Overview of RICO Charges

 Posted on January 14, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerThe Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was developed to eradicate organized crime. Created in 1970, RICO was intended to prevent criminals from taking over legitimate businesses.

If you are convicted on racketeering charges, any punishment you face will be accompanied by damage to your personal and professional reputation. Racketeering is also known to break apart families and communities.

If you have been arrested for racketeering, your first line of defense should be to hire the services of a Chicago criminal defense attorney

What is Racketeering?

Racketeering is the act of performing illegal activities with the intention of making an ongoing profit. These dealings are disguised as commercial business deals. RICO (18 U.S.C. § 1961) defines racketeering to be “any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion.”

Intimidation is often at the heart of racketeering. A recent example is former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn Georgia’s ballot results in the 2020 presidential election. There were a number of schemes to achieve this goal, including illegally accessing voting machines, verbally threatening Georgia’s secretary of state, and harassing a poll worker.

Common Racketeering Offenses

There are 35 specific crimes included in RICO. The most common racketeering offenses include:

  • Wire fraud: The use of electronic communications to defraud someone of money or property
  • Bank fraud: A scheme to obtain money, funds, or other securities that are under the custody or control of a financial institution through false pretenses
  • Money laundering: Concealing money that was gained through illicit means by pretending that it came from a legitimate business
  • Extortion: Obtaining something of value from a person or entity through force or threat
  • Drug trafficking: The illegal act of transporting or selling controlled substances

Federal Penalties

If you are convicted on RICO charges, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison per charge. A defendant may also be paying $25,000 in fines for each count brought against them. 

Moreover, you will likely be required to turn over any assets or property that you gained through your venture to the federal government. Property that you transferred to another person would also count unless that person is a bona fide purchaser. A bona fide purchaser would be someone who purchases the property in good faith, not knowing that they are partaking in an unlawful scheme.

As already discussed, if you are convicted on RICO charges, you will likely be charged with other crimes, meaning a prolonged prison sentence. This is why it is crucial to have a Chicago criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf. 

Facing RICO Charges? Contact a Chicago, IL, Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with racketeering, you have the right to a fair trial. A RICO violation should be taken seriously since your future may be at risk. If you are facing allegations of committing a federal racketeering crime, speak with our Chicago, IL, criminal defense attorney. Contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today online or by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation.

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