Lawmakers signed the Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act into law in 1970, at the height of organized crime activities here in the United States. Federal prosecutors have gone on to prosecute many individuals for this crime since then.
The penalties that you’re likely facing if convicted for such an offense are stiff. You may find it helpful to learn which acts fall under the umbrella of this crime so that you can craft an adequate defense in your case.
What is a RICO offense?
Groups of individuals that come together to run an illegal business that aims to embezzle or extort funds from others may constitute a RICO violation. Gambling, drug trafficking, counterfeiting and prostitution rings may all fall under the umbrella of businesses that violate the RICO Act.
Prosecutors have also brought RICO charges against individuals who reportedly depleted labor union pension funds or company assets, pro-life protesters who blocked abortion clinic entryways and Catholic officials who turned a blind eye to the molestation of children.
Amendments to the law now allow prosecutors to levy RICO charges in a broad fashion, whether the accused allegedly target private or public institutions with their actions. Shifts in RICO laws over the years are reflective of defendants allegedly employing more sophisticated efforts to avoid detection.
What burdens do prosecutors have in RICO cases?
Prosecutors don’t have an obligation to prove that a person personally committed the alleged illegal offense to secure a conviction in a case. Prosecutors must only prove that a defendant either owned and managed the organization or regularly performed one or more illicit activities on its behalf to win their case.
You may be facing some serious prison time should a judge or jury convict you on RICO charges. You’ll need to craft a strong defense if you hope to preserve your freedom in your case. Speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is your wisest move.