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What is the RICO Act?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Federal Crimes |

Residents of Florida who are charged with white collar crimes need to take quick action to protect their rights. Racketeering is a serious offense that carries significant penalties. That’s why it’s important to understand the federal RICO Act.

What is the RICO Act?

The RICO Act, enacted in 1970, stands for “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations.” The Act was put in place to fight against organized crime across the country. Traditionally, it was associated with the Mafia, but it can actually apply to any organization or business participating in various white collar crimes.

What is racketeering?

Racketeering is a blanket term that includes a variety of different offenses. It can be committed against a person, a business, or even the government. Often businesses, both legitimate and illegitimate alike, are guilty of racketeering. Racketeering doesn’t just happen with a single crime. Instead, it’s an organized scheme that takes place over time and involves multiple offenses.

There are a variety of criminal acts associated with the RICO Act. The following crimes have been charged as racketeering over the years:

  • Larceny, robbery, and other theft crimes
  • Crimes involving people such as human trafficking, kidnapping, murder, and witness tampering
  • Financial crimes such as embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, extortion, bribery, and more
  • Other types of crimes such as arson, acts of terrorism, copyright infringement, trafficking of controlled substances, or obstruction of justice

What are the penalties for racketeering?

A conviction on any type of racketeering crime can result in serious penalties. On the extreme end, a person who is convicted of a RICO-related offense can face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If the criminal scheme involves drug trafficking or murder, life in prison may be a possibility.

Additionally, any property or interest a person has acquired through racketeering crimes can be seized as part of the penalties that come with a conviction. This includes anything from physical property to intangible property like securities.

If you face RICO-related charges, it’s important to take them seriously. You need immediate help to protect your rights and future.