Miami RICO Defense Attorneys
Federal racketeering lawyers who will fight for your freedom
Racketeering is a federal offense that is often mentioned in conjunction with organized crime investigations. Federal racketeering cases are prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and those who find themselves facing charges should immediately retain a Miami racketeering defense lawyer.
The term “racketeering” describes the running of an illegal business, which is also referred to as running a “racket.” Traditional rackets have involved overtly illegal activities including:
- sex trafficking
- alcohol (during the Prohibition era)
- illegal weapons
The nature of racketeering eventually evolved to include practices that were less obviously illegal. Crime ring leaders have used labor unions to unlawfully take money from worker pensions. Some people who are members of crime rings are even able to work in corporate settings and commit white collar crimes while on the job as they are promoted to higher positions by their employer. Rackets cause harm to the Miami companies and to the workers who depend on unions and companies to manage their benefit accounts.
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.
Federal RICO Act
Congress passed the RICO Act in the 1970s as a means of prosecuting infamous mafia groups and their leaders. Prior to passing the act, the federal government could only prosecute one person at a time. Because the nature of the mob and other criminal organizations is such that a different person commits each crime, previous limitations of the law made it more difficult for the federal government to take down an entire criminal organization. The federal RICO statute made this process much more efficient by allowing the federal government take down all members and even associates of a criminal organization for a much wider variety of crimes. Even more devastating to crime groups was that RICO convictions were accompanied by decades-long sentences. Although most people in Miami who are familiar with racketeering automatically think of the mob, other groups have been prosecuted under the RICO statute and convicted of engaging in racketeering since the 1970s.
Prosecution under the statute
The federal RICO law identifies 35 offenses, including mail and wire fraud, that constitute racketeering activity. In order to be convicted, the prosecution must establish the defendant has engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity that is connected to a criminal enterprise. The defendant is required to have committed at least two of the 35 listed crimes, also known as predicate offenses, over the course of 10 years through the criminal enterprise. Not only can an enterprise be a crime ring, cartel, or gang, but corporations, political parties and companies may also qualify as enterprises for the sake of obtaining a federal RICO conviction.
Fallout of a federal racketeering conviction
In addition to imposing steep fines and a maximum 20 year prison sentence, people who are convicted of racketeering also face devastating financial consequences. Prosecutors are permitted to attach the defendant’s material assets to the case to prevent the assets from being moved or transferred prior to judgment. Apart from criminal sentencing, the RICO law also has a civil component. Anyone who has been injured by racketeering may bring a civil lawsuit against the racketeer who cased their injury. If the plaintiff prevails, he or she is eligible to receive treble damages or triple the amount of the actual damages the plaintiff would have originally received. Similar to the requirements of a criminal RICO case, plaintiffs in civil racketeering cases must establish that the defendant engaged in an activity that is prohibited under the federal statute, committed two or more crimes in a related pattern; the crimes must have been conducted over at least a year, and the claim must be filed within a four-year deadline.
Are you caught in the middle of a scam?
RICO cases often involve large groups with many members and outside associates; therefore, the potential for mistaken accusations is great. People who are not members of an enterprise and have not not participated a criminal pattern may also find themselves accused of racketeering and facing a potential 20 year sentence in federal prison. In other cases, people who innocently work for companies and organizations without knowing of the group’s involvement in racketeering may also be investigated by the federal government. In any of these situations, it is best to call a Miami racketeering defense lawyer prior to communicating with law enforcement. A Miami racketeering defense lawyer like David Joffe can help those who are under investigation protect their rights and potentially preserve their reputation in the midst of very serious criminal allegations. Having an attorney present during all conversations with investigators can help individuals and business representatives avoid making potentially incriminating or misleading statements that may further complicate the investigation and unnecessarily increase investigative scrutiny. No one should face law enforcement alone when being interviewed in relation to a federal crime.
Contact a Miami racketeering defense lawyer
People who need legal advice and representation in the Miami area are strongly advised to contact a trustworthy Miami racketeering attorney immediately. It is always better to call sooner than later; however, an attorney can provide solid legal advice, advocacy, and support at virtually any stage in the investigation and trial process. Contacting a Miami racketeering lawyer is a very simple, straightforward process. Upon calling, a member of the law firm staff will immediately conduct a case evaluation to determine the unique facts of the case. Next, an attorney will follow up to provide insight on the case from a trained, experienced legal perspective and to present potential next steps in handling the case.