Criminal racketeering charges under the Nevada and federal RICO laws are extremely serious. Conviction can result in severe penalties. An aggressive defense is essential.
The acronym RICO comes from the federal statute named the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. Nevada also has a state law that is also referred to as a RICO statute. Both RICO laws apply to much more than just traditional organized crime activities. The statutes can apply to any organized, coordinated crimes, whether the activity occurs in conjunction with a legal or illegal business or activity.
If you're facing federal or Nevada RICO charges, Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten will vigorously defend you. He will use his substantial trial and investigative experience to secure the best possible result for you.
The term racketeering originates from use of the description “operating a racket” to refer to illegal business operations run by organized crime syndicates. Racketeering involves commission, attempt, or conspiracy to commit two or more related crimes that share common distinguishing characteristics. Nevada and federal RICO statutes address a wide range of racketeering conduct that can constitute violation of the laws.
Racketeering can include illegal activities like prostitution, drug trafficking, illegal gambling operations, money laundering, and burglary or theft rings. Law enforcement also uses RICO laws to target organized white-collar crime and racketeering conduct that underlies otherwise legal activity. Authorities use the laws to prosecute systematic illegal criminal activity in many different contexts.
Nevada and federal authorities take RICO violations very seriously. They devote significant resources to investigating potential RICO violations. Any suspicious pattern of criminal activity is subject to extensive investigation — usually by multiple law enforcement agencies. RICO investigations can extend over a long period, even years.
A person whose criminal conduct falls under RICO can be charged with violating RICO in addition to being charged for the underlying crimes. RICO charges significantly increase the potential penalties for any criminal defendant.
RICO statutes are extremely complex. Several key definitions underlie the offenses defined in the statute.
The Nevada RICO law defines specific crimes that constitute crimes related to racketeering. The statute lists thirty-seven (37) different categories of offenses. Some categories include multiple related offenses. Crimes related to racketeering include the Nevada crimes of:
Racketeering activity involves engaging in two or more crimes related to racketeering (as listed above) that have “the same or similar pattern, intents, results, accomplices, victims or methods of commission, or are otherwise interrelate by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated incidents.” Under the Nevada RICO law, the most recent incident must have occurred within five (5) years after a prior commission of a crime related to racketeering.
Two other definitions are important in RICO violations:
The Nevada RICO statute defines the unlawful acts that constitute violation of the law. They encompass a broad range of conduct relating to racketeering. The conduct can relate to organized, ongoing illegal activity (criminal syndicate) or to any illegal or otherwise legal activity (enterprise).
The law provides that it is illegal for a person to:
Violation of the Nevada RICO provisions is a category B felony, punishable by a prison term of five (5) to twenty (20) years and a fine up to twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). The court may impose an alternative fine of up to:
A convicted defendant may also be assessed court costs, as well as reasonable costs of investigation and prosecution.
In addition to the potential penalties for RICO violations, the law provides for both criminal and civil forfeiture of any property used in violation of the statute. In addition, any individual injured by a violation of the RICO law may file civil action against the convicted person. Damages in a civil action are set at three (3) times the actual damages sustained, attorney’s fees, and court and investigation costs.
Nevada based its RICO statute on the federal RICO law, so the provisions of the federal law are very similar. However, the period applicable to commission of related crimes of racketeering under the federal law is ten (10) years, rather than the five-year period set by the Nevada law.
In addition, penalties under the federal statute differ and usually are more harsh. The penalties can be based on the specific crimes committed in furtherance of the illegal business operation.
If you are facing federal or state RICO charges, potential penalties can be extremely severe. Experienced criminal defense Attorney Joseph Gersten will aggressively defend you against these complex charges.
Each RICO case involves unique circumstances. Investigating all underlying facts can provide the basis for a defense. Depending on the situation, it may be possible to prove that the activities in question are not related, criminal intent was not present, evidence was illegally obtained by law enforcement, or the prosecution’s case is not sufficient to meet all the required elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Attorney Gersten’s investigative and analytical background is extremely beneficial in RICO cases. Ascertaining the underlying facts is critical in asserting an effective defense.
If you are facing a state or federal RICO charges in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten will discuss and evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative and criminal defense experience. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.