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Racketeering occurs when an organized group runs an illegal businesses, also known as a “racket." The crime is also committed when an organized crime ring uses legitimate organizations to commit other crimes like embezzling funds. Racketeering can have serious impact on local business and institutions in Florida. Both the federal and state government prosecute businesses, organizations and individuals who have committed these types of crimes.
Racketeering and RICO Act violations are often complex cases, and require an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you are being accused of racketeering, the criminal defense lawyers at Salnick & Fuchs, P.A. can help.
In the past, rackets that were prosecuted were in industries that were clearly illegal, such as prostitution or drug trafficking. These illegal businesses organized large groups of people to make illegal products available to the public in a way to prohibited authorities from making the arrests. Over time, organized crime entered other kinds of businesses.
Now rackets can include the infiltration of labor unions and corporations where other white collar crimes can be committed.
Congress enacted the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, in 1978 to fight organized crime. In order to convict someone under RICO or a state equivalent, it’s not necessary to prove the defendant personally committed an illegal act. Rather, prosecutors must prove:
The defendant owns or manages an organization;
The defendant's organization regularly commits one or more specific illegal act.
Although RICO was created to prosecute crime rings, it has been used in a variety of other situations. For example, RICO charges can be brought against legitimate groups for illegal acts, such as a pro-life organization blocking entrance to abortion clinics.