You may have always conducted your business within the confines of the law. However, sometimes the appeal of easy money can compel otherwise upstanding citizens to engage in questionable business dealings. You may suddenly find yourself accused of participating in a financial scheme and are now facing racketeering charges.
Racketeering charges can be difficult to comprehend. These charges can be filed for any number of alleged crimes. It’s important to take these charges seriously. You need to understand what you’re up against.
What qualifies as racketeering?
Racketeering is an umbrella term that refers to any type of criminal activity designed to bring its participants financial gain. It may include anything from drug trafficking to gambling to bribery.
Racketeering charges are typically federal criminal charges. The U.S. Department of Justice will look at five criteria when deciding whether to file racketeering charges. You may face racketeering charges if the feds believe:
- A racket existed
- The criminal behavior is tied to interstate commerce
- You were associated with or worked for the racket
- You demonstrated a pattern of racketeering
- You participated in two or more acts of racketeering
These criteria are contained in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO).
The potential consequences are serious
RICO also outlines the possible penalties for a racketeering conviction. Each racketeering count carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. Each count also carries the possibility of a fine of up to $25,000. You will also have to give up any gains or income related to the underlying charges.
Protecting your rights
The consequences of a conviction are serious. Some individuals have effectively received life sentences from RICO charges. You need to protect and defend your rights. You should work closely with a skilled legal professional to determine the best path forward. The law firm of Kammen & Moudy can provide you with the experienced legal support you require in your time of need.