Are you facing federal racketeering charges in Lexington, KY? A targeted, aggressive defense is the only way to protect yourself from harsh penalties. An experienced Lexington RICO charges lawyer at Oakley & Oakley, LLC can help you fight to protect your future and your freedom.
We’ve fought tirelessly to protect the rights of clients accused of state and federal crimes. Prosecutors know facing off against us in the courtroom won’t be easy–and we’ll use our reputation to your advantage.
No reputable lawyer can guarantee a positive outcome. But we can guarantee that you’ll greatly increase your chances of success with our team by your side. Ready to learn more? Call our law offices in Lexington, Kentucky, to schedule a free consultation today.
How Can Oakley & Oakley, LLC Help if You Were Arrested on RICO Charges in Lexington, KY?
A RICO conviction can change your life forever–and your defense team’s experience can make or break your case. At Oakley & Oakley, LLC, we’ve been handling complex cases like yours in Lexington, Kentucky, for over 15 years.
Our goal is to undermine the prosecution’s case in any way we can. We’ll make it as difficult as possible for the government to convict. How?
When you hire our Lexington criminal defense lawyers to protect your rights, we will:
- Conduct our own comprehensive investigation into your case
- Identify every available piece of evidence in your case
- Examine the evidence and how it was obtained to identify any constitutional violations
- Move to have illegally obtained evidence thrown out
- Negotiate with prosecutors to get the best deal possible in your case
Without strong evidence, prosecutors will have no choice but to dismiss your case or reduce the charges against you.
If you’re facing RICO charges, it’s critical to hire an experienced Lexington criminal defense attorney immediately. It’s never too early to call our law firm for help–our attorneys at Oakley & Oakley, LLC can make a difference even if you only believe that you’re under investigation.
Overview of RICO Charges in Kentucky
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, is a federal law designed to curb criminal activities that are committed through organizations. Under Kentucky law, it is illegal to use any type of business or organization to commit criminal acts.
Prior to the enactment of RICO, people in the top tiers of criminal organizations rarely faced criminal charges. That’s because they would direct others in the lower tiers to actually commit the criminal offenses. It was those lower-tier individuals who would ultimately be subject to punishment at the criminal level.
RICO was enacted to prevent organized crime groups from taking over businesses for criminal activities.
What is a Racketeering Activity?
Under the federal RICO statute, 18 U.S.C § 1961, a racketeering activity is defined to include any act or threat punishable under state law by more than one year in prison.
The racketeering law covers a wide variety of criminal offenses for financial gain.
Both white-collar crimes and violent crimes can form the basis for a RICO charge, including offenses like:
- Dealing in obscene matter
- Dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical
- Sports bribery
- Money laundering
- Wire fraud
- Witness tampering
- Securities fraud
RICO makes it illegal for any person to use income from racketeering activity to establish or operate an enterprise engaged in interstate or foreign commerce.
An individual can also be charged under RICO if:
- the person is employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, and
- conducts or participates in the conduct of the enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt
The term “enterprise” includes far more than organizations like the mafia or drug cartels. The law defines enterprise broadly to include individuals, partnerships, corporations, associations, and groups of people that don’t form a legal entity. In other words, seemingly legitimate businesses can also face RICO charges.
Who Can Be Convicted Under RICO?
Any person who participates in the entity can face RICO charges. That includes both the leaders of the organization and members in the lower tiers. However, the prosecution must prove that the person knew about the criminal activities to convict.
To convict anyone on RICO charges, the government must prove the following elements of a RICO crime:
- An enterprise was involved
- The enterprise was involved in interstate commerce
- You were somehow associated with, or employed by, the enterprise
- You conducted or participated in a pattern of racketeering activity through the enterprise
The government has to prove that at least two racketeering activities were conducted through the enterprise within a ten-year period.
What are the Penalties for RICO Charges in Lexington, Kentucky?
Both state and federal RICO charges generally aim to punish individuals for committing a large number of crimes. Because of this, the penalties upon conviction can be particularly severe. Conviction carries a potential for 20 years in prison–whether in a federal prison or Kentucky state prison.
If convicted on even a single RICO charge, you could also face forfeiture of:
- The business or organization used to facilitate the criminal activity
- Personal holdings
- Any funds accumulated from carrying on the criminal activity
District courts also have authority to issue a restraining order that prohibits you from operating the business while your RICO charges are pending. The court could also issue a lien and forfeiture order that allows the United States government to seize your assets before you’re even convicted.
Underlying Criminal Offenses
RICO charges are rarely “stand-alone” charges. If you’re facing RICO charges, the odds are strong that the law enforcement and prosecutors will also charge you with committing some type of underlying criminal offense. That means you’ll also face the punishments that can apply upon conviction for those charges–whether they include bribery, extortion, or even murder.
If convicted of a felony in Kentucky, you could face:
- Between 20 and 50 years in prison for a Class A felony, or life imprisonment
- Between 10 and 20 years in prison for a Class B felony
- Between five and ten years in prison for a Class C felony
- Between one and five years in prison for a Class D felony
You will also face financial penalties of up to $10,000–and these penalties apply on top of the federal RICO penalties. For example, if you’re sentenced to ten years in prison for racketeering and are also charged with murder, you could face up to life in prison.
Victims of racketeering activities are also entitled to file a civil lawsuit for damages. Even if your criminal RICO charges are dismissed, anyone harmed by the racketeering activities can sue you for financial compensation.
If successful, the victims are entitled to recover money to cover their financial losses. Victims can also recover treble damages–or three times the amount of their actual losses.
The risk of incurring civil penalties is very real even if you’re ultimately cleared of all criminal charges. The standard of proof in a civil case is much lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal cases–making it much easier for victims to prove they deserve compensation.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Arrested on RICO Charges?
RICO charges carry harsh penalties. That doesn’t mean you should accept the charges without a fight. At Oakley & Oakley, LLC, our attorneys have represented clients at the federal level for over 15 years in Kentucky. We’ll use those skills to make it as difficult as possible for the prosecution to convict.
Defenses that could be raised to defeat your RICO charges include:
- An enterprise did not exist
- The enterprise did not engage in interstate commerce to support federal charges
- You did not engage in the required two predicate criminal acts during the ten-year period
- Lack of knowledge about the criminal activities
- Lack of intent to commit a crime
- Constitutional violations
Your future could depend upon the strength of your defense team. You need an aggressive Lexington RICO charges attorney who understands the law inside and out. If you’re facing RICO charges in Lexington, call Oakley & Oakley, LLC today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we’ll build the strongest possible defense for you.
Defenses to Pre-Conviction Orders
To protect your business and finances, our federal crimes lawyers will also contest any pretrial asset seizures while your RICO case is pending. You may be able to get the court to release the lien on your assets by arguing that the state lacked probable cause to believe the assets were involved in the business in question.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lexington RICO Charges Lawyer
Racketeering cases can be extremely complex. If you’ve been charged, call an experienced Lexington RICO charges lawyer at Oakley & Oakley, LLC today. We offer a free consultation so that you can learn more about our aggressive defense approach.