Federal RICO Defense Lawyer
Racketeering refers to the illegal operation of a business scheme by a group of people. Racketeering cases are prosecuted under the RICO Act, short for Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. While the RICO Act has historically been used to prosecute members of organized crimes group, federal prosecutors also use RICO guidelines to prosecute cases involving drug trafficking, money laundering and white-collar crimes. A conviction under the RICO Act can lead to a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines, making it imperative that you seek the aid of a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney if you or someone you know has been charged with racketeering.
RICO Act Violations and Penalties
The RICO Act was passed in 1970 for the express purpose of combating organized crime and the spread of racketeering into legitimate businesses and trade organizations. RICO laws make it a crime for any criminal operation to benefit financially from legitimate business activities.
In order for federal prosecutors to charge an individual or group of individuals with a RICO violation, the following criteria must be satisfied:
- There must be a criminal enterprise consisting of a group of individuals or an organized business entity, such as a corporation.
- The criminal enterprise must have a common goal or objective to defraud, deceive or otherwise engage in a scheme that will illegally generate a profit.
- There must be a pattern of racketeering activity, including criminal acts subject to federal regulation, such as mail fraud or wire fraud.
There are a number of different crimes that can be charged under the RICO Act and you can be charged whether you attempted a criminal act, carried it out or participated in a conspiracy to commit the crime. These are very serious charges that can have life long devastating consequences so it is important that you contact and experienced Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer at once. Examples of crimes that you can be charged with in connection with racketeering include:
- Sexual assault
- Possession, manufacture or distribution of child pornography
- Cyber stalking
- Drug trafficking
The federal government takes RICO prosecutions very seriously and the penalties for these types of crimes are steep. If convicted on federal RICO charges, you can face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison for each offense as well as a fine of up to $25,000. If the crimes you were convicted of resulted in financial damages, your victims can also pursue a civil lawsuit against you to recover any losses. The court may also require you to pay restitution to your victims and forfeit any profits or gains you may have acquired as a result of the criminal enterprise.
RICO Violation Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago
The RICO Act is a complex piece of legislation and it’s vital that you have an experienced and knowledgeable racketeering defense attorney on your side if you’re charged with a RICO crime. We specialize in representing defendants in the state of Illinois and throughout the U.S. who’ve been charged with racketeering and related offenses.
Racketeering cases are typically very time-consuming and complicated but this does not deter prosecutors from aggressively seeking convictions for RICO crimes. If you’re facing a RICO conviction, you need a criminal defense attorney who will be equally aggressive in defending your rights.
Chicago criminal lawyer Michael Schmiege understands how important your future and your freedom are. Call (312) 906-7800 today to find out how he can help you to fight a federal racketeering charge.