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An overview of the RICO law

If a Washington business is actually a front to embezzle funds, it may be called a racket. Those who engage in rackets are said to be racketeering. For example, organized crime rings might try to traffic weapons or infiltrate a company in an effort to commit white-collar crime. Both state and federal laws are in place to deter such racketeering.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act makes it possible to convict someone for merely running an organization that engages in illegal activity. Prior to its passage in 1978, it was difficult to prosecute the leaders of organized crime rings because they weren't the ones committing the crimes. While it was designed to battle organized crime, RICO has been used to bring corrupt members of the clergy and domestic terrorists to justice. Its large reach has made the legislation controversial throughout the United States.

Those who are charged with fraud or embezzlement could face a variety of penalties for their actions. These penalties may include spending time in jail or prison in addition to paying a fine or restitution. Therefore, an alleged offender might want to retain legal counsel.

Depending on the case, a lawyer may claim that a defendant had no knowledge that they were overseeing a company engaged in criminal activity. An attorney could also assert that no criminal activity was taking place at all. Balance sheets or other financial records might be used to show that corporate funds were all accounted for and obtained legally. This could allow a defendant to obtain a favorable outcome in a RICO case.

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