Delaware County Racketeering Lawyers
Racketeering is a very serious charge that can land you in prison for life. The federal government spends millions of dollars investigating these cases and can make a compelling argument – even when the accused is completely innocent. If you have been accused of racketeering, it is important to get a lawyer who is experienced in defending people like you against these charges.
What Is Racketeering?
Racketeering is a charge that came into being under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. This federal act was written to make organized crime easier to prosecute. Under this act, leaders of organized crime rings can be prosecuted for crimes that they ordered, even if they did not commit them. In addition, large prison sentences and other penalties can be given to lesser members of crime rings who are caught committing less serious crimes.
RICO has been used successfully to prosecute crimes ranging from financial fraud in corporations to drug trafficking. However, there are times when its penalties are excessive.
Different Types of Racketeering Charge
Under RICO, there are several requirements for being charged with racketeering. This federal act only applies if a member of a crime organization has committed two or more of the crimes specified by the act in a ten-year period or if they are the leader of a major crime organization. It is important to know exactly what you have been accused of. The crimes that qualify for RICO are:
- Drug trafficking
- Obstruction of justice
- Weapons trafficking
- Money laundering
- Securities fraud
- Violations of immigration law
These are all serious charges in themselves. Racketeering charges only apply if you have been accused (and can be later convicted) of two or more in a ten year period.
Prosecutors do not bring racketeering charges lightly. They only do this when they believe they have significant evidence. However, this does not mean they never make mistakes. With the help of a lawyer experienced in fighting RICO charges, it is possible to successfully prove your innocence.
Racketeering charges are meant to take repeat criminals who are members of organized crime off the streets. As a result, the punishment is severe. People can be forced to pay large fines. In addition, people convicted of racketeering must forfeit all assets that they are believed to have obtained as a result of organized crime. This can include homes, personal belongings, and more. Citizens who claim to have been harmed by the organized crime can successfully sue to recover all of their losses as well as punitive damages.
Although the financial consequences are severe, the prison sentences can be even more significant. People convicted of racketeering can have ten years of prison time added to the sentences for their other crimes. They are often refused bail and parole, so they spend most of their lives in jail.
The penalties for racketeering are huge. They are even greater when you consider that innocent people can easily be convicted. The federal government invests huge resources into these investigations. No person can fight this kind of investigation and allegation without the help of an experienced racketeering attorney.
Fighting Racketeering Charges
There are several approaches to fighting these charges. We will help you to build a defense against the crimes of which you are accused. We will also address any evidence that you are part of organized crime. Evidence may not have been collected according to your Constitutional rights, which means it should be thrown out.
We understand that even good people can be accused of these serious charges. We are ready to help you fight the allegations and get your own story on the record. Call our offices today for a free consultation.