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The basics of the RICO Act

There are numerous criminal charges that individuals can be accused of and wind up facing which is why it is important for accused individuals to know their criminal defense rights and protections and be familiar with the different charges they might face. One category of crimes falls under the RICO Act which stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It targets racketeering activities.

Racketeering can occur in different contexts including when an organized group runs an illegal business, which is referred to as a racket, or when an organized crime ring employs a legitimate business or organization to embezzle funds. Common rackets might include prostitution or sex trafficking; drug trafficking; illegal weapons trafficking; or counterfeiting. More modern variations of racketeering may involve embezzling funds from companies and corporations.

Under RICO and state counterparts of the RICO Act, it is easier for authorities to target and prosecute organized crime. Accused individuals can be pursued if the accused individual owns are manages an organization and the organization is alleged to regularly engage in specific legal activities. Prior to RICO laws, accused individuals would have to be directly involved in wrongdoing rather than simply managing an organization allegedly involved in wrongdoing.

The penalties for RICO violations can be significant and severe and can result in incarceration, fines and other personal and professional consequences in addition to the possible loss of freedom. As is always the case, individuals accused of RICO crimes have criminal defense rights designed to protect them through the criminal justice system which accused individuals should understand how to employ when facing serious criminal accusations, charges and possible penalties.

Source: Criminal.findlaw.com, "Racketeering/RICO," Accessed March 21, 2018

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