Cheronis & Parente LLC

Criminal Defense Blog


What is RICO?

If you get charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, you could face serious penalties. Originally enacted in 1970, the purpose of this act was to target criminal organizations.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, you could face charges for violating RICO if the prosecution can prove the existence of an enterprise and that this enterprise had an effect on interstate business. The prosecution must also prove you had involvement with the enterprise, and you engaged in at least two racketeering episodes.

Crimes covered under this act

Racketeering activity can involve many different types of crime. For example, you could face charges for racketeering for crimes related to bribery, extortion, gambling, kidnapping, money laundering, wire fraud, robbery, witness tampering, counterfeiting, homicide or embezzlement.

Ongoing criminal activity

If, for example, you commit a single criminal offense, this may not fall under the category of racketeering. This is because for a crime to be racketeering, it must have occurred because of the involvement of an enterprise, which can include a union group, corporation, association or even a single individual. Racketeering must also involve an ongoing pattern of criminal activity.

When an investigator contacts you about the potential of a RICO investigation or on the basis of a racketeering charge, you may not wish to talk to this party for fear of implicating yourself. Although you may have concerns about facing charges for racketeering crimes, you may need to participate with the investigation to avoid any additional liability for criminal activities.

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