What Can I Do if I Have Been Charged with Federal Racketeering in Texas?
During the time following the end of WWII through the early 1970s, the United States experienced a period of massive economic growth. Automation, full employment, and a developing transportation system all enabled significant financial gains across many sectors. However, along with the opportunity to make money came those looking to game the system, and organized crime spiked.
In response to this influx of organized crime, lawmakers in 1970 signed the Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act into law and it remains in place to this day. The consequences for federal racketeering charges are serious and defending against them requires a fearless criminal defense attorney with experience combatting state and federal criminal charges.
What is Racketeering?
Racketeering is the act of obtaining money through illegal business activities or extortion. Under the RICO Act, as well as the Texas Penal Code, it is illegal for someone to plan or commit certain crimes in collaboration with an enterprise. What counts as an enterprise, however, is subject to much speculation and frustration because the definition is so vague. While the RICO Act was originally meant to cover organized criminal organizations like the mafia or motorcycle gangs, even people who do not know each other have been found to be in violation of the RICO Act as the government tries to take down allegedly corrupt organizations.
Actions that are covered by the RICO Act include, but are not limited to:
- Robbery and Theft
- Human Trafficking
- Witness tampering
- Financial fraud
- Activities that disrupt interstate or foreign commerce
What Are the Penalties for Violating the RICO Act?
A conviction under the RICO Act carries harsh consequences, including lifetime imprisonment. Fines can be as much as $250,000 or twice as much as the money the person convicted earned from illegal activities. Furthermore, a RICO Act prosecution allows the government to freeze an organization’s assets before anyone is ever convicted or goes to trial. While this was intended to prevent criminal organizations from hiding assets that might be confiscated after a conviction, it allows an organization or individual simply accused of criminal activity to be severely financially hobbled and even ruined.
Call a Texas Federal Crimes Defense Attorney
Charges of federal or state racketeering can lead to serious consequences and need to be handled carefully. If you have been charged with racketeering or other fraudulent business practices, get representation right away from an aggressive Texas criminal defense lawyer with The Crowder Law Firm, P.C.. Our team challenges prosecutors and protects clients using every available resource. Call us now at 214-303-9600 to schedule your free consultation today.