Criminal offenses that fall under the category of racketeering carry heavy penalties in Georgia, including jail time and steep fines. If you are facing such charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. Contact Wallack Law in Atlanta today for aggressive defense against racketeering charges.
RICO stands for Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations. Racketeering refers to any illegal activities carried out on behalf of a criminal enterprise or used to advance the role of an organization. Illegal activities are crime rings or “rackets” involving anything from drugs, gambling, and money laundering to violent crimes such as kidnapping and murder. Federal racketeering laws were originally enacted to make it possible to prosecute leaders and organizers of mafia crime families by proving these individuals managed or owned organizations that performed criminal acts, rather than needing to show evidence that the individuals committed the crimes directly.
Georgia created its own statutory provisions similar to the federal RICO act. Under state law, a person or group that uses a pattern and practice of racketeering activities to acquire, maintain, or protect an interest in, or control the practices of, any business or property is in violation of the act.
Certain acts, known as predicate acts, are required under state law to demonstrate a pattern of racketeering activities. To be charged with a violation under RICO, there must be two different predicate acts that occurred within a period of 10 years and were committed in furtherance of the enterprise or organization. Among others, predicate acts in Georgia include:
RICO was originally intended to help the government prosecute organized crime. Today, however, prosecutors utilize RICO broadly to a wide variety of offenses such as:
Penalties for RICO violations can be severe. They can be criminal or civil and pursued under state or federal law. Criminal penalties may include 5 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 for each count, or three times the amount earned through unlawful activities. Penalties may also include loss of interest in the property or business acquired through activities that fall under RICO. Civil remedies are possible and punitive damages may be awarded in a civil case.
Do not face racketeering charges alone. Call Wallack Law’s Atlanta criminal defense attorneys today for knowledgeable and tenacious representation by an experienced criminal defense lawyer.