What Is RICO?
The Federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act (RICO)
is not aimed, as the title suggests, solely at crimes committed by gangs
or the Mafia. Rather, it also sweeps much more broadly to include white-collar
crimes as varied as:
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Insurance billing scams
- Corruption by public officials
- Organized schemes to defraud
To analyze a RICO criminal charge, law enforcement agents must investigate
and establish the core factual issue: whether the accused was part of
an enterprise or organization that has engaged in a pattern of racketeering
activity within a ten-year period. A pattern of racketeering activity
means the commission of at least two "predicate acts," including
mail, wire fraud or other scams. Florida federal RICO law applies to federal
RICO and racketeering crimes, but the state also has its own version of
RICO with similar provisions. Hiring experienced representation Perlet,
Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. ensures that West Palm Beach criminal
defense lawyers who have intimate knowledge of the law will provide you
with the best possible defense.
Understanding How RICO Is Used
Florida Federal RICO lawyers know the ins and outs of racketeering laws,
which exist to fight drug cartels, gangs, and other forms of organized
criminal activity. But, they also have been used in surprising contexts.
For example, some of the recent suits against British Petroleum are being
brought under RICO, accusing the oil giant of creating a "pretense"
of the safety of its operations over an extended period of time. Ironically,
the law has even been applied to government entities. In 1984, the Key
West Police Department was declared a RICO enterprise for participating
in cocaine smuggling.
In the case of whistle-blowers, victims or those who may testify against
corporations or groups, Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation)
laws are in place to prevent abuses of the legal system for purposes of
silencing or retaliation. RICO charges can be brought if there is evidence
that the accused conspired to fabricate legal complaints for retribution.
Accused? Contact Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A. Today.
RICO cases are long, tricky, and complex. They routinely require expert
witnesses and extensive investigation. Our firm has specialized knowledge
of RICO law and can help the accused defend related charges.
Turn to our legal team for dedicated and reliable legal representation.