The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly referred to as RICO Act) can be prosecuted in either state or federal court. Both jurisdictions provide for severe criminal penalties. There is also a civil cause of action that can be brought under RICO.
RICO was first enacted as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. While its application was intended to be mainly used to prosecute those who are actively engaged in organized crime, its' use has become more widespread and has been used as a tool for law enforcement to go investigate and prosecute individuals and businesses never initially contemplated under the statute. This even applies to financial and banking companies as well as a whole host of other types of businesses.
A person found guilty can face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The person convicted may also have to forfeit all property and the interest in any business gained through the violation of the RICO act. Moreover, the government may attempt to seek a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the further transfer of potentially forfeitable property. In addition to criminal penalties, as mentioned earlier, the RICO statute also permits a person harmed by these crimes to file a civil suit seeking treble, or triple, damages.
RICO can be an extremely complex law that requires the government to overcome various hurdles and challenges before a conviction can be obtained against an accused. It is essential to obtain legal representation from a criminal defense lawyer and law firm which has the knowledge, experience and a background in handling RICO case.
Having a lawyer before you talk to a police officer or federal agent is one of your rights as an American and it is wise to talk with a lawyer before you try to “go it alone” against powerful and experienced opposing forces. Contact Birrell Criminal Defense to speak with our lawyers and staff today to learn more about your options and how we can help protect your rights, freedom and future.
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