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Crime can take many forms. Sometimes, individuals may be charged with a single crime they have done on their own. At other times, people may be charged with crimes they have committed with others. One form of crime that is commonly used to charge more than one person is what is known as racketeering. Racketeering is the act of engaging in organized crime. For example, a gang may attempt to extort funds from a local business in return for an agreement not to damage their existing property. A group of people may conspire to bring drugs into the country or smuggle people in the country in violation of American immigration laws. The mob is an example of a group of people engaged in this form of crime. In a sense, they made a business out of forcing funds from other businesses. Doing so is against the law.
Many types of businesses and individuals may be part of a racketeering charge. An entire white collar company such as an accounting firm may be investigated for engaging in this form of criminal activity.
Prosecution Under RICO
In the past, prosecutors often found it very hard to prosecute these kinds of crimes. A local business owner may have struggled with an organized group of people determined to steal their profits with the use of force. While they might have brought a case with the help of the local prosecutor, it was often hard to get at the root of the problem. The people behind the entire process were often let off.
This is why efforts were made to find ways to hold all people accountable for their behavior. Ultimately, Congress chose to pass a law known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Usually called RICO, RICO is designed to offer prosecutors the resources they need to make sure that everyone involved in a form of organized crime is held responsible for their actions. RICO applies to federal laws. Many states have also enacted some form of RICO laws.
Under law, it is no longer necessary to indicate that any given person actually committed the crime. Instead, the law merely requires prosecutors to prove that the person in question owns or manages a specific organization and this organization performs routinely engages in one or more activities that are known to be illegal. The law gives prosecutors broad discretion. Today, prosecutors have used it to charge multiple members of an organization with a potential violation of varied laws. While some people and organizations may be engaged in active criminal activities, prosecutors have occasionally used the law to prosecute those simply engaged in a form of political protest that is legally allowed under the constitution.
Individuals have also take it upon themselves to ask prosecutors to prosecute certain organizations. For example, members of the Catholic church have sued priests for deliberately engaging in the molestation of children. This law, while popular among prosecutors, may go too far according to experts.
Very Serious Prosecution
An accusation of racketeering is a serious matter. There are many penalties that are possible under this law. Individuals and those who work for large companies can be charged with many numerous violations. People can be fined by government. They can also face potential prison time. This is why it is highly important to speak with an attorney in the event anyone is facing this kind of prosecution. While prosecutors have tremendous legal leeway to prosecute all violators, those who are accused under RICO still have a great deal of recourse to fight such charges. Chester County racketeering laws can help anyone accused under RICO get the best possible defense. They can offer the kind of effective legal assistance that can make sure an overzealous prosecution does not lead to permanent and inappropriate legal consequences. With their assistance, anyone can be assured of seeing the right legal outcome.