RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It is a federal law that was passed in 1970 with the idea of combatting and controlling organized crime such as the type normally associated with the Mafia, but since that time the law’s interpretation has gone through a transition that has made it possible for it to be applied to a number of other types of organizations. Instead of being thought of as a way to strictly pursue organizations that were originally formed for criminal purposes, it is better to now think of it as a way to punish those who engage in a pattern of wrongdoing as a member of a criminal enterprise. There are a number of activities that have been established as racketeering activities, and these include:
- Witness tampering
- Financial crimes such as money laundering, counterfeiting, securities violations, and mail and wire fraud
If you need more information about RICO and what it entails, the experienced attorneys of Bochetto & Lentz can provide you with a more detailed explanation. Call us today to set up an appointment for a consultation.
Those who have been accused of RICO violations are subject to both criminal penalties and civil penalties: they can be sued by the government or by individual citizens. Those who have been proven guilty in a criminal proceeding face the possibility of imprisonment of up to twenty years, and that sentence may be extended depending upon what the crime is that was associated with the RICO charge. Criminal charges also carry the possibility of a financial penalty of double the amount of the proceeds or their wrongdoing or $250,000. In addition to this fine, the government also forces the person who has been convicted of RICO to forfeit all of their interest in the criminal enterprise. This rule was established with the goal of causing a serious weakening of the organization, and is strengthened by the fact that the defendant’s assets are frozen during the course of the prosecution.
Private parties are also able to file a civil claim against those who have made them victims of RICO actions, and proving these claims has a lower burden of proof than the government needs to provide. Though racketeering charges are often difficult to prove, when a plaintiff is successful in their lawsuit they can be awarded damages of three times the amount that they lost as a result of the illegal activities. One of the keys to winning the case lies in having an experienced attorney representing you and presenting a compelling case that is understandable for a jury. The knowledgeable attorneys at the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto & Lentz have extensive experience in representing complainants and defendants in RICO cases. If you would like to meet with us to discuss your situation, contact us immediately to set up an appointment.
Learn more about RICO here – http://bochettoandlentz.com/practice-areas/civil-fraud-and-rico/