24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Representing Clients in Racketeering and Organized Crime Cases

Here is a 4000 word article on representing clients in racketeering and organized crime cases, written from the perspective of a lawyer at Spodek Law Group:

Defending Against Racketeering and Organized Crime Charges

Racketeering and organized crime cases are among the most complex and high-stakes legal battles – they often involve extensive investigations, mountains of evidence, and severe penalties if convicted. At Spodek Law Group, our seasoned attorneys have decades of experience navigating these treacherous waters; we understand the nuances of RICO laws and know how to build a robust defense strategy.

What is RICO?

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act is a federal law that criminalizes racketeering activity within an ongoing criminal enterprise. It allows prosecutors to go after the leaders of a syndicate who ordered others to commit crimes — rather than just the low-level operatives. Racketeering activities can include money laundering, bribery, embezzlement, kidnapping, arson, and more.Convictions under RICO laws are severe; offenders face up to 20 years in prison per racketeering count, plus additional penalties for underlying crimes like extortion or murder. Prosecutors also can seek criminal forfeiture of ill-gotten gains.

Our Approach to Racketeering Defense

At Spodek Law Group, we take a multi-pronged approach when defending against RICO charges:

Challenging the Evidence

  • Suppressing illegally obtained evidence like wiretaps or surveillance footage
  • Discrediting cooperating witnesses who may have incentive to lie
  • Poking holes in the prosecution’s theory of a criminal “enterprise”

Undermining the Charges

  • Arguing the “pattern of racketeering” is too disconnected to qualify under RICO
  • Showing our client was an unwitting member who didn’t benefit from illicit profits
  • Separating our client from higher-level bosses who called the shots

Mitigating Consequences

  • Negotiating for reduced charges that avoid harsh RICO penalties
  • Seeking a favorable sentence by emphasizing mitigating factors
  • Preserving as many assets as possible from criminal forfeiture

Our federal criminal defense lawyers have relationships with prosecutors and insight into their strategies. We leverage this to negotiate from a position of strength.

Common Racketeering Defenses

Some of the most common defenses we employ in RICO cases include:

Lack of Criminal Intent

  • Showing our client had no knowledge of the broader criminal enterprise
  • Arguing their actions were for a legitimate business purpose, not racketeering

Statute of Limitations

  • Many underlying crimes have a 5-year statute of limitations
  • If the “pattern” is too stale, we can get some charges dismissed


  • Law enforcement improperly induced or entrapped our client
  • Their conduct amounted to outrageous government misconduct

Withdrawal from the Enterprise

  • Our client withdrew from the criminal enterprise before commission of later crimes
  • Therefore, they should not be liable under RICO for those acts

We explore every possible avenue for poking holes in the prosecution’s case. Our goal is to find the path of least resistance to secure the best possible outcome.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

What Qualifies as Racketeering?

To convict under RICO, prosecutors must prove:

  1. An enterprise existed
  2. The enterprise affected interstate commerce
  3. The defendant was employed by or associated with the enterprise
  4. The defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity
  5. The defendant conducted or participated in the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity

An “enterprise” can be a legal entity like a corporation, partnership, or union — or an informal association of individuals. The “pattern of racketeering” requires at least two related criminal acts within 10 years.Qualifying racketeering acts include bribery, extortion, money laundering, kidnapping, arson, drug trafficking, murder, gambling, and more. White collar crimes like mail/wire fraud, financial institution fraud, and securities fraud also count as predicate acts.

High-Profile RICO Cases

Some of the most famous RICO cases involved taking down major crime families:

  • The Gambino family – One of the largest and most powerful criminal organizations in the U.S., engaged in labor racketeering, extortion, murder for hire, and more.
  • The Lucchese family – Involved in labor racketeering, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, murder, and other crimes.
  • The Bonanno family – Engaged in illegal gambling, extortion, loansharking, narcotics distribution, murder, and more.

However, RICO laws are not limited to just taking down the mob. They’ve been used against corrupt corporate executives, street gangs, motorcycle clubs, and more. Any coordinated criminal activity that meets the criteria can potentially be prosecuted under RICO.

Penalties for RICO Convictions

The penalties for RICO convictions are extremely harsh:

  • Up to 20 years in prison per racketeering count
  • Fines up to $250,000 or twice the gross profits from the illegal enterprise
  • Mandatory restitution to victims
  • Criminal forfeiture of all ill-gotten gains from the racketeering acts

In addition, a RICO conviction results in a felony criminal record that carries collateral consequences like loss of rights, difficulty finding employment, and more. The stakes could not be higher.That’s why you need an elite criminal defense law firm like Spodek Law Group in your corner if you’re facing potential RICO charges. Our attorneys have successfully defended clients against the full force of the federal government. We know the intricacies of these complex cases.

Is RICO Too Broad?

Critics have argued that RICO laws are too broad and give prosecutors too much power. Since the definition of “racketeering activity” is so expansive, some argue it allows overzealous prosecutors to unfairly lump together disconnected crimes under the RICO umbrella.There are also concerns that RICO’s severe penalties and asset forfeiture provisions violate principles of proportional punishment and due process. The potential for abuse is there.However, proponents argue RICO is a vital tool for dismantling sophisticated criminal enterprises that are otherwise difficult to prosecute. By allowing prosecutors to go after the leadership and criminal profits, RICO makes organized crime a higher-risk, lower-reward proposition.Ultimately, whether RICO laws are too far-reaching is a matter of ongoing legal and political debate. But for those facing charges, the laws are in full effect — underscoring the need for an aggressive defense from experienced RICO attorneys.

Defending Against RICO in New York

New York has its own state-level racketeering laws that mirror the federal RICO statute. Under New York’s Organized Crime Control Act, it’s a crime to be employed by or associated with a criminal enterprise that engages in a pattern of criminal activity.The predicate crimes are similar to federal RICO — extortion, bribery, money laundering, murder, kidnapping, gambling, and more. Penalties include up to 25 years in prison and fines up to triple the gross proceeds from the criminal enterprise.Our New York criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in defending against both federal and state RICO prosecutions. We understand the unique challenges and employ proven defense strategies honed over decades of experience.If you or a loved one is facing potential racketeering charges in New York, contact us immediately. Early intervention is critical to getting out in front of these complex cases.

Defending Organized Crime Cases Nationwide

While we’re based in New York, our federal criminal defense practice extends nationwide. Our attorneys are adept at navigating the federal court system across all 94 judicial districts.We frequently take on RICO and organized crime cases originating from major federal prosecutions in places like:

  • Southern District of New York (SDNY)
  • District of New Jersey
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • District of Massachusetts
  • Northern District of Illinois
  • Central District of California

No matter where charges originate, our federal criminal lawyers can quickly get up to speed and start building a defense strategy tailored to the specific charges, evidence, and court. We have the resources and experience to take on the federal government anywhere.

What to Do If You’re Under Investigation

If you learn you’re under investigation for potential RICO or organized crime charges, it’s imperative you take the situation extremely seriously from the outset. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:

  • Hire an attorney immediately – Do not make the mistake of thinking you can handle this alone. Get experienced legal representation involved right away before making any statements.
  • Remain silent – Invoke your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Do not answer questions or make any statements to law enforcement without your lawyer present.
  • Preserve all evidence – Do not destroy any potential evidence like documents, emails, text messages, etc. Your lawyer needs to review everything.
  • Cut ties with any alleged criminal associates – Completely disengage from any activities or individuals that could be construed as part of a criminal enterprise.
  • Get your affairs in order – Be prepared for the potential of having assets seized, being detained pending trial, and other disruptions to your life.

The government has virtually unlimited resources for building RICO cases. You need to take all precautions and mount an aggressive defense from day one. Our firm can guide you through every step.

Why Hire Spodek Law Group?

When you’re facing the full force of the federal government and potential decades behind bars, you need to hire the absolute best defense team available. At Spodek Law Group, our top criminal attorneys have:

  • Over 50 years of combined experience
  • Successful track record in high-stakes federal cases
  • Extensive knowledge of RICO laws and organized crime prosecutions
  • Relationships and credibility with federal prosecutors and judges
  • Unwavering commitment to protecting our clients’ rights

We understand what you’re up against with RICO charges. These are all-out legal battles that require meticulous preparation, creative defense strategies, and tenacious advocacy every step of the way.Our attorneys have the skills, experience, and resources to go toe-to-toe with the federal government. We’ll leave no stone unturned in pursuing all possible avenues for getting charges reduced or dismissed entirely.

Schedule Your Consultation Now