Staten Island Racketeering (RICO) Defense Lawyer

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Staten Island Racketeering (RICO) Defense Lawyer

Racketeering

Defending Staten Island, NY, Clients Charged With Racketeering

Racketeering is a commonly misunderstood criminal offense, but if you are charged with any form of racketeering, you could face prosecution in New York state criminal court or federal court. The term “racketeering” refers to fraudulent and dishonest business dealings, but it commonly evokes ideas concerning the mafia and organized criminal enterprises throughout the US. A common example of racketeering would be protection rackets that the mafia ran in decades past. The mafia would send underlings to harass local business owners and cause property damage; then, other mafia members would visit those businesses and offer them protection from further harm in exchange for regular payments. Creating a problem to sell the solution is a basic example of racketeering.

If you are charged with racketeering, the exact nature of your offense could lead to various charges, including conspiracy and fraud. Attorney Michael Vitaliano can be your Staten Island racketeering defense attorney if you have been charged with any type of racketeering. Attorney Vitaliano has years of experience as a New York prosecutor and now leverages this experience on behalf of his criminal defense clients.

Why Hire a Staten Island RICO Defense Lawyer?

It’s vital to take full advantage of your right to legal counsel when charged with criminal offenses. The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your criminal case. If you cannot afford an attorney or do not want to pay attorneys’ fees to a private defense attorney, you can secure defense counsel from a court-appointed public defender. This may seem like an easy option for avoiding legal fees, and most public defenders in Staten Island are capable attorneys. However, they typically handle multiple cases simultaneously, meaning they cannot provide their clients with much individual attention.

A private Staten Island racketeering defense lawyer like Attorney Michael Vitaliano can offer more personalized legal representation in these complex cases. Attorney Vitaliano understands the federal case law that typically comes into play in racketeering cases prosecuted at the federal level. You can rely on Attorney Vitaliano and his team to help you gather exculpatory evidence that could potentially prove your innocence. If you did participate in any type of racketeering scheme, you need a Staten Island racketeering defense attorney capable of helping you successfully navigate your proceedings, potentially helping you plea bargain for a lighter sentence.

What Is RICO?

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act became US law in 1970 to combat the spread of organized crime and mafia activities throughout the country. RICO law allows for swifter prosecution and more severe penalties for organized criminal enterprises. Some of the offenses most commonly prosecuted under the RICO Act include:

  • Labor corruption schemes
  • Price fixing and bid-rigging schemes
  • Human trafficking operations
  • Drug trafficking operations
  • Poaching operations
  • Backyard breeding operations, such as “puppy mills” and other unethical animal-based enterprises
  • Kidnapping and ransom operations
  • Extortion rackets
  • Organized theft operations
  • Fencing rackets, which revolve around the sale of stolen goods
  • Protection rackets
  • Rum-running and moonshine operations
  • Money laundering
  • Illegal gambling operations
  • Organized fraud operations

These are just a few examples of racketeering operations that involve multiple defendants and typically invoke RICO statutes. Unfortunately, this can create a very daunting situation for each defendant due to the expansive prosecutorial powers granted by the RICO Act. For example, if multiple defendants are named in a RICO case and the prosecutors have evidence to charge one defendant with a felony, the same felony charge can apply to all other members of the RICO conspiracy. This means that if you are prosecuted under the RICO Act, you potentially face criminal penalties for the actions of the other defendants named in your case.

You need a Staten Island racketeering defense attorney who knows how to navigate the components of the RICO Act if you do not want to face legal penalties for the actions of others.

What to Expect From Your RICO Attorney

When you hire a Staten Island racketeering defense lawyer to represent you in a criminal case for racketeering charges or when you face RICO prosecution, your legal team will first look for any exculpatory evidence that helps you disprove the prosecution’s evidence. Some of the most commonly cited defenses in racketeering cases include:

  • Mistaken identity. The prosecution may have incorrectly named you as a defendant in their racketeering case. Your attorney can help you establish your alibi to prove you were not involved in the racketeering activities in question.
  • Failure to establish a pattern of racketeering activity. To succeed with a racketeering prosecution, the prosecutors must prove that an organized pattern of racketeering activity occurred. Your defense attorney may seek to undermine their evidence by proving such a pattern of activity did not exist.
  • Lack of direction. To qualify for RICO prosecution, an organized racketeering operation must have direction from a criminal organization. Without such leadership or organized direction, the case could not qualify for RICO Act prosecution.
  • Lack of organization. Your attorney may seek to prove that the defendants named in a RICO case were a “standalone complex” or a loosely associated group of individuals engaged in similar activities rather than an organized enterprise.

The potential penalties for a conviction under the RICO Act can be incredibly severe depending on the criminal charges in play. For example, if a defendant in your RICO case is charged with murder, you could face the same penalties as them due to the RICO statutes concerning criminal conspiracies. Therefore, your Staten Island racketeering defense attorney should seek first to disqualify you from the prosecution’s RICO case before moving to address your charges if the prosecution moves to charge you on an individual basis.

The potential penalties for a conviction under the RICO Act can be incredibly severe depending on the criminal charges in play. For example, if a defendant in your RICO case is charged with murder, you could face the same penalties as them due to the RICO statutes concerning criminal conspiracies. Therefore, your Staten Island racketeering defense attorney should seek first to disqualify you from the prosecution’s RICO case before moving to address your charges if the prosecution moves to charge you on an individual basis. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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