RICO/Continuing Criminal Enterprise Defense in South Florida

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The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly referred to as RICO Act or RICO) is a law used to prosecute criminal acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.  Under RICO, a person or group who commits any 2 of 35 racketeering crimes-27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes-within a 10-year period and, in the opinion of the United States Attorney bringing the case, has committed those crimes with similar purpose or results can be charged with racketeering.  RICO-related charges are considered easy to prove in court, as they focus on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.


Examples of racketeering activity includes: 


  • Any violation of state statutes against gambling, murder, kidnapping, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substances 
  • Any act of bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, fraud, dealing in obscene matter, obstruction of justice, slavery, racketeering, gambling, money laundering, commission of murder-for-hire, and several other Federal crimes 
  • Embezzlement of union funds 
  • Bankruptcy or securities fraud 
  • Drug trafficking 
  • Money laundering and related offenses 
  • Bringing in, aiding or assisting aliens in entering the country (if the action was for financial gain) 
  • Acts of terrorism  

When someone is indicted under RICO, the prosecutor has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize the defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond.  


A person convicted under RICO can be sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the person must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."  


Because of the complexity of RICO charges, it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Call us today for a free consultation.