When the federal government accuses you of a serious crime, such as racketeering, you may feel confused and overwhelmed. But you do not have to take on these charges alone. California racketeering attorney Michael McKneely can help you understand these charges, analyze the facts of your case, and build a defense that offers you the best outcome possible.
Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you fight federal criminal charges, striving to give you the opportunity to avoid or mitigate the serious implications of a conviction. We will investigate your case, represent you in court, and work to get you back to your life as soon as possible. Give us a call today at (559) 443-7442 to schedule a consultation with a Fresno criminal defense attorney.
The Prosecution’s Job in Proving a Racketeering Charge
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), found under Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, outlines the laws regarding racketeering and other infractions related to organized crime. Under the RICO Act, there are three racketeering-related offenses that federal prosecutors can charge you with:
- Investing proceeds obtained from racketeering
- Gaining or maintaining interest in an enterprise through racketeering
- Leading or participating in an enterprise that engages in racketeering
There are two primary parts necessary for a conviction under RICO. The prosecution will need to show:
- Your involvement with a criminal enterprise, such as an organized crime group; and
- You took part in this group, carrying out at least two qualifying crimes within the past ten years.
- Sports bribery
- Point shaving
- Mail fraud
- Wire fraud
- Felony assault
- Receiving stolen property
- Money laundering
- Illegal gambling
- Time in federal prison
- A permanent criminal record
- Loss of professional licensure
- Immigration issues
- Problems passing a background check for a job or apartment
- Reasonable Doubt – In any criminal case, the prosecution must prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you are guilty of the crime you stand accused of. It must present irrefutable evidence, and leave no question in the mind of the court. We can often present enough evidence to raise reasonable doubt.
- No Pattern of Criminal Activity – To win a conviction under RICO, the prosecution must show you committed at least two interrelated crimes within a ten-year period. Even if it has the evidence to show you are guilty of the crimes, we can often argue they were not related to one another. We can also beat allegations of RICO violations by presenting evidence to show you did not commit one or both crimes included in the case against you.
The law includes a list of more than two dozen crimes that constitute “racketeering activity” and could lead to a RICO Act conviction. Some of these crimes include:
California also has its own racketeering act called the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act (CA Penal Code § 186). The statute holds that the state can seize any property or proceeds you gained if the prosecution can prove you received it for “engaging in a pattern of criminal profiteering activity.”
“Criminal profiteering activity” includes, but is not limited to, the following actions committed for “financial gain or advantage”:
Potential Penalties for a Racketeering Conviction
While violating the RICO Act is a serious offense, it is important not to overlook that each infraction included under the RICO and California racketeering acts is also an illegal crime that could bring its own consequences. This makes these cases extremely complex. The penalties, too, can be stiff. Federal convictions may come with substantial jail time and other major disruptions of your everyday life.
Some of the consequences you can expect if federal prosecutors win a conviction against you could include:
For example, a wire fraud conviction includes fines and up to 20 years in prison. Bribery of a public official can put you in prison for two years. Embezzlement can put you in jail for 10 years. If you were convicted of bribery, wire fraud, embezzlement, and a RICO violation, you could spend at least 32 years in jail.
A racketeering conviction also normally includes forfeiture of any proceeds from your illegal acts. This could mean you lose your family home, transportation, or other important investments. You might also lose your job. Punishment for violating California’s racketeering act includes the forfeiture of any property or profits gained through these criminal actions.
Common Defenses Against Racketeering Charges
A federal RICO violations attorney in Fresno can help you determine the best defense against the charges you face. Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer will be by your side from the first phone call, through the pretrial proceedings, and in the courtroom. We will protect your rights and fiercely defend you against false allegations. We will discuss your case with you, attempting to persuade the judge and jury to see it from your point of view.
Racketeering and other RICO Act violations are complex offenses, and navigating the federal laws to build a strong defense is not always easy. Based on the facts of your case, we will identify evidence and put together a defense that will help us keep your best interests front and center.
Two common defenses we use in these cases include:
How our California Federal Racketeering Attorney in Fresno Can Help
If you face federal racketeering charges or allegations of a RICO violation, your best defense is a strong attorney on your side. Fresno criminal defense attorney Mike McKneely and his team are ready to go to work for you. We can look at the facts of your case, and help you understand the charges you face. Our goal is to fight to clear your name, to get the charges dropped, or to win over the jury and get a not guilty verdict. Contact us today at (559) 443-7442 for a free initial consultation.