A quick Google search will bring up many stories in the news of people being arrested and charged with racketeering. Racketeering is, by its most basic definition, running an organized illegal business or embezzling money through a legitimate company. The Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act was passed in 1978 to fight this type of organized crime. The consequences California residents could face if convicted on RICO charges can be severe.
What are some examples of racketeering? For a long time, some of the most common forms of racketeering have been drug trafficking, counterfeiting and illegal weapons trafficking. Eventually, those behind these schemes used their resources to steal from other companies or hide behind legitimate organizations in order to carry out illicit activities.
When the RICO Act first passed, prosecuting attorneys had to prove that an accused individual personally committed illegal activity. That is no longer the case. Now, prosecuting attorney only need to confirm that the accused owns or plays a part in managing a racketeering business, and that the company has performed one or more activities of an unlawful nature.
RICO charges are not anything to treat lightly. The state of California and the federal government certainly will not. Those accused of racketeering can help themselves by seeking out legal counsel with experience fighting RICO charges. A criminal defense attorney will have the ability to question evidence that may bring information to light that may help one’s situation. There are never any guarantees that a positive outcome will be reached in this type of case, but with the right defense strategy, the best result possible may be achieved.