Federal RICO Crime
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act became effective in 1970 and was originally intended to assist the prosecution of mafias. However, RICO is now used over a broad spectrum and applies to businesses, individuals, and churches. A conviction for racketeering and federal RICO comes with serious penalties.
An unlawful activity conducted by an organized group is considered racketeering. It is generally linked with organized crime; however, it can be applied to various crimes. Crimes under RICO may include:
- Protection Rackets
- Loan Sharking
- Drug Trafficking
- Money Laundering
A single act of crime cannot be classified as racketeering. Only acts of crime that are executed by an organized group are considered as racketeering. Racketeering can be considered both a federal crime and state crime. In Alexandria Virginia, there are laws comparable to RICO, often known as RICO statures.
According to the RICO statute, a criminal enterprise is “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.” This definition is broad which allows federal prosecutors to bring charges against not only mafias but also companies, motorcycle gangs, street gangs, and individuals.
Pattern of Racketeering
More than one act of illegal activity within ten years would be considered as a pattern of racketeering. The unlawful activities should be related and amount to a threat of continued illegal activity.
Racketing Offenses in Richmond, Virginia:
The VA Code § 18.2-514 states:
“It shall be unlawful for an enterprise, or for any person who occupies a position of organizer, supervisor, or manager of an enterprise, to receive any proceeds known to have been derived directly from racketeering activity and to use or invest an aggregate of $10,000 or more of such proceeds in the acquisition of any title to, or any right, interest, or equity in, real property, or in the establishment or operation of any enterprise.”
In addition, Virginia State Laws suggest that it shall be unlawful for any enterprise, or for any person who occupies a position of organizer, supervisor, or manager of an enterprise, to directly acquire or maintain any interest in or control of any enterprise or real property through racketeering activity. Moreover, Virginia State Law also suggests that it shall be unlawful for any person employed by, or associated with, any enterprise to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in such enterprise through racketeering activity.”
Penalties for Racketeering in Alexandria, Virginia
Under the Virginia Code § 18.2-515, any person partaking in racketeering would be “guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than five years nor more than 40 years and a fine of not more than $1 million. A second or subsequent offense shall be punishable as a Class 2 felony and a fine of not more than $2 million.”
“The court may order any such person or enterprise to be divested of any interest in any enterprise or real property identified” in racketeering; “order the dissolution or reorganization of such enterprise; and order the suspension or revocation of any license, permit, or prior approval granted to such enterprise or person by any agency of the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof.”