Racketeering laws are used by federal authorities to combat a wide variety of criminal activity. These crimes range from sophisticated fraud and money laundering to extortion schemes and kidnapping. In addition to these broad categories of crimes, “Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering” (VICAR) also includes assaults, kidnapping, and murder. However, these crimes are complicated enough to warrant litigation.
A person charged with a racketeering offense may face prosecution in federal or state court. Federal RICO prosecutions carry harsher criminal penalties than state laws. The RICO statute was originally designed to prosecute members of the Mafia, but federal prosecutors have used it in numerous other contexts. Typically, a defendant faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000, as well as forfeitures.
Prosecutors rely on thorough police searches to gather evidence. However, there are times when law enforcement officers cut corners and improperly obtain evidence. In such situations, defense lawyers can file a motion to suppress evidence, asking the court to disregard any evidence obtained unlawfully. This can leave the prosecution with insufficient evidence to prosecute a defendant. Whether or not the prosecution can successfully pursue a racketeering charge depends on the evidence presented during trial expotab.