What is racketeering?
Florida is one of the leading states for racketeering offenses like medical fraud, identity theft, and human trafficking. Racketeering can be either a civil or criminal offense that can lead to either a felony or a misdemeanor. On its own is a serious offense but when you become a serial offender then you violate RICO. RICO stands for The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. To charge an individual for a RICO violation, they would have to commit at least two of the 35 racketeering offenses within a ten-year period. Examples of racketeering can include medical fraud, dogfighting, arson, counterfeiting, kidnapping, bribery, and murder.
If convicted for racketeering, then you can face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and pay fines of up to $25,000. In 2018 the government has reported over 1,400 civil cases of racketeering lawsuits. In those 1,400, Florida within the top ten states with filings. They had an estimate of more than 40 civil lawsuits under RICO last year. The best way to avoid a prison sentence or get a shorten sentence is to hire a Racketeering defense attorney. You want to make sure you hire an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours.
Violation of RICO act
According to the RICO act, if you commit two or more acts of racketeering within ten years then you have violated the RICO act. The maximum penalty you can face if convicted is a fine of up to $25,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The best way to get your penalties reduced would be for you to hire an attorney to represent you. You want your attorney to help prove to the court that you did not commit the crime or helped assist the crime. They can also help you receive a plea deal to receive any information that can help the investigation in exchange for a lesser charge. When hiring a lawyer to represent you in a RICO case you want to make sure they have experience in that field.
What are the racketeering defenses that you should know?
An experienced RICO defense attorney would be one of your best tools for your case. If there is evidence to show you did, in fact, commit the crime, then they can disprove RICO by showing how you weren’t the main perpetrator and were a pawn in the whole act.
What are the top Racketeering activities for Rico purposes in Florida?
Racketeering is a broad offense and can cover multiple offenses like human trafficking, fraud, and drug-related crimes. Florida has seen a rise in drug-related crimes, fraud, and gun-related incidents. Orlando is the ranked number three for human trafficking calls. Florida has a high rate of fraud and is in the top 5 of states with identity fraud cases. In 2016, Florida ranked number two in medical fraud cases with $165.5 million in recoveries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to be charged with racketeering?
Racketeering is a broad definition that means crimes that involve a lot of organization to commit like fraud, extortion, human trafficking, and murder. According to Title 18 U.S. Code § 1961 “(1) “racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;” If an individual commits two or more of these crimes within a ten year period then they have violated the RICO act and can face up to 20 years in prison.
What are the 35 crimes of racketeering?
Examples of racketeering can include:
- Murder or Murder-for-hire
- Dealing in obscene matter
- Dealing in a controlled substance
- Obstruction of justice
- Reselling of stolen goods
- Loan sharking
- Trafficking of drugs, weapons or people
- Tax evasion
- Chop Shops (dissembling stolen cars to sell for parts)
- Dogfighting, bullfighting, cockfighting
What are the elements of Rico claim?
If someone commits a minimum of two out of the 35 racketeering offenses within a ten-year period, then they can be charged with violating RICO. RICO was created to punish those who actively participate in organized crimes. Violations can include murder, embezzlement, human trafficking and acts of terrorism.
How to prove a RICO case?
The biggest element of a RICO violation is if two or more crimes are committed within a ten-year period. If evidence shows that the defendant has committed or participated in organized crimes, then they can be charged with a RICO violation. There needs to be evidence of a criminal activity being committed and how they fall under racketeering.
How to use and defend against the RICO Act in Florida?
To be charged with a RICO violation, an individual must be a serial racketeering offender. If the court can prove that the individual has violated RICO then the individual can face severe penalties. Even if you are found guilty, the best defense would be to prove that you weren’t the sole perpetrator. By providing evidence to show you either aided in the act or maybe were coerced into committing the crime, then the penalties might be less severe compared to the main offender.
Florida has been labeled as one of the leading states for certain racketeering offenses. We are the top offenders for racketeering offenses like human trafficking, medical fraud, and identity theft. Racketeering is a serious offense and can be civil and criminal. A serial offender can face felony charges and up to 20 years in prison because they violated RICO. The RICO act was created to penalize serial offenders. If you are suspected of violating RICO then the best thing to do would be to hire a Racketeering defense attorney.
At the Smith & Eulo Law Firm, we have criminal and civil defense lawyers to represent you in your case. Call us today for a free consultation at at 407-930-8912. We strive to always be available for you.