Being charged with a federal RICO or Continuing Criminal Enterprise offense is not something to be taken lightly. These charges can have life-altering consequences for anyone facing them and require an experienced legal team in your corner to devise an effective defense. At the Law Offices of Brandon Sample, the proactive RICO attorneys under the direction of attorney Brandon Sample work tirelessly to assist clients charged with a federal RICO Act or Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) violation to find a solution that allows them to fight for their freedom and ability to rebuild their lives.
An Introduction to Federal RICO and Continuing Criminal Enterprise Charges
The federal Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute (CCE) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) were enacted to combat organized crime in general. The statutes are written very broadly in order to cover a wide range of organized crime activities. As a starting point, it is important to understand the difference between the RICO and CCE statutes.
What Activities Does the RICO Act Include?
The RICO Act was passed in 1970 in an effort to target criminal activities controlled by the mob at that time. RICO activities are delineated by 18 U.S. Code § 1963, which makes it a federal crime and also imposes civil penalties for someone engaging in a host of 35 different illegal activities as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. Major categories of these illegal activities include:
- Money laundering
- Drug trafficking
To be eligible for prosecution under the RICO Act, the defendant must have committed two or more of the 35 predicate offenses within a span of 10 years. These offenses must also have been committed as part of a criminal enterprise that the defendant was involved with. This means that the individual cannot be operating by himself in the commission of a predicate offense for the RICO charges to attach. However, a defendant may be convicted under this statute based on activities that he engages in through a legitimate company. Due to the severe penalties for RICO Act violations, it is imperative to retain the services of a RICO defense attorney as soon as possible.
What are the Penalties for Being Convicted Under the RICO Statute?
The penalties for a conviction under the RICO Act can be as harsh as 20 years in federal prison. RICO penalties can also include civil penalties along with the seizure of assets by the federal government. The government is allowed to attach a defendant’s assets so that they cannot be hidden outside of the country before prosecution begins.
Even if you are only facing RICO allegations as a part of a civil lawsuit, there is the potential for information that is obtained in that litigation to result in federal criminal charges. It is in your best interest to act quickly in retaining a trusted RICO attorney at the first instance you become aware of potential federal charges. The RICO attorneys at the Law Offices of Brandon Sample are ready and able to defend you against such criminal charges.
What Activities does the CCE Statute Include?
Pursuant to 21 U.S. Code § 848, the government is specifically focused on illegal drug activities when it comes to CCE charges. This statute was intended to help the government infiltrate major narcotics organizations. Essentially, the CCE statute allows the government to prosecute those who are allegedly involved in larger criminal enterprises that deal in illegal drugs in violation of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The statute applies to those illegal drug activities and operations involving at least five people. Those who are believed to have a leadership role in the criminal organization receive harsher penalties. If you have reason to believe that you are currently under investigation for a CCE charge, you need to retain the services of a RICO defense attorney immediately.
What are the Penalties for Being Convicted Under the CCE Statute?
The mandatory minimum sentence for someone who is convicted under the CCE statute is at least 20 years in federal prison along with a maximum fine of up to $2 million. The defendant must also forfeit all assets gained in commission of the crimes and relinquish all ties to the criminal enterprise. A person who is found to receive more than $10 million in income from drug trafficking under the CCE statute will face a mandatory life sentence in prison and will not be eligible for parole. The death penalty may be imposed on any defendant convicted of killing another person in commission of a crime connected to the drug trafficking enterprise. Regardless of if these sentencing enhancements apply to your case, hiring an experienced RICO defense attorney is the best first step to presenting a cognizable defense. By retaining counsel early, both your civil and criminal liability can be mitigated.
Experienced CCE and RICO Attorneys
If you or a loved one are facing a charge or conviction for a federal RICO or Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) offense, you should contact RICO defense attorney Brandon Sample immediately. The proactive team at the Law Offices of Brandon Sample is ready to set up a consultation with you or your loved one to start formulating an aggressive defense to your federal RICO or Continuing Criminal Enterprise charge. Call 802-444-4357 (HELP) to set up your first consultation with our RICO attorneys to get started on preparing your federal RICO or Continuing Criminal Enterprise defense.