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Obtaining or extorting money through illegal business activities is commonly known as racketeering. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (commonly known as the RICO Act) became federal law in 1970 with the purpose of the statute being "the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce."
Texas also has state laws against racketeering activities. Whether alleged offenders are facing federal or state charges for these types of offenses, prosecutors will usually seek harsh punishments that can include enormous fines, lengthy imprisonment, and possible forfeiture of assets.
If you have been arrested or believe that you could currently be under investigation for an alleged RICO violation, you should absolutely refuse to speak to police without legal representation. Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr have decades of legal experience and can fight to get these criminal charges significantly reduced or completely dismissed.
Our criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio represent clients all over Bexar County and surrounding areas. Call 210-226-1463 or fill out an online contact form today to have our lawyers review your case during a free, confidential consultation.
In the Lone Star State, racketeering offenses are generally prosecuted under the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity established in Texas Penal Code §71.02. Under this statute, it is illegal for a person to commit or conspirer to commit certain crimes with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination or as a member of a criminal street gang.
A combination is defined as being three or more persons who collaborate in carrying on criminal activities, although the participants may not know each other's identity, membership in the combination may change from time to time, and the participants may stand in a wholesaler-retailer or other arm's-length relationship in illicit distribution operations.
Participants may be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity if they committed or conspired to commit such crimes as, but not limited to the following:
Any engaging in organized criminal activity offense is punished one category higher than the most serious offense that was committed, meaning that committing a third-degree felony will lead to second-degree felony penalties. If the most serious offense is a Class A misdemeanor, then the offense is classified as a state jail felony.
Under 18 U.S. Code § 1961(1), “racketeering activity” as it relates to the RICO Act is defined as any act or threat involving 35 possible crimes. A “pattern of racketeering activity” requires at least two acts of racketeering activity within 10 years.
Some common alleged RICO violations include, but are not limited to:
An individual who is convicted of violating the RICO Act can face fines and up to 20 years in prison, although violations based on a racketeering activity for which the maximum penalty includes life imprisonment are punishable by life in prison. Alleged offenders are also subject to restitution to victims and may have their assets subject to criminal forfeiture.
Western District of Texas | Department of Justice — United States Attorneys represent the federal government in federal courts. Texas has four districts, and court for the Western District convenes in San Antonio with additional divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. United States Attorneys have the power to indict alleged offenders under RICO, and you can find information about the role of the United States Attorney, the locations of divisions in the Western District of Texas, and answers to frequently asked questions.
U.S. Attorney's Office
601 NW Loop 410
San Antonio, Texas 78216
Texas Penal Code | Title 11, Chapter 71 — This area of the Penal Code is dedicated to organized crime. You can read the full text of the engaging in organized criminal activity statute, including the full list of offenses which can lead to criminal charges. You can also learn more about definitions of specific terms and prohibited defenses.
18 U.S. Code Chapter 96 | Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations — You can read the full text of the RICO Act, including the related definitions, prohibited activities, and criminal penalties. You can also learn more about civil remedies, expedition of actions, and rules of evidence.
Do you suspect that you may be the target of a criminal investigation or have you been arrested for an alleged racketeering or RICO Act violation in Texas? It will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel for help protecting your rights.
Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr has been defending clients throughout Bexar County against all types of white collar offenses since 1968. Our San Antonio criminal defense attorneys can provide a complete evaluation of your case and answer all of your questions during a free consultation as soon as you call 210-226-1463 right now.
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