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Racketeering is typically associated with organized crime, mobs, and drug trafficking. The consequences of being convicted for racketeering are severe, with each count punishable by up to 20 years in prison and fines that amount to double the profits that were made from the crime.
Most racketeering charges are often brought by the U.S. government under the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law, also known as RICO. However, the majority of states, including Michigan, also have their own laws that are modeled off of RICO to prohibit racketeering activity within the state.
If you have been charged with racketeering, contact a Michigan federal racketeering lawyer immediately. The laws governing racketeering crimes are complex and may require an experienced federal criminal attorney to navigate and provide the best possible defense.Defining Racketeering
At its simplest, racketeering involves crime rings, or rackets, that operate illegal businesses or schemes to make a profit. When RICO was enacted, it was meant to combat organized crime by allowing the prosecution of multiple individuals involved in a crime ring, as opposed to having to prosecute one individual at a time. Originally, the law was mostly aimed at the Mafia. Today, however, the government uses RICO to target street gangs, drug cartels, and even politicians.
The U.S. government has identified 35 different types of racketeering offenses that can be charged under 18 U.S.C § 1962 of RICO, including but not limited to:
- Drug dealing
- Mail and wire fraud
These are known as predicate offenses and must be present to be charged under RICO. For more information about racketeering charges, call a Michigan federal rackeering lawyer.Criminal RICO Violations in Michigan
In order to be charged with a criminal offense under RICO, the federal government must prove, under 18 U.S.C § 1962, that an individual was engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity connected to an enterprise that had some impact on interstate commerce.
A pattern of racketeering activity means two or more related racketeering crimes within the last 10 years. An enterprise can be considered a crime family, drug cartel, or even a political party.
Under 18 U.S.C § 1963, each racketeering charge carries up to a 20-year prison sentence or a life sentence if the predicate crime provides for such punishment and/or significant fines. RICO also allows the government to immediately seize and forfeit any assets connected to the racketeering activity.Statute of Limitations for Federal Charges
When Congress enacted RICO in the 1970s, it failed to include a statute of limitations. However, under 18 U.S.C. § 3282, Congress imposed a five-year statute of limitations on all criminal offenses not explicitly exempted by the section. Thus, as long as an individual has committed one predicate crime within the last five years, the government can still file RICO charges. When an individual is facing RICO charges, it is essential that they seek the services of a Michigan federal racketeering lawyer right away.Reaching Out to a Michigan Federal Racketeering Attorney
The definition of racketeering means that multiple people are involved in complex schemes. Therefore, it is easy to get lost in the details of the allegations. That makes it extremely important to work with an experienced lawyer.
If you have been charged by the U.S. government with racketeering, contact a Michigan federal racketeering lawyer immediately. An experienced attorney could aggressively fight to protect your rights each step of the way.