A federal law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1970 is designed to criminalize any continuing pattern of racketeering activity as well as organized crime. It is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico Act). When it was first passed, this law was used to prosecute Mafia activity. It is now a common investigative tool used against political groups, white-collar crime taking place within businesses organizations and more.
The Rico Act provides a wide set of circumstances to charge people with many different types of crimes. This includes such crimes as copyright infringement, gambling, fraud, murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping, robbery as well as arson and more. It is common for the Rico Act to be used in situations involving wire and mail fraud. It also provides a way for organized crime leaders to be charged and tried for the same types of crime they may have ordered someone else to perform.
There is a long list of thirty-five different types of activities that are categorized as racketeering based on 18 U.S.C. §1961. It includes such things as acts of terrorism, gambling, entering the country for financial gain, murder, criminal copyright infringement, murder-for-hire, securities fraud, kidnapping, the commission of murder-for-hire, extortion, money laundering, assisting or aiding aliens with illegal entry into the country and more.
Charged Under The Rico Act
It is common today for the Rico Act to be used against enterprises of all sizes. This includes corporations, partnerships, associations, as well as a union or other legal entity. The Rico Act can also be used against any person associated in fact. Many RICO defendants today are often corporate CEOs. They could be the leader of a political group, controlling corporate shareholder as well as trustee and more.
Indictment Under Rico Act
Should someone be accused of committing a minimum of two racketeering violations within a decade, they can be indicted for racketeering. Should someone be given a guilty sentence for a Rico Act violation, they could be given fines over $24,000 as well as incarceration for as long as 20 years. Many of the convictions under the Rico Act involve spending life in prison. A guilty verdict under the Rico Act will require a convicted person to surrender any business interests or gains obtained from participation in activities involving racketeering.
When someone is indicted under the Rico Act, it enables the government to subject them to an injunction or a pre-trial restraining order. Once this has been issued, the government can legally seize a person’s assets. They can also require them to provide a performance bond. The purpose of this bond is to determine if a defendant does have assets that can be seized. It is also a way to make certain a defendant will pay should they be found guilty. In many cases, an indictment under the Rico Act can force someone to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
What A prosecutor Must Prove
The Rico Act is not designed to base guilt on the substance of the criminal acts. Its intended use is as a bridge to prosecute illegal activity. A prosecutor must prove a defendant under the Rico Act is guilty of a minimum of two Rico Act violations within a period of ten years. This means it must be proven the second violation happened within a ten-year period after the first violation. This period covering ten years doesn’t include time spent being incarcerated. The violations must be connected by having a similar purpose, victims, results as well as participants and methods of conducting the violation.
Appealing Rico Act Violation
The process involved in successfully appeal a Rico Act violation is long and complicated. In most cases, a guilty verdict will have been obtained by other indicted defendants who have made a deal with the prosecutor to plead guilty to lesser charges. This will put a defendant in a very difficult situation. This is a guilty verdict that comes with severe punishment including asset seizures, a lifetime in prison as well as significant fines.
Successfully appealing a guilty verdict under the Rico Act will require help from experienced legal experts. They will comprehend the situation and the complexities of the federal criminal appeal process. These are attorneys who know how to analyze the entire case and all the facts associated with the trial. They will be able to identify any errors and use them to their client’s benefit. They are attorneys who know how to create a concise yet compelling appellate brief and properly submit it to the correct court.