RICO Lawyer

RICO lawyer

Once used as a tool to fight organized crime syndicates like the mafia and prosecute mob bosses responsible for orchestrating illegal activities as part of a criminal enterprise, the Federal RICO Act has since been expanded to cover a wide range of criminal acts committed through coercion or extortion.

The RICO Act is focused primarily on racketeering or participating in or making money from organized, illegal activity. It allows the federal government to prosecute organized crime and legitimate businesses suspected of engaging in criminal activity, such as fraud or extortion. 

If you have been accused of racketeering and you are facing criminal charges under the RICO Act, you need a capable, knowledgeable attorney with experience handling federal RICO cases heading your defense. 

Contact Perlman Defense Federal Criminals Lawyers today to learn how defense attorney Daniel R. Perlman can help. Accusations of RICO violations are always severe. Call our RICO lawyers today for a free case consultation.

How can a RICO Lawyer can help you

How can a RICO Lawyer can help you

Before the RICO Act was passed, individuals who ordered others to commit illegal acts as part of a criminal enterprise were largely able to avoid prosecution. This is because they didn't carry out the federal crimes themselves.

With the passage of the RICO Act, the leaders of criminal organizations could be charged and punished for crimes they allegedly ordered others to commit. This is true even if they didn't commit the crimes themselves.

Indeed, the RICO Act was initially established to fight organized crime and take down high-profile crime rings. Today, the federal statute is used more often to combat white-collar crime, political corruption, and fraud. It allows federal prosecutors to combine an organization's alleged criminal acts into a single action. It is also not unusual for those accused to face a Civil RICO Claim.

What Is the RICO Act?

The RICO Act is a powerful and complex federal statute. Government RICO indictments can result in major criminal consequences, including a lengthy prison sentence, considerable fines, and forfeiture of the defendant's assets and property.

Daniel Perlman and his lawyers at Perlman Defense Federal Criminal Lawyers are committed to providing clients with the best possible defense against RICO claims. Our firm will fight for your rights throughout every stage of your criminal case.

Based in Los Angeles, Daniel Perlman represents clients in a wide range of criminal cases in the California state court system and federal courts throughout the United States, including federal RICO cases.

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a federal law that prohibits individuals or organizations (known as "racketeers") from conducting organized criminal acts (known as a "racket") as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

The RICO Act was signed into law in 1970. Its official purpose is "the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce."

Decades after it was originally introduced, the RICO Act remains a powerful tool implemented by federal authorities to combat a wide range of criminal activity. This includes everything from violent crimes to fraud, money laundering and extortion.

The RICO Act (18 U.S.C. § 1962(c)) punishes any individual or group's use of an enterprise to engage in criminal activity for profit. Under this law, an enterprise is defined as "any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact, although not a legal entity."

Under the RICO Act, it is considered a federal offense for any person to:

  • Obtain or maintain an interest in any business or organization through racketeering activity.
  • Use money gained from racketeering or the collection of unlawful debt to establish, obtain, or operate any business or organization affecting interstate commerce.
  • Conduct the affairs of a business or organization using racketeering activity. OR
  • Conspire to commit any of the above acts.

What Crimes Does the RICO Act Cover?

Federal racketeering charges can arise from a wide variety of criminal offenses. The offenses must be connected in some way to an ongoing criminal enterprise. These offenses are known as "predicate" crimes. For criminal charges to be brought under the RICO Act, at least two predicate crimes must have been committed through the enterprise within ten years of one another. Some examples of criminal offenses covered by the RICO Act include the following:

Criminal Penalties in RICO Cases

Criminal penalties in RICO cases

The RICO Act allows federal authorities to charge individuals or groups of individuals with racketeering. This is true even if they didn't commit the racketeering acts themselves.

It also provides for more grievous criminal and civil penalties for illegal acts allegedly carried out on behalf of a criminal organization.

If you are convicted of racketeering under the federal RICO Act, you could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for each count of racketeering.

Or, if the RICO charges include any predicate crimes that are punishable by life imprisonment, such as murder, you could be sentenced to life in prison. The court can also impose a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the illegal profits earned due to the racketeering offense.

You could also be subject to asset forfeiture. This means the government can seize any money or property associated with the alleged racketeering activity. The prosecution simply needs to prove that:

  • You earned the money or property from the illegal activity.
  • You used the money or property to carry out the illegal activity. OR:
  • You purchased the property using the proceeds from the illegal activity.

You could also be forced to forfeit any interest you hold in the business or enterprise as a result of your racketeering charges.

RICO Actions Could Result in Civil Charges

The RICO Act also provides for a civil cause of action. This allows individuals whose business or property was damaged or adversely affected by the alleged criminal enterprise to sue the racketeer in civil court.

Suppose you are convicted of racketeering in federal criminal court. In that case, you will likely be liable in civil court. This means you could end up paying triple damages or damages of up to three times the actual damages.

Defending Against RICO Charges

To find you guilty of the crime of racketeering in violation of the federal RICO Act, the prosecution must prove the following critical elements of the crime of racketeering beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • An enterprise existed.
  • The enterprise affected interstate or foreign commerce.
  • You were employed by or associated with the enterprise.
  • You engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. AND:
  • You conducted or participated in the conduct of the enterprise through that pattern of racketeering activity. This means you committed at least two acts of racketeering activity.

The key to a RICO case is that there must be a "pattern" of criminal activity. This means at least two acts of racketeering activity must have been committed through the enterprise within ten years for the federal RICO statute to apply.

Addressing Federal RICO Investigations

The government's top federal agents investigate RICO cases. They are handled in federal court by the government's best federal prosecutors. These professionals are trained specifically for cases like these.

Beating RICO charges requires the experience of a confident and competent federal criminal defense attorney who can take the government to task. You need someone who can successfully challenge the prosecution's evidence and get your racketeering charges dropped.

Defense Strategies for RICO Cases

Racketeering is an extremely severe criminal charge. But just because you have been accused of violating the RICO Act does not mean the prosecution can prove that you committed the crime.

As in any criminal case, you are legally presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must prove each element of the racketeering crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is up to you to retain an established criminal defense attorney familiar with the federal RICO statute. You need a lawyer who knows how to defend against racketeering charges. That way, you can present the strongest possible defense in your case.

How Do We Defend You Against RICO Charges?

There are several potential defense strategies a skilled criminal defense attorney can use to defeat a RICO charge, including the following:

  • You did not commit or conspire to commit the crimes in question.
  • Your actions were not of a criminal nature.
  • You did not knowingly act with the intent to participate in criminal activities.
  • There was not a pattern of racketeering activity.
  • You were not acting on behalf of a criminal enterprise.
  • The evidence against you was obtained as part of an illegal search and seizure.
  • The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to meet its burden of proof.
  • The crimes involved in the racketeering charge were unrelated.

Why Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Why hire a criminal defense attorney

The federal government aggressively and comprehensively investigates and prosecutes RICO Act violations. If you have been charged with racketeering, the outcome of your case depends greatly on the ability of your criminal defense lawyer.

At Perlman Defense Federal Criminal Lawyers, our attorneys' main objective is to get your RICO charges dismissed or your penalties reduced. We will do everything in our power to make that happen.

When choosing the right attorney to represent your defense in a federal RICO case, there is no substitute for skill, competence, and experience. That is what Daniel Perlman and the legal team at Perlman Defense Federal Criminal Lawyers bring to the table.

As a former prosecutor, Daniel Perlman is intimately familiar with the nuances of federal law and the RICO Act. He has the skills and resources to defend clients against potentially life-changing criminal charges like racketeering.

Contact Our Knowledgeable RICO Defense Attorneys Today

Contact our knowledgeable RICO defense attorneys today

Individuals or organizations facing racketeering charges in federal court risk losing their business, ruining their reputation, and spending decades in prison. They could also face the potential forfeiture of their assets and treble damages.

Charges of RICO offenses cases can be extremely complicated and often involve numerous defendants. Early intervention by an expert RICO defense lawyer is critical to the potential success of your criminal case. It would be our honor to defend you.

If you have been charged with a RICO violation in Los Angeles, Southern California, or anywhere else in the United States, or if you are under investigation for illegal racketeering activities, contact Daniel R. Perlman as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation and RICO case evaluation. Call our RICO lawyers today to schedule a free case consultation.

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