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What is racketeering?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Racketeering is a catchall term to describe a host of organized criminal activities that, in concert, form a profitable enterprise. Racketeering charges can often relate to such crimes as:

  • Robbery
  • Gambling
  • Drug trafficking
  • Human trafficking
  • Murder
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping

However, it is not the criminal act alone that makes it an enterprise, but the organized nature of it. If there is a hierarchy and organization reaping profits from illegal activities, all the members of the organization are at risk of racketeering charges.

A federal act addresses racketeering

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) seeks to go after racketeering syndicates on a federal level. To constitute a RICO charge, the racketeering must happen at least twice within 10 years. RICO cases also cover predicate offenses without physical violence such as extortion, coercion, wire fraud and blackmail.

Liable parties and penalties

Aside from the ones who carried out the illegal activities, those involved in the organization or enterprise in question and people connected to the funds from alleged racketeering are also liable in these instances:

  • Indirect or direct cooperation to do crimes as part of a racketeering enterprise
  • Indirect or direct participation in collecting unlawful debts or committing racketeering acts
  • Engaging in racketeering to control or obtain an interest in an enterprise
  • Spending or investing money acquired from a criminal enterprise

A civil remedy for racketeering allows a victim to seek financial damages worth three times their gross loss. A criminal penalty imposes a fine of $250,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Under the RICO law, the court can seize the assets of those who committed racketeering and their criminal enterprises.

How to face a racketeering accusation

If you are experiencing allegations of racketeering, you need to reinforce your defense by challenging the prosecution’s evidence. You can also clarify your connections to the supposed criminal enterprise.

A strong legal support can do just that. Moreover, it can help you face other possible criminal charges connected to racketeering that could intensify your punishments.