If you or a close relative is cited with RICO violations in Connecticut, you may not know the next step to take to prove your innocence. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) was passed in 1970 by the United States Congress to fight organized crime. This action was taken to bring racketeers to justice. Since then, it’s been used to prosecute several offenses, including money laundering, copyright infringement and securities fraud. Learning more about RICO and the crimes involved can provide more information on combating these charges.
Understanding RICO violations
Racketeering charges are typically used to prosecute crime rings and criminal operations. The RICO Act applies to 35 criminal offenses. Many of these are associated with organized crime, such as murder for hire, money laundering, illegal gambling and counterfeiting. Other crimes applied to RICO include the following:
- Copyright infringement
- Witness tampering
- Drug trafficking
Penalties for violating RICO
If you or a loved one is found guilty of committing RICO violations, it can be punishable by a fine or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 20 years, or both. Violations of RICO also allow the Attorney General to seize assets, such as homes and businesses. Please note that this penalty is only for the violation of RICO. Underlying crimes, such as drug trafficking, will have separate charges, which can lead to several years in prison.
RICO has been applied to more than organized crime
While the original purpose of passing the RICO Act was to combat organized crime, its broad wording means that it could be used to prosecute a wide range of offenses. RICO defendants have included doctors, politicians, financial institutions and law enforcement personnel. If you’re accused of violating RICO, knowing how to handle your defense in this situation is imperative.
When you or a family member is facing imprisonment due to violating RICO, it’s essential to start preparing your defense as early as possible. With the threat of being found guilty for underlying violations, total sentencing could equal life in prison.