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What is the punishment for violating the RICO Act?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | RICO Violations

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law that aims to crack down on racketeering syndicates. Racketeering involves alleged offenders who conspire or commit organized crimes to form a profitable enterprise.

RICO charges involve crimes such as kidnapping, murder, robbery, extortion and bribery. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, there must be proof that an offender committed an organized crime to collect unlawful debt or in a pattern of racketeering activity. The pattern of racketeering activity means that at least two related racketeering acts took place within 10 years. The said acts should also cause or pose a danger of continued criminal activity.

Criminal penalties

A violation of the RICO Act yields criminal penalties such as a fine, imprisonment of not more than 20 years or both. However, the maximum prison sentence becomes life imprisonment if the racketeering act in the RICO charge has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. For this to happen, there must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the racketeering act took place.

Forfeiture of property

Moreover, the law requires the forfeiture of all properties belonging to the offender as well as the assets involved in their RICO enterprise. Among the properties that the government can seize are:

  • Proceeds from the racketeering activity
  • Real property
  • Intangible and tangible personal property
  • Property interest
  • Proceeds from unlawful debt collections

In addition, the government can seize properties that the offender transferred to another person. But this can only happen if the transferee is unable to prove that they are a genuine purchaser.

Navigating a RICO charge

Facing a RICO charge is a tough ordeal because you are dealing with a serious accusation. Seeking legal counsel may help you fortify your defense by challenging the evidence and clarifying your links to a RICO enterprise.