The RICO Act
The RICO act is a federal law designed to combat organized crime was passed in 1970. This law allows for civil penalties for racketeering activity, including; illegal gambling, bribery, kidnapping, murder, money laundering, counterfeiting, embezzlement, drug trafficking, and slavery. Both the government and civil parties use the RICO law to prosecute both legal and illegal enterprises.
Prior to the RICO law being passed, prosecutors could only try individual mob-related crimes. The government could not shut down an entire criminal organization, but instead had to prosecute each perpetrator individually.
The government must prove a defendant engaged in two or more instances of racketeering activity and participated in criminal activity to convict. The RICO law has been used to prosecute members of the mafia, Hells Angels, and many other organizations participating in illegal racketeering activities.
Racketeering activity includes threats of murder, robbery, gambling, arson, bribery, extortion, dealing in obsence matter or controlled substances, sports bribery, embezzelment, counterfeiting, fraud, slavery, trafficking, or reproducting citizenship papers.
While RICO was originally passed to prosecute the mafia and mob cartel, over the years, prosecutors have been using to prosecute street gangs, drug carters, corrupt police departments, and politicians.
Ways to Charge an Enterprise With Criminal RICO
If an enterprise, such as a gang, crime family, or drug cartel engages in racketeering activity such as; gambling, murder, kidnapping, arson, drug dealing, bribery, or mail fraud at least two times within ten years , they can be charged with criminal racketeering. The criminal RICO statute provides for prison terms of 20 years for severe penalties.
Ways to Succeed on a RICO Claim, a Plaintiff Must Show:
Any person who has been injured by a RICO violation can bring a civil suit:
- You must show that the defendant was involved in criminal activity and committed one of the RICO crimes, which include mail or wire fraud.
- You must prove there is a pattern of criminal activity. One crime is not enough, ou have to show a pattern of at least two crimes. A pattern requires the crimes be related in some way—same victim, same methods, same participants and over at least a year.
- The Supreme Court held that RICO has a four-year statute of limitations, which begins from the time the victim discovers his or her damages.
If you have been injured by criminal activity covered by the RICO law, Ronald Chapman can help. Consult Ronald Chapman to find out if you have a case. RICO civil suits can be costly, but. Ronald Chapman is an experienced defense attorney who can help.
Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help. Schedule your FREE Consultation! Call (561) 832-4348 or visit his website.
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