The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act is a federal law that targets the criminal activities of an organization. The RICO Act provides a very powerful tool to prosecutors to combat organized crime. It allows the judicial system to try individuals who allegedly ordered other members of an organization to carry out criminal acts. Because of the potential liability for significant prison sentences and fines, seeking the advice of an experienced New York white collar crimes lawyer can be instrumental when facing RICO charges.
Things You Should Know About the RICO Act
- Authorities Can Seize Your Assets
The RICO Act permits law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to seize your assets if you are charged with crimes under the RICO Act. If your assets are seized or frozen, it can be very difficult to retain the services of an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer to mount a strong defense to the charges and protect your legal rights. If you believe that you are being investigated for racketeering crimes, contact a lawyer immediately.
- You Can Be Charged For Being A Member of an Organization
Under the RICO Act, if someone in your organization is charged with a crime, you could also be tied to the same crime. Some of the crimes that you could face under RICO include:
- Money Laundering
- Drug Trafficking
- Murder for Hire
- Bankruptcy Fraud
- Securities Fraud
Being charged for crimes committed by an associate is terrifying. Your freedom could be in jeopardy. Seeking the advice of an attorney can help ensure that your legal rights are not violated.
- An Enterprise or Criminal Organization Does Not Need To Be A Legal Entity
If you are engaging in fraudulent schemes or conducting illegal business activities, you can be charged with racketeering. The “enterprise” that is associated with the crime does not need to be a corporation or other legal entity. Racketeering charges can apply to any union, group, or business that is involved in illegal activities defined under the RICO Act. Many people assume that RICO only applies to “organized” crime as defined by a business entity. However, you could face criminal charges if your “organization” is a group of people.
- A Conviction Requires Two or More Acts
For the government to obtain a conviction under the RICO Act, it must prove that you committed two or more criminal activities covered by the ACT. It must also prove that you participated in, directly invested in, or maintained an interest in the criminal enterprise.
- You Could Face Criminal and Civil Penalties
In addition to the criminal penalties for a conviction under the RICO Act, you could also face civil remedies. Victims of crimes committed by criminal organizations can file lawsuits seeking compensation for damages. If the person is successful, the court could award treble damages, which is three times the amount of money lost because of the criminal activity.