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In an effort to crack down on organized crime, Congress passed a law in 1970 that is known as RICO, which stands for the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Michigan, like many other states, has enacted a similar law.

If you find yourself dealing with RICO-related charges, you could be facing harsh penalties, which is why you need the help of a Michigan RICO attorney with the knowledge and experience to help you navigate this complex situation. You need a skilled defense attorney who can provide you the clear information you need to understand all your options.


RICO was originally designed to help the government fight large-scale, interstate, organized crime operations. But in recent years, prosecutors have turned this powerful weapon on individuals and small businesses who may have accidentally violated the law, or even those who committed no legal violation at all.

RICO and similar state laws are intended to punish any organized criminal activity, including, among other crimes:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Extortion
  • Gambling
  • Bribery
  • Embezzlement
  • Transporting stolen property
  • Distributing obscene materials to minors
  • Money laundering
  • Arson

If these offenses were carried out for an enterprise's financial gain, anyone involved in the enterprise can fall under the jurisdiction of organized crime laws. Individuals can be found guilty of crimes they did not personally commit, as long as the prosecutors can show that they played some significant role in the criminal enterprise.

Potential Penalties

RICO and its Michigan equivalent have given the authorities enhanced powers, and they have used them aggressively. Prosecutors can seek forfeiture of property and assets, as well as lengthy prison terms. They can also seek treble damages, which means that for every dollar of actual damages that are found by the court, the defendant can be ordered to pay three dollars.

If the property that was derived from the alleged racketeering is outside the court's jurisdiction, has been sold, or cannot be found, the court can then order the defendants to forfeit other property of equivalent value.

Criminal and Civil Charges

In addition to providing for extended criminal penalties, RICO also allows for a civil cause of action that alleged victims of the illegal acts can bring against a person, a group of people, or an ongoing business enterprise. Such cases can become complicated quickly.

To gather the evidence necessary to prosecute RICO-type crimes, the government uses methods such as:

  • Wiretapping
  • Searches of homes and business premises
  • Witness testimony

All Americans have the right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to confront the witnesses against them. Experienced, knowledgeable RICO defense attorneys in Michigan know how to scrutinize the record to find examples of police misconduct and other defects that can render evidence inadmissible in court. If enough evidence is excluded, the case against the defendant could collapse altogether.

Consulting with a RICO Attorney

A lawyer's job is to serve as the client's advocate at all times and in every way, without judging any mistakes that the client may have made. A Michigan RICO attorney will listen carefully to every aspect of your story, clearly lay out what your options are, and then provide you with the most vigorous defense possible under the law. If you are facing possible RICO penalties, whether criminal or civil, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

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Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
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