RICO and Racketeering
The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act creates a single federal offense for different types of organized crime. When Congress enacted the RICO Act in 1970, the law was primarily used to prosecute groups like the mafia; in recent years, however, federal prosecutors have charged a wide array of people and organizations under the RICO Act, from street gangs to labor unions to large corporations. A conviction under the RICO Act carries significant penalties, including up to 20 years in federal prison, substantial fines, and forfeiture of assets. In some cases, a conviction can even carry a life sentence if the underlying offense (e.g., murder) is punishable by a life sentence under state law. Despite the seriousness of RICO cases, strong defenses can be found with highly-skilled legal representation. If you are charged under the RICO Act, or under investigation for racketeering conspiracy, you need an experienced and persuasive criminal defense attorney to prepare and execute a winning defense.
Boston RICO Attorney David J. Grimaldi provides outstanding legal representation to clients charged with racketeering in federal court. He has represented numerous clients charged under the RICO Act, including clients accused of murder, kidnapping, robbery, drug offenses, firearms offenses, money laundering, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of the alleged racketeering conspiracy. Attorney Grimaldi knows from experience how to analyze the government’s evidence, identify weaknesses in their cases, and mount a comprehensive defense for his clients. Attorney Grimaldi’s significant experience in RICO cases is a formidable asset to anyone charged with federal racketeering.
To violate the RICO Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, a person must engage in a pattern of racketeering in furtherance of an enterprise. An “enterprise” is defined as “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, any union or group of individuals associated in fact though not a legal entity.” Thus, the RICO Act targets both legitimate, highly-structured entities and looser, allegedly illegitimate associations. Whatever form it takes, the enterprise must constitute a distinct entity from the individuals alleged to be committing crimes inside of it. Depending on the circumstances, a strong defense to racketeering charges can include evidence that there was no enterprise at all.
To show a pattern of racketeering, the government must prove at least two offenses from a list of specific criminal acts in furtherance of the enterprise within a 10 year period of each other. These so-called “predicate offenses” include bribery, embezzlement, gambling, extortion, blackmail, and many other offenses. The RICO Act does not always require the government to prove that a particular defendant personally committed each predicate offense; for example, alleged leaders of criminal organizations can be held responsible for crimes they ordered others to commit, or assisted them in committing, in furtherance of the ongoing criminal enterprise. Further, unlike the main conspiracy statute in federal court, conspiracy under the RICO Act does not require that a defendant commit an “overt act” in furtherance of the RICO conspiracy; an agreement to commit predicate offenses on behalf of the enterprise is sufficient. The best defenses to racketeering, therefore, often challenge the government’s evidence concerning the alleged predicate offense, including disputing whether a crime occurred or contesting the client’s involvement in the incident. In some cases, a strong defense is found in establishing that the predicate offense did not occur in furtherance of the enterprise and, therefore, was not part of a “pattern of racketeering.”
Boston RICO Attorney David J. Grimaldi knows how to prepare the strongest defense for clients accused of federal racketeering. His significant experience representing clients charged under the RICO Act is a cornerstone for new clients in need of the best possible defense. If you have been charged under the RICO Act or under investigation for federal racketeering, contact Attorney Grimaldi at (617) 661-1529 or online today.
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