Manassas RICO Defense Attorneys
What is a RICO Charge?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO, was introduced in 1970 as a means to combat organized crime. In the decades since, RICO has been used at both the state and federal level to prosecute individuals and organizations who engage in racketeering. Virginia has a state-level version of RICO on the books that allows the Commonwealth to enhance charges for those suspected of participating in a criminal enterprise.
In order to be charged with a RICO-related offense, the defendant must have participated in a racketeering activity as part of a broader criminal enterprise - the term “racketeering” encompasses a number of organized crimes, including:
- Drug Trafficking
- Loan Sharking
- Money Laundering
- Unlawful Gambling
Being charged under state or federal RICO statutes is a serious matter that can result in harsh penalties, including substantial fines and up to 40 years in prison. Our Manassas RICO defense lawyers at Dischley Law, PLLC have over 30 years of legal experience and give you the guidance that you need in both state and federal courts.
Understanding Racketeering Charges
A single criminal racketeering offense does not necessarily trigger a RICO investigation or any associated charges. There must be a consistent pattern of racketeering offenses conducted at the behest of a criminal enterprise. A “pattern” is generally defined as any two relevant crimes occurring within the same 10-year window.
Any sort of organized effort to commit unlawful acts can be labeled a “criminal enterprise.” This might include individuals, groups of individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, or other legal entities.
You may learn you are the subject of a RICO investigation before facing any formal charges. Depending on the nature of the offenses and the entities involved, law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels will often work in tandem with any relevant financial institutions to determine if a series of suspected crimes can be charged under state or federal RICO laws.
If you are contacted by government agents in connection with a RICO investigation, you should immediately consider retaining qualified legal representation. Our team can represent you in all communications with investigators, work to limit your criminal exposure, and proactively prepare for any anticipated charges.
Penalties for RICO Offenses in Virginia
Federal RICO charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years as well as hefty fines. Convicted offenders will also need to turn over any assets that were illegally obtained in connection with the criminal enterprise. RICO penalties also stack, meaning that they are typically levied in addition to any sentencing that results from the underlying associated crimes.
Virginia’s RICO sentencing can be in some cases even harsher than federal maximums. A conviction in a Virginia felony RICO case will result in a minimum of 5 years in prison with up to 40 years of jail time. Like in federal cases, any assets or financial resources associated with the criminal enterprises must also be forfeited.
Our Manassas RICO defense attorneys at Dischley Law, PLLC can provide the support that you need when facing charges in Virginia or at the federal level. We will review every facet of your case and determine what strategies are likely to produce the most advantageous outcome.
If you have been charged with a RICO-related offense, do not wait to schedule a free initial consultation with our team. Call (703) 215-9337 or contact us online to start exploring your legal options.
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