Florida Racketeering/RICO Violation Defense Attorneys
Both Florida and federal law have statutory provisions referred to as RICO, which stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. These statutes were initially developed in order to address the activities of the mafia or “mob” and other organized crime but have more recently been used by overzealous law enforcement officers and prosecutors against any potential criminal organization, including so-called street gangs, drug traffickers and even legitimate businesses. This broadened application of the RICO acts can cause an innocent business or personal relationship to result in serious criminal charges, the loss of your company, a damaged reputation and a significant prison sentence.
The RICO provides state and federal prosecutors with a way to combine diverse and seemingly unrelated offenses into a single criminal charge that can result in extremely severe penalties. Under both the Florida and federal RICO statutes, charges may be brought against any person or group that commits two acts of racketeering within a specified time period and that further violates other provisions of the acts. Generally, racketeering is the act of a structured group operating an illegal business or scheme in order to make a profit. It includes a broad category of conduct such as bribery, extortion, loan sharking, sexual exploitation of children, drug trafficking, prostitution and illegal gambling; as well as white collar crimes like securities fraud, embezzlement and public corruption. Racketeering also includes the production and use of counterfeit money and trading in untaxed alcohol.
Despite the many similarities in the Florida and federal RICO statutes, fighting a federal RICO charge is different than fighting a RICO charge in Florida state court because different rules of conduct and procedure apply in each system. Both RICO acts are complicated and contain many specific requirements before the government can obtain a conviction. However, if you are convicted, you will face severe criminal penalties, including a lengthy prison sentence and the forfeiture of any property allegedly obtained through a RICO violation. The RICO also allows individuals harmed by alleged RICO violations to file a civil lawsuit for treble damages.
Therefore, if you are facing a RICO investigation or charge in state or federal court, it is crucial that you retain a criminal defense attorney experienced in RICO cases. At Escobar & Associates, our attorneys have the experience, skills and knowledge of the Florida and federal RICO statutes as well as Florida and federal rules of procedure, which will allow us to negotiate a satisfactory resolution of your case. We represent clients charged with RICO violations in both state and federal courts throughout the state of Florida, including, but not limited to, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County and Manatee County.
If you or someone you care about is being investigated for or has been charged with violating either the Florida or federal RICO act, contact Escobar & Associates immediately for a free consultation and review of your rights.