire criminal organization since they could only go after the individual criminals. The passage of RICO made it possible to prosecute all the individuals involved in organized crime.
Today the law is rarely applied solely to the Mafia as it once was. It is a broad piece of legislation that is now used to go after a range of organized crimes from street gangs, drug cartels, and even politicians. The RICO law has been used to prosecute members of the Mafia, motorcycle gangs, and even an anti-abortion group.
In order to be convicted of a RICO violation, the government must prove that an enterprise exists, the enterprise impacts interstate commerce in some way, the defendant was associated with the enterprise, and that the defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering.
What Types of Crimes Can be Considered Under RICO?
Again, RICO is a broad law that has been designed to go after organized crime, therefore, a number of different activities can fall under the RICO umbrella when it comes to prosecution. The one overlying factor in RICO cases is that a person must be connected to an enterprise in the commission of an offense. That could be considered a crime family, street gang, or drug cartel.
However, RICO can also come into play if the crimes are committed for a corporation or even a political party. In order for a RICO charge to stick, the government must also prove that the defendant engaged in two or more instances of the racketeering activity on behalf of the enterprise. To violate the RICO law there must be a pattern of activity.
The law itself defines 35 offenses as RICO violations. Some of these include:
- Illegal gambling
- Bank and mail fraud
- Drug trafficking
- Money laundering
RICO violations may carry severe penalties, including up to 20 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. RICO charges that have been added on to other criminal charges may increase the consequences of a conviction significantly. To protect your rights against relentless federal prosecutors, contact the Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C.. Our years of experiencing handling RICO conspiracy cases will provide you with the aggressive, effective legal representation needed to oppose prosecutors who are determined to destroy your reputation. Contact the Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. to discuss the details of your case. Call (414) 271-9595.
Again, this is only a small list of offenses that can be considered under RICO. There are others that may come into play depending on the circumstances of your situation.
If you face any type of RICO charge you need to contact a knowledgeable attorney for help. RICO cases are complicated, and you need someone who understands the law and has handled these types of cases before. This is where experience counts.
What Are the Penalties for RICO Violations?
It is not uncommon for prosecutors to add on charges of RICO violations to other criminal charges in order to increase penalties. RICO charges can carry very extensive prison sentences depending on the nature of the crime itself. Each violation of RICO can result in prison terms of 20 years behind bars. More serious crimes could result in a life sentence.
RICO convictions don’t just include stiff prison sentences, they include financial penalties as well. Violations can be punished with a fine of up to twice the defendant’s illegal profits. It will also mean that you will be forced to forfeit any proceeds, property, or assets derived through racketeering. Land, cars, equipment, buildings can all become the property of the federal government.
In addition to criminal proceedings, you can also face civil lawsuits under RICO. If a plaintiff can prove you have committed a RICO violation and it resulted in an injury to themselves, a federal court could also force you to pay triple the damages to the victim, pay attorney’s fees, and stop you from engaging in certain future business activities.
The penalties for RICO violations are severe and are meant to deter criminal enterprises. If you don’t have an experienced legal team on your side, you face a tough battle with a lengthy prison sentence at the end of the road. Don’t wait to contact a lawyer who knows how to fight RICO charges. You need a solid defense strategy immediately.
How Can a Milwaukee RICO Conspiracy Lawyer Help Me?
Federal prosecutors are aggressive and relentless when it comes to pursuing RICO cases. They will stop at nothing. If you have been charged with a RICO offense, you need help now. At Hart Powell, S.C. we have years of experience handling RICO conspiracy cases and can provide you with tenacious representation. Prosecutors want to see you punished and your reputation destroyed. We want to provide you with determined and effective legal representation and protect your rights. We work hard to offer you a solid defense strategy and battle back against RICO charges.
If you or a loved one is facing RICO charges, contact the RICO conspiracy criminal defense team of Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595. We can discuss the details of your case and come up with a strategy for you. Don’t wait for prosecutors to build a case against you, call us today for the experienced legal help you deserve.