Strong Representation for RICO Defendants in Tennessee
Fighting for the rights and liberty of the accused in Seymour, Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and in the Tri-Cities region
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law is a federal law that seeks to punish the leaders and directors of crime activity as well as those who commit the crimes. Its original aim was to prosecute organized crime. Over time, the targets of the law have expanded to include a wide range of criminal conduct. Tennessee also has its own RICO law. RICO violations can add years and significant penalties to the underlying criminal charge. If you are charged with a RICO crime, seek the expertise of an experienced Sevierville RICO attorney.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC in Sevierville, we have experience in this very complicated and extremely serious area of criminal law. If you are charged with a RICO offense, you need a seasoned lawyer who knows how to assert your Constitutional and state rights. We provide strong advocacy for defendants in Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Greeneville, Seymour, and Pigeon Forge who have been charged with a RICO crime. We understand the enormous power the government has. Our firm fights to protect our clients and make the state or federal government prove each element of its case.
Activity targeted by RICO
The key aim of RICO law is to prevent or reduce organized crime such as gang activity or loan sharks who charge exorbitant interest rates. This includes fraud claims such as Internet crimes, embezzlement, theft, and larceny. All members of the organization can be punished if the crime can be connected to the organization’s common goals.
The federal RICO is formally known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The Tennessee RICO statute is known by the same name and was enacted in 1989. The state RICO law is limited to racketeering involving narcotics, sexual exploitation of a minor, and the collection of unlawful debts. Under the federal RICO laws, it is a crime to conspire or use racketeering activity to conduct legal or illegal acts, acquire an enterprise interest, or use money to operate a venture that affects interstate commerce.
To successfully prosecute a defendant, federal prosecutors must prove to the jury ALL of the following:
- A pattern of racketeering. The government must show that that the members/organization engaged in multiple predicate crimes. Predicate crimes are the underlying core crimes. Predicate offenses include murder, kidnapping, drug crimes, gambling, mail fraud, embezzlement, and many others.
There must be a pattern of crimes. This means the criminal activity has to be ongoing. One act of embezzlement is not a pattern. Several drug crimes over a period of several years could indicate a pattern. Factors that our office reviews on a defendant’s behalf are the number of alleged acts, how many members were involved, how many victims were involved, and the complexity of the criminal scheme. Showing that the different acts were not related is a possible defense a Sevierville RICO attorney may assert.
- A criminal enterprise. A criminal enterprise means that the activities had a leader and multiple members. The enterprise can be a collection of individuals, a gang, or a legal entity such as a corporation or union. The enterprise should have a common purpose. How often the members meet, who was in control, and the acts conducted can show or defeat a criminal enterprise claim.
- Operation or management. The government does need to show the defendant exercised some control or had some discretion over how the criminal enterprise was conducted. The ability to choose other participants, to set the time of the crime, or other factors may show operation or management. Delius & McKenzie, PLLC in Sevierville makes every effort to show the defendant was just following orders and had no discretion.
- An effect on interstate commerce. The federal RICO statute requires a showing that the criminal enterprise affected interstate commerce. If a theft only occurred in Tennessee without the involvement of other states, then a defense may apply. Moving goods across state lines is an example of interstate commerce.
Punishments for racketeering
Each RICO violation can carry a sentence of up to twenty years. Fines are especially severe in RICO Cases. Fines include twice the amount of the illegal profits and forfeiture of assets including land, vehicles, and equipment. The federal RICO laws also allow civil lawsuits with extreme penalties too. RICO defendants may also be charged with violation of the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VCAR) statute (18 U.S.C. §1959)
Hard-hitting lawyers defending individuals accused of RICO crimes in Tennessee
Delius & McKenzie, PLLC offers aggressive representation to Tri-Cities clients charged with a RICO violation in Greeneville, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Seymour, or Pigeon Forge. We fight hard to have your charges dropped or reduced when dropping them is not possible. To make an appointment with an experienced Sevierville RICO defense lawyer, please call 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Our team offers in-custody visits.