Rico


Criminal Law Kissimmee

The original (federal) Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act was enacted in 1970 and is often cited as one of the greatest expansions of federal criminal law in the past fifty years. The RICO Act established the legal basis for the prosecution of an individual, or an organization, if it could be proven that they had conspired to engage in a “continuing criminal enterprise.” In the years following enactment of the RICO Act 35 states and territories, including Florida, passed their own versions of the law.

To win a conviction under the federal RICO statute the government must prove that the defendant(s) were active participants in an ongoing criminal conspiracy to violate any number of federal laws as demonstrated by the defendant(s) pattern of “racketeering activity” on at least two occasions within the previous ten years. The crimes covered by the RICO Act include

  • bribery of a state or federal official
  • drug trafficking
  • securities fraud
  • dealing in obscene materials
  • terrorism
  • violation of state laws regarding any number of crimes such as gambling, murder, kidnapping, fraud, and extortion

A conviction under the RICO Act can result severe penalties including up to 20 years in federal prison (or life in some cases), a fine of up to $250,000, and the forfeiture of all assets and properties acquired with the proceeds of the criminal conspiracy.

Another provision of the RICO Act allows anyone who believes that they were the victims of a criminal enterprise to file a civil lawsuit to recover both actual and punitive damages from the defendants. Any awards granted to the plaintiff(s) in such civil actions are assessed in addition to any forfeitures of assets or property resulting from a criminal action.

Florida RICO Law

Florida’s RICO laws mirror the federal statutes with the exceptions regarding interstate commerce. However, a recent amendment to the Florida statutes allows any investigative agency such as a police department or the state Bureau of Investigation to file a civil action seeking the seizure and eventual forfeiture of any assets or property that may have been acquired by a criminal enterprise. Furthermore, the issuing of a civil subpoena is confidential for a period of 120 days and anyone receiving such a subpoena may not disclose its existence to anyone other than their legal counsel. The potential penalties if convicted under the Florida are also essentially the same as under the original federal RICO Act.

Criminal defense attorney Kissimmee Florida

Criminal or civil actions under the federal or state laws is a very serious matter and could possibly lead to a loss of both property and money before the case is heard in court. In the Kissimmee / Osceola County area the attorneys of Perez LaSure Law are experienced in both the criminal and civil components of RICO actions. Since these legal actions are always complex and involve the testimony of numerous witnesses and analysis of financial records, those involved in RICO proceedings in the central Florida area should retain the services of a criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity.