The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law that extends criminal penalties and civil actions against persons considered to be part of an ongoing criminal enterprise — a crime gang, mob organization, money laundering operation or drug cartel. A person can be charged with RICO if he or she belongs to an operation and has committed any two of a possible 27 federal crimes within a 10-year period, including:
- Money laundering or counterfeiting
- Tax fraud or tax evasion
- Mail fraud
- Drug trafficking
- Bribery, extortion
- Murder for hire
- Securities fraud
In some cases, an Attorney General threatens to add RICO charges in order to increase the potential penalties, hoping that will motivate someone to become a confidential informant so prosecutors can gather more evidence about a larger criminal operation.
As with any federal criminal charge, it's vitally important that you have experienced legal counsel and a sound and aggressive defense. Does the prosecutor have any evidence of a criminal operation or that you are part of it? Is there any evidence of a pattern of criminal activity — or is the charge simply being piled on top of other charges to add to a sentence?
Our Experienced Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights
At the law office of Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC, senior partner and Harrisburg RICO attorney Jeffrey Engle has extensive experience defending federal criminal cases, including cases involving RICO and drug crimes. He was a prosecutor for three years. He understands how prosecutors gather evidence to prove cases, and can identify deficits in the prosecution's case.
Likewise, Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini is an accomplished federal defense attorney who has the experience you need to fight back against RICO charges.
When someone is indicted by the grand jury under RICO, the U.S. Attorney or Attorney General can seize the personal or business property thought to be involved in the criminal activity. They could file an injunction to freeze assets or require the person they've charged to put up a performance bond. This can be extremely costly.
Contact Our Office
If you have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury or are facing criminal charges for a white collar crime, racketeering or some other organized crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Harrisburg law office of Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC.
Learn more about RICO charges on our Criminal Law Blog.