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Why You Need a Lawyer If You Are Facing Prosecution Under the RICO Act

Why You Need a Lawyer If You Are Facing Prosecution Under the RICO Act

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt (RICO) Act is a federal law that was enacted in the 1970s with the specific intent of prosecuting individuals involved in organized crime groups who order or mastermind, rather than actually commit, a crime. In the federal judicial system, the RICO Act can be found under Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 96. Equivalents of the RICO Act can be found in the codes or statutes of just about any state in the Union.

Under the RICO Act, prosecutors would have to first identify an individual’s allegiance to a criminal enterprise and then find grounds to allege the commission of two offenses from a list of 35 crimes. The predicate offenses under the RICO Act are numerous, and they include crimes as diverse as:

  • Counterfeiting
  • Drug trafficking
  • Gambling
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Robbery
  • Securities
  • Theft
  • Many others

The Ohio Revised Code contains provisions for offenses that may fall under RICO, such as

  • Conspiracy
  • Corrupt activity
  • Money laundering
  • Participating in a criminal gang

The RICO Act affords prosecutors a great deal of flexibility in charging individuals and building cases against them. In popular culture, the RICO Act is mostly associated with Mafia groups, but in legal practice, it can be invoked in alleged fraud schemes, white collar crime cases and even civil lawsuits. Being charged of a RICO Act violation is a serious offense. To adequately defend clients against overzealous RICO Act prosecution, defense attorneys formulate strategies to debunk overreaching claims and protect the rights to due process.


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