RICO and VICAR (Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering) are complex statutes and as such, they require many years of experience to properly and successfully litigate.
A DC RICO VICAR attorney will be able to quickly determine whether you have a meritorious defense to a federal criminal RICO or VICAR indictment and they will work hard to provide superior service to clients seeking criminal defense to RICO and VICAR indictments brought by the government.
The federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations statute (RICO) has not only been used as a powerful tool against organized crime, but is also commonly used in criminal prosecutions to combat a broad range of criminal activity, ranging from violent gang crime to sophisticated schemes involving fraud, bribery, money laundering, and extortion. A companion statute, the “Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering” statute (VICAR), proscribes violent crimes, including murder, kidnapping, and assaults.
The RICO statute provides for three different substantive violations as described in 18 U.S.C. section 1962(a), (b) and (c) (RICO substantive provisions) and 18 U.S.C. 1962(d) (RICO conspiracy). Section 1962(c) is the most commonly utilized, substantive RICO provision and prohibits a RICO “person” from conducting the affairs of an enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce through a pattern of racketeering or through the alternate theory of collection of unlawful debt.
Furthermore, a RICO person who conducts the affairs of a legal entity or “association in fact” through the commission of multiple acts of mail and wire fraud may violate section 1962(c). Section 1962(d) makes it a crime to conspire to commit any of the three substantive offenses.
It is not necessary for the RICO conspiracy defendant himself to conduct the affairs of an enterprise; it is sufficient for conviction or liability that he merely agree with a defendant who is an operator or manager to conduct the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
For example, a RICO person who conducts the affairs of a legal entity or “association in fact” through the commission of multiple acts of mail and wire fraud may violate section 1962(c). Section 1962(d) makes it a crime to conspire to commit any of the three substantive offenses. A RICO conspiracy defendant himself does not have to conduct the affairs of an enterprise; it is sufficient for conviction or liability that he merely agree with a defendant who is an operator or manager to conduct the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
Criminal RICO prosecutions have more recently focused on multi-national gangs which are organized and conduct a wide variety of federal crimes. These crimes include drug distribution, threats and acts involving murder; extortion, and money laundering. Because the government will usually charge a large number of individuals and the proof will vary significantly by the defendant, a dedicated RICO lawyer will be able to identify those defendants who may have been improperly charged with RICO, VICAR, or RICO conspiracy.
Moreover, because the Supreme Court requires that any fact that increases the statutory maximum for a defendant be pleaded and submitted to the jury, our attorneys may be able to limit a potential defendant’s sentence to the twenty-year RICO maximum.
There are numerous other possible defenses a skilled RICO attorney can utilize to defeat a RICO/VICAR charge. For example, the pattern of racketeering activity may not sufficiently be “continuous,” or related to the enterprise; the criminal indictment may not adequately allege sentencing factors which would allow for a sentence in excess of the statutory maximum.
Additionally, there are many technical issues and defenses involving RICO indictments, such as the “single-episode rule,” DOJ’s Petite policy, extraterritorial application of RICO, the admissibility of uncharged crimes, whether the enterprise sufficiently affects interstate commerce, double-jeopardy, and the Reves “operation and management” test, all of which must be understood in order to properly defend against a RICO claim.
When facing these matters, look for a team of attorneys with extensive experience litigating both criminal and civil cases white collar cases. You can benefit greatly from a firm that has the knowledge, experience, and the ability to complete projects in a timely manner and they will work aggressively to provide their clients with the best possible legal service, with a particular focus on avoiding unnecessary costs.
Call today for a no-cost, initial case consultation today with a DC RICO and VICAR lawyer.