What is racketeering in the state of Florida?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes, White Collar Crimes

It might be unlikely for Florida residents to know what racketeering is or what it refers to. This is partly because there’s no one answer to what racketeering is. Racketeering refers to criminal acts that happen as part of an organized scheme.

Usually, anyone facing racketeering charges has been running the scheme over a long period of time, often being complicit in many different crimes in the process.

What are the requirements for something to be considered racketeering?

There are a few key requirements for a crime – or series of crimes – to be considered racketeering. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the scheme must:

• Affect commerce

• Occur at an organizational level

• Involve a pattern of activity

Many different crimes can happen in a racketeering scheme – such as extortion, coercion, and physical violence. There are also “predicate acts” such as wire fraud, specifically when used to fund a different crime.

Why do we call it racketeering?

Racketeering comes from an Old English term that referred to pickpockets who struck when passersby were distracted, usually by a loud noise carried out by an accomplice. The term was also used in the prohibition to describe the illegal schemes and fronts that were used to smuggle alcohol.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) was passed in 1970. This made it easier to prosecute mobsters and other scam artists that were a part of a larger, organized effort.

What are examples of racketeering charges?

Racketeering charges are brought forth to dismantle crime rings and similar operations. But a single crime – like illegal gambling, prostitution, counterfeiting, etc. – can be the first domino in a lot of cases.

The RICO Act was passed to protect citizens from organized crime in their cities, and now it’s used to help keep larger businesses in check. If you’re charged under the RICO Act, it’s important to know exactly what that means and how to proceed.