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RICO – What is it, exactly?

RICO is short for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act  which is a law that was passed in 1970 to fight organized crime. In a nutshell, RICO allows the federal government to charge many people for broad activities that it determines is part of an “ongoing criminal enterprise.”  Title 18, Section 1961 of the United States Code sets forth a long list of racketeering activities.  These underlying federal and state crimes (that are independent crimes in and of themselves) include crimes such as  homicide, kidnapping, extortion, witness tampering, securities fraud, healthcare fraud, mail and wire fraud, gambling, bribery, money laundering, counterfeiting, embezzlement, and drug trafficking, to name a few.  To convict a defendant under RICO, the government must prove that the defendant engaged in two or more instances of racketeering activities (such as two of the activities set forth above) and that the defendant participated in a criminal enterprise.   Issues may involve what is an “enterprise” and what constitutes “racketeering activity.”

If you are approached by member(s) of a government law enforcement agency such as the FBI, or are charged with RICO violations, you need a skilled and experienced New Jersey Attorney to defend against the complexities of this statute.  Lorraine Gauli-Rufo is a Montclair Federal RICO, criminal defense attorney with experience in defending clients charged with RICO matters.   Contact Lorraine Gauli-Rufo when first contacted by law enforcement or charged in a Federal RICO matter.

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