Federal Conspiracy and RICO Act Defense Attorney
Federal Conspiracy & Racketeering Crimes in California
If you or someone you love has been charged with conspiracy or any related RICO crime, you should immediately seek representation from a federal criminal lawyer. Federal charges can significantly affect your life, and if convicted you could face time in federal prison, large fines, and more.
An federal defense attorney from our firm can represent you from the beginning stages of the investigation to the trial and will be behind you every step of the way. Having a lawyer who is supportive, knowledgeable, and skilled will make a world of difference to your case and will greatly improve your odds of overcoming the charges against you.
RICO stands for the ‘Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations' Act, which allows for members of criminal enterprises to be charged with racketeering. If members of the criminal enterprise commit any 2 of 35 listed federal and state crimes within a 10-year period, the RICO Act applies. This act was passed to eliminate the ill-affects of organized crime on the nation's economy and originally targeted the Mafia and others participating in similar criminal activity.
RICO Criminal Cases
RICO was initially used as a powerful tool to fight organized crime groups who were operating broad illegal activities as a criminal enterprise. Now, the federal RICO Act also is used to cover a broader range of criminal activity committed by extortion and coercion.
The RICO Act is still focused on racketeering activity, such as the participation of groups to make money from organized unlawful activity. RICO allows federal prosecutors to not just prosecute organized crime groups, but also businesses who engage in fraud and extortion. If you are facing allegations of racketeering, you will need an experienced lawyer who is familiar with dealing with RICO cases defense.
Prior to the passage of the RICO Act, people who ordered others to engage in criminal activity were often able to escape criminal prosecution because they didn't actually commit the crime themselves. After RICO became law, these leaders of a criminal organization can be charged for crimes they told others to commit, even when they didn't personally commit the crime. While the RICO Act was originally created to fight organize crime, it is now used as a tool to fight complex white collar crimes and political corruption. Put simply, RICO allows a federal prosecutor to combine all criminal activity of an organization into one legal action.
What Types of Crimes Does the RICO Act Cover?
Federal racketeering charges covers a wide range of criminal offenses, These crimes have to be connected to an ongoing ongoing criminal enterprise. In order for charges to be pursued under the RICO Act, there has to be at least two crimes committed through the enterprise within 10 years. Common examples of crimes that are covered under the RICO Act include:
- Attempt and Conspiracy
- Counterfeit Goods
- Wire Fraud
- Mail Fraud
- Drug Trafficking
- Money Laundering
- Bank Fraud
- Securities Fraud
- Violent Crimes
As stated above, the RICO Act allows federal prosecutors to charge individuals or a group of people with racketeering when they didn't actually commit the crime themselves. It provides severe penalties for illegal activity for acts that benefit a criminal organization. A conviction for racketeering under the federal RICO Act carries up to 20 years in a federal prison for each count of racketeering. If the RICO charges include crimes such as murder, then you could receive a life sentence. The court can can also order huge fines or twice the amount of the illegal profits earned due to the racketeering offense.
Additionally, if convicted under the RICO Act, you could face asset forfeiture, meaning the government could seize money or property connected to the racketeering activity. However, the prosecutor has to be able to prove you earned the money or property from the illegal activity – or used it to commit the illegal activity – or even bought property with money gained from the illegal activity.
Defenses Against RICO Charges
To prove you are guilty of racketeering in violation of the federal RICO Act, the prosecution has to be able to prove all the elements of the crime beyond any reasonable doubt, These critical factors include:
- The actual existence of an enterprise that affected commerce
- You were associated with the enterprise
- You engaged in racketeering activity
- You participated in a pattern of racketeering by committing at least two acts
As you can see, the primary factor in a RICO case is a “pattern” of criminal activity. Further, there must be at least two acts of racketeering activity through the enterprise within 10 years for the RICO statute to apply. It should be noted that federal RICO cases are investigated by the most experienced federal law enforcement agents and federal prosecutors.
This means a successful defense against RICO charges will required a highly experienced federal criminal defense lawyer. There are many potential defenses our lawyers can use against RICO charges, but we must first closely review all the details of your case. Some common defenses include an argument you didn't conspire to commit the crimes, or your acts were not of a criminal nature. We might also be able to argue you didn't knowingly act with the intent to participate in criminal activity, or there was no pattern of racketeering activity. We could also make an argument you weren't acting on behalf of a criminal enterprise, or evidence being used against you was obtained through an illegal search and seizure.
Contact Our RICO Defense Lawyers
RICO crimes encompass a wide range of criminal acts, including conspiracy. It is unlawful for any person to conspire with another to violate the RICO Act, and when this is suspected of happening, federal investigators and prosecutors will become involved.
Individuals or organizations who are facing racketeering charges can lose their business and spend decades in prison. If you are facing RICO charges in Los Angeles, Southern California, or anywhere in the United States, contact us to learn how we can help you. Federal racketeering are typically complex and involve multiple defendants. Early intervention by our RICO defense attorneys can be critical to the outcome of your case.
In order to charge a person with this federal offense, the defendant must have supposedly made an agreement; they do not necessarily have to have committed the criminal act. Conspiracy and RICO crimes can be very broad and complex charges, which is why it helps to have an experienced federal criminal defense attorney helping you.