RICO Charges

RICO Act Federal Defense Attorney

RICO was enacted in 1970 and signed into law by President Nixon. It basically is the Organized Crime Control Act aimed at stamping out criminal organization and in reality, in today's world, gang-type behavior. The federal government has used it over the years in order to stop those individuals who are using force, violence or threats of violence in order to run organizations that make illegal money in some way.

The United States Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The intent of the RICO act was to prosecute organized crime (specifically the Mafia), but now is used to go after individuals as well as business entities engaged in acts of racketeering (act of operating an illegal business or illegal services in order to make a profit).

If you are found guilty under the RICO act, you may face up to 20 years in prison and you must forfeit all properties and the interest in business gained as a result of the violation. However, if the RICO violation is based on a crime for which the maximum penalty is a life sentence, then a life sentence may also be imposed.

To be found guilty of violating the RICO statute, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were associated/employed by an existing enterprise that had an affect on interstate commerce, and that you were engaged in a pattern on racketeering activity (at least 2 acts within 10 years of each other).

Gang Activity and Rico Charges

The usual area that I see RICO being used at the federal level in today's society – at least over the course of the last twenty-five years of practicing federal criminal defense – has to do with gang activity across the nation.

What we've seen here in Los Angeles and other parts of the country is that these gangs have taken over communities with drug activity, extortion, gun activity and other violent crimes – murder, intimidating witnesses – and the federal government has basically come in, surveilled the gangs and within a short period of time they will literally try to arrest everyone in the gang at the same time and bring them to justice.

Basically, take them out of the community and try to put them in federal prison, many times for the rest of their lives depending on what type of activity they're involved in. 

Where I'm seeing this RICO violation being used is, they come in, they arrest all of the gang members, they charge them with RICO violations, they charge them with guns.

If there are murders involved, attempted murder – and basically they charge them with enough fire power, especially the higher-up gang members where if they don't work out some sort of a deal and cooperate with the government, then they're basically put in federal prison for the rest of their lives.

Prosecution of RICO Charges

Some of these drug laws when combined with weapon violations and RICO allegations can really carry some serious time – ten, twenty, thirty years in federal prison at 85%.  So, the feds have been very effective over the years in wiping out many of the gangs that have plagued communities.

So, if you're charged in an indictment and you're charged with a RICO violation, there's a whole list of people in your indictment, you better get a good attorney quick who has handled these types of cases before and can hopefully segregate you out from some of these other more dangerous individuals that the federal government is going to target and try to put away for a long time.

If you're at the top of the indictment and you're considered one of the major players in the federal RICO organization, then obviously you're going to want to defend yourself with the best federal criminal defense attorney you can.

Because the government will have the best prosecutors, the best FBI or federal agents to investigate the case and prosecute it and you're going to need a good defense attorney who is going to be able to challenge their evidence that they have against you. 

A lot of times they don't have the best evidence against some of the higher-ups because a lot of the higher-ups are not getting their hands dirty as it relates to some of the criminal activity related to a RICO violation.

Specializing in Racketeering Defense

Those charged with a racketeering-type offense will usually be charged at the federal level. So that's where that racketeering statute comes in and is used to capture individuals dealing with large quantities of drugs, money, and guns.

Typically, they will also try to throw a net over gang members.  That's a big thing in Los Angeles' Central District, where these gang members shoot and kill people.

They are also dealing drugs and moving guns, and what happens is the state government does not have the resources to prosecute and effectively deal with the problems associated with gang members’ activities, not only at the state level but at the federal level, meaning these entities are traveling from state to state and committing crimes.

So, this racketeering law is meant to capture these people, charge them with crimes related to these violent offenses where witnesses are killed, drugs are moved in and out of prisons – there's a whole host of things going on.

So, you want to get an attorney that has the experience, number one, knows how to defend these cases, knows how to win them if the government does not have the evidence against you, and if they do have the evidence against you, knows how to mitigate these racketeering cases.

Typically, the type of evidence the government will use in these cases is wiretap evidence, where they will get a search warrant to listen to one or multiple phones. So you might now even have your phone tapped, but you may talk to somebody who's got a wiretap on their phone, and now you're in the mix.

The government is listening to your conversation, especially when drugs are being moved; they like to pull people over who are the mules carrying these drugs, arrest them, and take the drugs away from them after they track on the wiretap that there's going to be drugs moved or delivered. Then they will typically just let the person go if they're not ready to arrest everybody. 

Because they arrest that person, they file a case against that person in court, then that person's attorney will be entitled to all of the discovery related to the case. 

The problem with that is then that person will get it, and they will tell the other people what's going on, and now the shop is closed up. They can't catch all the other individuals involved, especially the higher-ranking members of a particular conspiracy engaged in selling drugs, moving guns, and other criminal activities. So, if you or a loved one is charged with racketeering and related offenses, set a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you.

Why You Need An Experienced Federal Criminal Attorney

The RICO statute is a highly complex statute and if you are being charged under RICO, it is imperative that you hire a skilled defense attorney, At the Hedding Law Firm, we have the federal and criminal background that gives us unmatched credentials. A RICO violation can result in many years in federal prison, excessive fines, and many other negative consequences.

We will help you with all diligence and strive to get you the best results possible by using our aggressive defense techniques. With our unmatched credentials and a combined 75 years of experience, our Los Angeles Attorneys defend our clients against all types of crimes, federal or state, aggressively and efficiently. 

We have handled cases involving RICO charges and have gained the trust and satisfaction of our clients.

What I do is, I have you come in, we sit down and go over everything or I visit your loved one in custody in the federal lock-up and hopefully get some information before I actually go visit them and we sit down and go over everything.

Once we've gone over everything and we have a good feel for what type of evidence the government has and whether the RICO violations are really valid charges or whether they're inflated charges, then we set about putting together a strategy and a plan on how to defend you, your interests, your freedom and your reputation from these charges.

Obviously, I encourage all of my clients to be honest and give me a full account.  Of course, it's protected by the attorney-client privilege, but this way I can really give you an idea of what you're up against, what you can do to help me and what I'm going to do to help you if you're charged with federal RICO violations. Contact us to review your case.

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Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about Federal Criminal Defense issues in Los Angeles and Encino California. We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Hedding Law Firm
16000 Ventura Blvd, #1208
Encino, CA 91436