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RICO or Racketeering

Scranton, Pa. racketeering defense attorneys handling extortion, money laundering, obstruction of justice and allegations of organized crime

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) was created in 1970 in an effort to eliminate organized crime. RICO charges often involve claims of systematic bribery, extortion, blackmail and other forms of financial intimidation.

RICO cases generally are complex and time consuming. Often, the government takes years to compile evidence of RICO Act violations. Sorting through that information can be difficult. That's why you need to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you have been charged with violating the RICO Act or if you believe you are the target of a RICO investigation.

At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our experienced Scranton RICO defense attorneys have extensive knowledge about a wide range of white collar cases. Our law firm even includes a former two-term District Attorney for Lackawanna County. We know the law and know how to get results.

What is racketeering?

Racketeering refers to illegal businesses, or "rackets," run by organized groups. Often, racketeering charges involve allegations that a particular organization persuades someone through violence or intimidation to pay the organization money. Allegations of extortion of protection money represent the most common type of racketeering charge.

Such charges might seem straightforward. However, prosecutors must provide evidence of systematic criminal activity to pursue legal action against an organization accused of racketeering.

What are RICO charges?

Many people charged with RICO Act violations did not personally commit a specific crime (murder, drug dealing, etc.). Rather, the government alleges in many cases that the person or organization charged with RICO Act violations gave instructions to other people to directly perform such criminal activity.

Some of the most common RICO charges or allegations often involve individuals or organizations accused of:

  • Systematically extorting money from people through threats or intimidation
  • Overseeing criminal activity, including:
    • Prostitution
    • Drug trafficking
    • Sale of illegal weapons
    • Illegal gambling
    • Counterfeiting
    • Money laundering

What are the penalties for RICO or racketeering convictions in Pennsylvania?

The penalties for RICO violations vary. But in most cases, if you are convicted of violating the RICO Act, you will likely be sentenced to many years in jail or even life in prison. Significant fines totaling thousands of dollars are also common.

In addition, the government may seize any assets (your home, car, business, etc.) which the government determines were obtained through illegal means or purchased with the profits of such illegal activity.

Another consequence of a RICO Act conviction could be the loss of your professional license. After you are released from jail, you may no longer be able to work in your chosen profession due to your criminal conviction.

"How can a white collar defense lawyer help me with my racketeering case?"

Proving that an individual or organization violated the RICO Act can be complicated. The same applies to building a strong legal defense against such serious charges. Without an aggressive legal advocate in your corner, you could be sentenced to significant jail time.

When so much is at stake, it's crucial to have an experienced attorney with resources to go toe-to-toe with the government. If you are facing RICO charges and need help, contact us now: Call (570) 348-0776. Discover what Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano can do for you.