RICO Defense Lawyer in New York
In the State of New York, there have already been a lot of prosecutions regarding racketeering. You would need to contact our RICO Defense Lawyer in New York to effectively help you with a criminal defense in NYC.
If you have heard of the word RICO, there are a lot of things that you should know about it. In this article, let us discuss and put in place the provisions of racketeering and how it is provided for in statute.
The RICO Law
RICO is known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. The law was passed only in the 1970's. Since it was passed, the RICO law was designed to combat organized crime in the United States.
The law allows for the prosecution of the criminal and civil penalties. Since racketeering is often connected to an ongoing criminal enterprise, they are performed usually with a lot of other predicate crimes.
The activities include any of the following:
- illegal gambling;
- money laundering;
- drug trafficking;
- slavery; and
- a host of other unsavory business practices.
Proof of Elements
For a conviction under RICO to be valid, the government prosecution must prove that the defendant is engaged in two or more of the instances stated above.
For example, if A is being prosecuted for crimes under violation of the RICO act, they must prove all of the elements of at least two of the predicate crimes. The law has long been used to prosecute gangs engaged in many criminal activities so the prosecution must prove the existence of the two crimes.
The partner predicate crimes are necessary for the proper conviction of this crime.
There are different definitions required under the RICO Act. Let us define the different important terms that fall under the RICO Law. The following are the important definitions under Section 1961, to wit:
The term racketeering activity have different meanings, such as:
It refers to any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter;
It also involves dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical, as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act.
It also refers to any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code:
- Section 201 (relating to bribery);
- section 224 (relating to sports bribery);
- sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting);
- section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious;
- section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds);
- sections 891894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions);
- section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents);
- section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices);
- section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information);
- section 1341 (relating to mail fraud);
- section 1343 (relating to wire fraud;
- section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud);
- section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlawfully);
- section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers);
- section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers);
- sections 1461 to 1465 (relating to obscene matter);
- section 1503 (relating to obstruction of justice);
- section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations);
- section 1511 (relating to the obstruction of State or local law enforcement);
- section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant),
- section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant);
- section 1542 (relating to false statement in application and use of passport);
- section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passport);
- section 1544 (relating to misuse of passport);
- section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents);
- sections 1581 to 1592 (relating to peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons);
- section 1951 (relating to interference with commerce, robbery, or extortion);
- section 1952 (relating to racketeering);
- section 1953 (relating to interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia);
- section 1954 (relating to unlawful welfare fund payments);
- section 1955 (relating to the prohibition of illegal gambling businesses);
- section 1956 (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments);
- section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity);
- section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire);
- section 1960 (relating to illegal money transmitters);
- sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, and 2260 (relating to sexual exploitation of children);
- sections 2312 and 2313 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles);
- sections 2314 and 2315 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen property);
- section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works);
- section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright);
- section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances);
- section 2320 (relating to trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks);
- section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts);
- sections 2341 to 2346 (relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes)
- sections 2421 (relating to white slave traffic);
- sections 175 to 178 (relating to biological weapons);
- sections 229 to 229F (relating to chemical weapons); and
- section 831 (relating to nuclear materials).
The act violations also refer to any act which is indictable under Title 29, United States Code, which include the following:
- Section 186 (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations); or
- section 501 (c) (relating to embezzlement from union funds).
They also involve any offense involving fraud connected with a case under the following:
- title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title);
- fraud in the sale of securities, or the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act); and
- acts punishable under any law of the United States.
The activities also involve any act which is indictable under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act.
It also involves any act which is indictable under the Immigration and Nationality Act such as:
- Those under section 274 (relating to bringing in and harboring certain aliens);
- Those under section 277 (relating to aiding or assisting certain aliens to enter the United States);
- Those under section 278 (relating to importation of aliens for immoral purpose) if the act indictable under such section of such Act was committed for the purpose of financial gain; or
- Any act that is indictable under any provision listed in section 2332b (g)(5)(B);
The next important term is the definition of the pattern of racketeering activity. The pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of racketeering activities.
The use of the term unlawful debt means a debt that includes any of the following:
- Those incurred or contracted in the gambling activity which was in violation of the law of the United States, a State or political subdivision thereof, or which is unenforceable under State or Federal law in whole or in part as to principal or interest because of the laws relating to usury; and
- Those which was incurred in connection with the business of gambling in violation of the law of the United States, a State or political subdivision thereof, or the business of lending money or a thing of value at a rate usurious under State or Federal law, where the usurious rate is at least twice the enforceable rate;
If you are under a racketeering investigation, you should know that it means any inquiry conducted by any racketeering investigator for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has been involved in any violation of this chapter or of any final order, judgment, or decree of any court of the United States, duly entered in any case or proceeding arising under this chapter.
Now that you know the important terms defined under the RICO Law, you should know the prohibited activities and they are provided below:
Under Section 1962, the following are considered as the prohibited activities in relation to racketeering:
- It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal within the meaning of section 2, title 18, United States Code, to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce. A purchase of securities on the open market for purposes of investment, and without the intention of controlling or participating in the control of the issuer, or of assisting another to do so, shall not be unlawful under this subsection if the securities of the issuer held by the purchaser, the members of his immediate family, and his or their accomplices in any pattern or racketeering activity or the collection of an unlawful debt after such purchase do not amount in the aggregate to one percent of the outstanding securities of any one class, and do not confer, either in law or in fact, the power to elect one or more directors of the issuer.
- It shall be unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in or control of any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.
- It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to conspire to violate any of the provisions of stated above.
The Criminal Penalties
Section 1963 of the Code requires that the individual who is convicted of any violation be punished with strict penalties. If you are being prosecuted for a crime under the RICO law, keep in mind that the following are the violations:
Whoever violates any provision of section 1962 shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, life imprisonment, or both, and shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of Statec the following:
- any interest the person has acquired or maintained in violation of section 1962;
- any interest in any enterprise which the person has established, operated, controlled, conducted, or participated in the conduct of, in violation of section 1962;
- any security of any enterprise which the person has established, operated, controlled, conducted, or participated in the conduct of, in violation of section 1962;
- any claim against any enterprise which the person has established, operated, controlled, conducted, or participated in the conduct of, in violation of section 1962; or
- any property or contractual rights of any kind affording a source of influence over; and
- any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds which the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from racketeering activity or unlawful debt collection in violation of section 1962.
The Court exercising jurisdiction over the person of the accused shall ensure that all of the properties mentioned above are forfeited in favor of the United States. The fine shall not be more than twice the amount of the proceeds from the criminal act.
What Are The Properties That Could Be Subject To Criminal Forfeiture?
The following are the properties that should be subject to criminal forfeiture in favor of the US government:
- real property, including things growing on, affixed to, and found in land; and
- tangible and intangible personal property, including rights, privileges, interests, claims, and securities.
- All right, title, and interest in property described in the first section vests in the United States upon the commission of the act giving rise to forfeiture under this section. Any such property that is subsequently transferred to a person other than the defendant may be the subject of a special verdict of forfeiture and thereafter shall be ordered forfeited to the United States, unless the transferee establishes in a hearing that he is a bona fide purchaser for value of such property who at the time of purchase was reasonably without cause to believe that the property was subject to forfeiture under this section.
Under Section 1964, there are also other civil penalties that could be imposed against the individual convicted of the crime, such as:
- ordering any person to divest himself of any interest, direct or indirect, in any enterprise;
- imposing reasonable restrictions on the future activities or investments of any person, including, but not limited to, prohibiting any person from engaging in the same type of endeavor as the enterprise engaged in, the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or
- ordering dissolution or reorganization of any enterprise, making due provision for the rights of innocent persons.
Where Are RICO cases often filed?
Under Section 1965, the following are the places where the RICO cases are often filed sub as:
- Any district court of the United States for any district in which such person resides, is found, has an agent, or transacts his affairs.
- In any district court of the United States in which it is shown that the ends of justice require that other parties residing in any other district be brought before the court, the court may cause such parties to be summoned, and process for that purpose may be served in any judicial district of the United States by the marshal thereof.
What If You Are Not Being Prosecuted In A Criminal Proceeding But You Are Being AskedTO Participate In A Civil Investigation?
Under Section 1968, the provision on civil investigative demand is provided. It requires that “whenever the Attorney General has reason to believe that any person or enterprise may be in possession, custody, or control of any documentary materials relevant to a racketeering investigation, he may, prior to the institution of a civil or criminal proceeding thereon, issue in writing, and cause to be served upon such person, a civil investigative demand requiring such person to produce such material for examination.”
The demand requires that the person produce the materials required for examination including the following;
- He shall state the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged racketeering violation which is under investigation and the provision of law applicable thereto;
- He shall describe the class or classes of documentary material produced thereunder with such definiteness and certainty as to permit such material to be fairly identified;
- He shall state that the demand is returnable forthwith or prescribe a return date which will provide a reasonable period of time within which the material so demanded may be assembled and made available for inspection and copying or reproduction; and
- He shall identify the custodian to whom such material shall be made available.
Get The Help You Need
At the end of the day, if you are being prosecuted for a RICO case in New York, it is important that you get all of the help that you need. Most of the cases made for violation of the RICO Act is tight and sealed. Federal investigators take a lot of time and effort to make sure that they have a tight case. Being prosecuted for a crime is one thing but being convicted is another. Make sure that you have all of the important facts and the defenses that you could possibly need.
A good RICO defense lawyer should be able to help you develop the relevant criminal defense strategy from the time that you hire him. A plea bargaining deal should always be on the table. Technicality should be handled with great caution as that can also take care of your case. You should also be able to throw out evidence if you have the right lawyer.
Whatever you need, whatever kind of defense is necessary, you should get a lawyer who can help you.
Contact Us Today
If you need help urgently, we are always here to assist you. You visit our office at 464 Ocean parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11218 or call our telephone at: (+1) 347-763-93-96.