RICO Cases in Georgia
Assistance from Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer
Georgia has its own statutory provision based on the federal act imposing criminal penalties on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO). Under the provisions of Georgia's RICO statute, a person or group violates the act by using a pattern and practice of racketeering activities to acquire an interest in, maintain or protect an interest in, or control the practices of any business or property.
Basically, this means that a person or group uses illegal activities to sustain or advance ongoing criminal enterprises or organizations. RICO originally was created to provide prosecutors with a tool to go after organized crime, as in mafia-type activities. However, the scope of its reach has now grown so that anyone who commits two or more proscribed crimes within a ten year period in furtherance of an ongoing enterprise can find themselves charged with a RICO violation.
What Penalties Could I Face for RICO Violation?
Penalties for violation of the RICO act may include a lengthy prison sentence, up to 20 years, fines up to three times the amount of money earned through the unlawful activities, and loss of interest in the business or property that was acquired through the RICO activities. A judge also may prohibit the offender from ever operating the same type of business as was involved in the illicit activities.
If you face RICO charges or are the subject of a RICO investigation, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
The defense of these charges requires extensive knowledge and skills, especially since there are many predicate crimes that fall within the reach and breadth of Georgia's RICO act. If the charges involve activities that took place in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, or Cobb County, or any other jurisdiction in the Atlanta area, then the Law Office of Tanya F. Miller, LLC can provide you the necessary defense.
Under Georgia law, there are more than thirty types of criminal offenses that qualify as predicate acts under the RICO law. Predicate acts are one of two (or more) racketeering activities, which are required to demonstrate the necessary pattern of activities. These Georgia predicate acts are in addition to the racketeering activities set forth by the federal government, which include:
- Any actions involving bribery, theft, fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, gambling, money-laundering, as well as others, in violation of federal law;
- Any offense violating Georgia state law prohibiting gambling, bribery, robbery, dealing in a controlled substance, extortion, arson, kidnapping, or murder;
- Trafficking in drugs, including the creation of elaborate and long-term drug networks;
- Committing acts of terrorism; and
- Engaging in actions, for profit, leading to the illegal immigration of persons into the United States.
In order to be charged with a violation under RICO, there must be two different predicate crimes that occurred within ten years of each other and were committed in furtherance of the enterprise or organization. In addition to the severe criminal penalties that you face if charged under the RICO law, there are additional civil concerns.
RICO offenses can be criminal or civil and enforcement may be pursued under state, federal, or international laws. Victims who suffered as a result of the racketeering activities may bring a civil suit against RICO act violators, where penalties can be treble damages (three times the amount lost to the RICO activities). Punitive damages also may be awarded. Therefore, the right legal assistance is critical to avoid the severe legal and civil penalties that result from losing your case.
Contact the Law Office of Tanya F. Miller, LLC for legal guidance on how to proceed.