In 1970, Congress enacted the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to combat the growing influence of organized crime. A RICO violation can be a state or federal crime based on a violation of a corresponding legal principle. Generally, a RICO violation occurs when a party engages in a “pattern of racketeering activity connected with an enterprise.” This activity may include:
- Mail and wire fraud
These racketeering activities, and others not listed here, are considered predicate offenses. Engaging in two or more predicate offenses in connection with an enterprise, within a 10-year time frame, warrants a RICO violation. One of the aspects of RICO that is also commonly utilized is a conspiracy violation to commit a violation under a different federal statute.
RICO convictions result in serious consequences
If you are convicted of a crime under RICO, you could face up to 20 years in prison, or life in prison if the underlying crime allows for such. You will also be asked to pay a $250,000 fine or double the proceeds earned when engaged in the illegal activity.
With such serious potential consequences, it is important to do everything you can to defend against these charges. A New York criminal defense attorney specializing in white collar crime matters can help defend against the RICO charges filed against you by challenging each element of the alleged crime.