Racketeering

RacketeeringThe RICO or racketeering act is one of the most powerful tools that the United States government uses to prosecute organized crime.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that this law is only used to prosecute large-scale sophisticated criminal operations.  Although the law was enacted back in 1970 to break up powerful organizations like the mafia, in modern times the feds frequently use this law to try to punish smaller less organized groups such as street gangs.  The goal of the law is to be able to prosecute the members of a group involved in criminal activity who did not personally take part in the crime.  The original targets of the RICO act were the leaders of gangs and crime families, but again this has evolved to where it is common for any member to be charged.  The penalty for violation of this federal statute is a harsh 20-year maximum prison sentence and a $25,000 fine.  This sentence can be added to run consecutive with any other sentence received for the actual criminal act.

If you or a loved one has been charged or is being investigated for racketeering or any other federal offense that could lead to a RICO charge, our federal defense lawyers are standing by to immediately provide a free consultation.  The Herbst Firm handles cases in both the Baltimore and Greenbelt United States District Courts for Maryland, and we have the experience and determination to take on federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorneys.  The feds are relentless in their investigations and use a variety of coercive tactics to get the evidence they think they need.  We strongly recommend that anyone under investigation retain counsel before it’s too late.  Do not speak to the feds without a lawyer under any circumstances.  They are not your friends, and no matter what they say, they are not trying to help you.

There are upwards of 35 different violent and white-collar crimes that can result in an additional racketeering indictment.  The most common of these crimes are drug trafficking, fraud, theft, and money laundering.  We have also seen recent RICO charges stemming from extortion and bribery.  Crimes such as drug trafficking already carry lengthy maximum prison sentences and harsh minimum mandatories, but when a racketeering charge is added, the stakes become even higher.  The feds may also use the continuing criminal enterprise or CCE statute to punish alleged traffickers.

In addition to facing prison time, defendants charged under these laws can face forfeiture of all of their assets, including businesses and real estate.  Federal agents and prosecutors will basically try to seize anything that they believe has even the slightest tie to the alleged crime.  Our first goal is always to keep our clients out of jail, but we are also committed to fighting to keep our client’s assets out of the hands of the feds.  We have seen totally legitimate assets and businesses taken by the government, and many times the defendants are left with absolutely nothing.  Protect yourself and or a loved one, and hire a lawyer who is willing to fight to prevent the government from taking away your freedom and your property.  Contact us today to set up a free consultation.
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