Clearwater Racketeering Attorney
When an organization or business runs a racket, they are essentially creating a dishonest service, in exchange for a fee, that they provide to a business or an individual or order to relieve them from a problem that the racketeer themselves are creating. For example, a warehouse is set on fire and the owner of warehouse, who owns many others just like it, is approached by a group that will ensure that no more fires are set, so long as the owner agrees to a monthly payment. Racketeering can often involve the sale of illegal drugs, weapons, and prostitution, and has ties back to the organized crime era of the early 20th century. Racketeering is also tied in with embezzlement (such as money laundering to give the organization the appearance of being legitimate), bribery, obstruction of justice, extortion, and loan sharking. It is not uncommon for an individual to face charges of racketeering along with some of these other federal offenses in addition. Racketeering is a felony that is punishable by decades in prison and huge fines. Contact an experienced Clearwater racketeering attorney today.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) “was passed by Congress with the declared purpose of seeking to eradicate organized crime in the United States.” In order to prosecute an individual for racketeering, the following five criteria must be proved beyond reasonable doubt:
- An enterprise existed;
- That enterprise affected interstate commerce;
- The enterprise employed or was somehow associated with the defendant;
- The defendant participated in a pattern of racketeering activity; and
- The defendant conducted at least two acts of racketeering activity.
Without all five of these criteria, you cannot be charged with racketeering under the RICO Act, though it will take an experienced defense team to combat the prosecution’s claims. According to Florida statutes 859.02, racketeering is a crime that is punishable as a first degree felony, meaning that a convicted felon may spend up to 30 years in prison and face fines of up to $10,000. These fines may be increased to cover up to three times what was stolen (or three times the damages), which can mount into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars depending on the scale of racketeering that was committed.
Contact a Clearwater Racketeering Criminal Defense Attorney Today
The charges that are brought against an alleged racketeer are not handed out without a mountain of evidence behind them. The prosecution is backed with seemingly limitless resources in these cases. As such, you will need a defense team that will bring an equal amount of experience, knowledge, and professionalism to court in order to beat these racketeering charges. If you have been accused of engaging in racketeering behavior, contact an experienced Clearwater racketeering defense attorney today at 877-767-1032. Contact the law offices of Roman & Roman to schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that we can begin working on your defense strategy immediately.