Tampa RICO & Enterprise Corruption Lawyer
The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was initially passed to target organized crime, like the Mafia. Over the decades, however, RICO prosecutions have been brought against all sorts of individuals and groups for a variety of criminal activity. In particular, corporations and other business entities have been targeted for certain white collar crimes, including fraud.
Florida has passed its own version of RICO, which closely mirrors the federal law. If you are facing RICO charges, please contact the Tampa RICO & enterprise corruption lawyers at O’Mara Law Group today. These are difficult cases to defend, and the sooner we can get started, the better.
Unlawful Activity Under RICO
18 U.S.C. § 1962 criminalizes the following activities:
- Using any income derived from racketeering activity to invest in any enterprise engaged in interstate commerce.
- Acquiring an interest in, or maintaining control of, an interstate enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
- Participating in the affairs of an interstate entity through a pattern of racketeering.
- Conspiring to engage in racketeering activity.
This law covers a variety of conduct. For example, agreeing to work for a criminal enterprise can result in charges, as can committing as few as two racketeering acts in a decade. Because conspiracy is also criminalized, the criminal enterprise does not need to succeed—the conspiratorial agreement is enough.
What Is Racketeering Activity?
A different section of the federal law defines “racketeering activity” very broadly and covers conduct such as:
- Drug dealing
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Bank fraud
- Securities fraud
Florida’s law is very similar in the activity it criminalizes. However, Florida’s law can cover enterprises that operate entirely in Florida without crossing state lines.
A conviction under the federal statute carries stiff penalties for any conviction:
- Up to 20 years in federal prison or even life in prison, depending on the underlying criminal activity
- Up to $250,000 in fines
- Forfeiture of assets obtained through criminal activity
A conviction does not depend on someone being a “mastermind” or “ringleader” of a criminal enterprise. Instead, even someone marginally related to a criminal enterprise can be prosecuted. In our experience, however, prosecutors do enjoy bringing charges against CEOs, union bosses, and prominent professionals because doing so garners good press.
Why RICO is Complicated
RICO charges are difficult to defend because an attorney needs to be familiar with the underlying criminal activity which constitutes the racketeering activity. For example, RICO charges for five acts of mail fraud depend on proving the defendant committed mail fraud. If there is no underlying criminal activity, there is no RICO violation.
At O’Mara Law Group, our Tampa RICO & enterprise corruption lawyers have deep and broad experience in criminal law. With this background, we can attack the indictment by showing our clients did not engage in any racketeering activity. With very large enterprises, it is not always clear who committed criminal activity, so our attorneys might argue that authorities have identified the wrong person.
Call Our Tampa RICO & Enterprise Corruption Lawyers
Whether you are facing state or federal charges, you deserve experienced legal representation. Call O’Mara Law Group or send us an online message to schedule a time to meet.