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.
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.