Pennsylvania Racketeering Lawyers
Maybe you have had charges put against you as a career criminal or a drug boss. Prosecutors will often try to get you with racketeering charges, and the penalty for racketeering charges can be steep. This can include a $25,000 fine, the seizure of all your assets and up to 20 years in prison. These are the penalties.
How Someone Gets a Racketeering Charge
Some of the charges that can bring a racketeering charge up against you include:
- Drug trafficking
- Money laundering
- Wire fraud
If you committed any of these crimes over a 10-year period, you could be at risk of getting a charge. Anything that shows an alleged pattern of criminal activity could lead to you getting one of these charges.
Racketeering Charges in Pennsylvania
To get a racketeering charge, you traditionally have to be involved in organized crime, and you will normally have a business that focuses on illegal activities. Facing one of these charges can be serious, which is why you have to hire a lawyer immediately if you face one of these charges.
The Laws That Cover Racketeering
You have a couple of different laws that have been enacted as a way of helping to fight against organized crime. Some of these laws include:
- Hobbs Act
- Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity
- Continuing Criminal Enterprise
- Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act
Many of these racketeering laws fall under RICO, which allows the courts to prosecute people who ordered a crime to be committed, but they didn’t carry the crime out themselves. Anyone charged with this faces serious charges, and they could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and face a $25,000 fine. In addition, all their assets could be seized under the RICO act.
Racketeering through Deceit
When someone gets a racketeering charge, this charge can take many forms. In some cases, it takes the form of protection or threatening to cause harm to an honest business. Some of the other charges that could cause a racketeering charge include:
- Numbers racket—a form of illegal gambling.
- Fencing racket—buying stolen goods from thieves and reselling for a higher price.
- Kidnapping—where someone gets illegally detained.
The RICO Act of 1970
The RICO Act of 1970 was a law that Richard Nixon signed into effect to combat organized crime. At the time, organized crime seemed like an untouchable force, and it wasn’t until later that they started to lose some of their power. In total, 35 crimes can leave a person vulnerable to getting a racketeering charge, and 27 of them qualify as a federal crime. The remaining eight classify as a state crime. State crimes aren’t as serious as federal crimes, but if someone gets a racketeering charge, they can count on facing severe punishment whether a state or federal charge.
Prosecuting Crime Rings
Before Congress first put laws into effect to combat rackets, they had a hard time with prosecuting them. Many times, they could convict those who worked at the lower level, but they couldn’t get the people who were at the top of the organization. Because of this, they created laws where it is no longer essential that the suspect has personally committed a crime.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with Racketeering
If you have received a charge for racketeering, you should seek out qualified legal assistance. You want someone who understands the intricacies of your case. While your case may not amount to the infamous Italian mafia that they dealt with in the past, you still need qualified legal representation that can help you to fight these charges. Just because you have been accused of racketeering doesn’t mean that the prosecution can prove you were responsible.