Florida Statutes Chapters 874 and 895 describe the Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act which is defined as participating in an enterprise though a pattern of racketeering.  Racketeering activity can be defined as committing, conspiring, soliciting, coercing, or intimidating another person to commit any of the criminal charges listed in F.S.S. 895.02(1)(a) that could be charged by information, indictment, or petition. RICO Act can be coupled with other crimes such as gang activity, drug trafficking, fraud, and other types of allegations involving organized crime. Racketeering is usually charged as a first degree felony with a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

The State needs to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. A person is associated with an enterprise;
  2. A person has direct or indirect participation in enterprise by engaging in at least two incidents of racketeering activity; and
  3. At least two incidents had either similar or some types of the following:
    a. victims
    b. intents
    c. results
    d. accomplices
    e. methods of commission or
    f. were interrelated by distinguishing characteristics which were not isolated incidents.

These types of cases usually involve a large amount of financial records as evidence, and it is not required for the State to establish economic motivation or the relationship between the defendants. At least one of predicate acts forming the pattern of racketeering must have commenced or begun within 5 years after the cause of action accrues or the conduct terminates. Typical pecuniary penalties are forfeiture, liens, restitution three times the gross value gained or three times gross valued lost plus court costs and costs associated with investigation and prosecution.

If you are facing charges in relation to organized crime and racketeering, contact Mr. Stewart for a free consultation today.

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