When dealing with RICO charges, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is a must. If convicted, you can be heavily fined and spend years in jail. To properly argue your case your criminal defense attorney will need extensive knowledge of the Georgia RICO act and the experience that comes with years of trying these cases. Our criminal defense lawyers have the skills you need, and they are standing by to discuss the details of your case.What is a RICO Charge?
Georgia created its own statutory provision that is similar to the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Under this statute, a person or group using a pattern and practice of racketeering activities – running criminal “rackets” such as gambling or money laundering - to acquire, maintain, or control the practices of any business or property is in violation of the act. To put it simply, if you use illegal activities to fund an ongoing criminal enterprise then you can be brought up on RICO charges.Isn’t RICO Just a Tool to Take Down Organized Crime?
In the past, the RICO act was intended simply to prosecute leaders and organizers of criminal rackets who otherwise could not be prosecuted due to a lack of evidence of criminal activity on their end. RICO laws made it possible for law enforcement to prosecute these criminal ringleaders for racketeering simply by proving that they owned the criminal racket in question. However, over the years, the scope of the RICO act has expanded to cover much more than organized crime.
The broad scope of Georgia's RICO laws allows them to be applied to various types of criminal activity. In Georgia, RICO laws are frequently used to prosecute a legal business for engaging in illegal activities. They also allow any individual who commits two or more illegal activities to fund a criminal organization within a two-year span to be charged with a RICO violation.What are Predicate Acts?
Under the Georgia laws, there are acts that are required to demonstrate a pattern of racketeering activities. These are called “predicate acts”. In addition to the ones covered under federal law, Georgia law also recognizes the following predicate acts:
- Any actions involving making a profit from illegal immigration
- Acts of terrorism
- Drug trafficking
- Violation of the Georgia laws covering gambling, bribery, robbery, dealing in a controlled substance, extortion, arson, kidnapping, or murder
- Actions that include embezzlement, counterfeiting, gambling, money-laundering, bribery, theft, or fraud.
- Witness tampering
Under Georgia law, racketeering is considered a felony punishable by a minimum of five years and a maximum of twenty years in prison. If you are found guilty of a RICO violation, you will find yourself paying a very steep fine - up to $25,000.00 on each count. The judge may also require you to pay civil remedies and give up any assets or property you might have gained as a result of the RICO violation.
Depending on the circumstances of your RICO violation, you may be also be prohibited from engaging in the same type of industry as the business you were convicted for. Your alleged victims can also file actions against you for up to three times the amount of damages they sustained. They may also be allowed to seek punitive damages where appropriate.Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
RICO cases are complex and tend to involve multiple charges and types of evidence. If you have been charged with racketeering, you need the services of a skilled criminal defense lawyer to help you with your criminal case. To learn more about how the Don Turner Legal Team can help with your RICO case, contact our law office for a free consultation.