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Princeton: Phone: (609) 921-1755 | Perth Amboy (732) 324-7700

If you have been accused of racketeering, New Jersey criminal lawyers may be able to help you navigate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act as it applies to your case. RICO is a federal law that applies in states across the United States and allows federal officials to prosecute alleged racketeering activity that is part of any ongoing criminal enterprise.

Common Examples of Racketeering

The most common activities identified as racketeering include illegal gambling, kidnapping, bribery, murder and money laundering. Other activities may include drug trafficking, human trafficking, counterfeiting and embezzlement. While these are common racketeering practices, it is important to remember that not all racketeering offenses fall into these categories. It is also important to remember that, in order to sustain a conviction under RICO, the government must first prove that you engaged in racketeering behavior at least twice. Racketeering is not a one-time offense, so the minimum two offenses must each meet the criteria for racketeering under RICO guidelines.

Racketeering Elements

RICO sets a very broad definition for racketeering activity that encompasses many different types of offenses. From fraud to violent crimes, RICO lists 27 federal offenses and eight state-defined crime under the racketeering umbrella. Many states have statutes that are nearly identical to RICO, which allow police to pursue organized criminal activity, so it is important to consult with New Jersey criminal lawyers about which guidelines apply in your area. The elements of a racketeering charge are geared towards the generation of a financial profit. From murder to illegal gambling, the racketeering activity must have been performed with the intent of earning a profit in a criminal way. Any effort to conceal the criminal activity is in and of itself a criminal offense in many cases. For this reason, public corruption offenses such as tax evasion and bribery are considered racketeering offenses.

RICO Penalties

While RICO was originally intended to help prosecutors fight against organized crime, it has taken on a broader definition. The original RICO conviction occurred in 1980 against an alleged mafia boss, and the law has been used to prosecute many different cases of organized crime since then. The federal government has also adapted RICO to be used in many cases that did not in any way involve the standard definition of organized crime. A Wall Street financier was penalized under RICO for securities fraud and insider trading in 1989. One count of racketeering under RICO is punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 as well a a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Prosecutors may also require you to forfeit money or property that was allegedly obtained obtained through illegal means. Your New Jersey criminal lawyers may be able to advise you on the best way to avoid serving jail time.

Contact New Jersey Criminal Lawyers

Contact Anderl & Oakley, P.C. today at (609) 921-1755 to work with our New Jersey criminal lawyers who are experienced with RICO.