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Columbus RICO Charge Defense Attorneys

Experienced counsel for Central Ohio defendants charged with RICO offenses in federal or state courts

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) and state racketeering laws were enacted to target organized crime. These laws allow for the prosecution of an individual or group that commits two criminal acts associated with racketeering activity within a 10-year period. Both RICO and Ohio’s own corruption law have expanded to include numerous types of other crimes.

At Soroka & Associates, LLC, in Columbus, Ohio, we represent individuals and enterprises accused of racketeering and other organized crime-related activity in state and federal courts. With years of experience trying and winning complex criminal matters, our lawyers know how to protect your rights in the face of racketeering charges. We work with a network of financial professionals who understand sophisticated and complex white-collar crimes.

How does the federal RICO Act apply to the accused in Columbus?

The RICO Act is a federal law that places its focus on racketeering offenses. The RICO Act permits perceived leaders of criminal enterprises to be prosecuted and made culpable for illegal acts that they ordered and/or assisted others in carrying out.

Racketeering occurs when an individual or a group of individuals operate a business that engages in criminal activities to make a profit. When the business itself is unlawful, it may be referred to as a “racket.”

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, “RICO,” is no longer limited to organized crime figures, and now encompasses a wide range of offenses. The following crimes may all be included under the RICO Act:

  • Murder and homicide
  • Theft and embezzlement
  • Extortion and bribery
  • Fraud and forgery
  • Dealing in obscene materials
  • Counterfeiting and gambling
  • Obstruction of justice and jury tampering
  • Various acts of terrorism
  • Arson and various robbery offenses
  • Drug trafficking and human trafficking
  • Securities violations and bank fraud
  • Money laundering

What should you know about “Engaging in Pattern of Corrupt Activities”?

Ohio has its own version of racketeering laws, called Engaging in Pattern of Corrupt Activity. Ohio applies its own corruption law quite broadly to include a broad range of violent and financial/white-collar crimes.

Ohio’s corruption law provides that:

  • No person employed by, or associated with, any enterprise shall conduct or participate in, directly or indirectly, the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of corrupt activity or the collection of an unlawful debt.
  • No person, through a pattern of corrupt activity or the collection of an unlawful debt, shall acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in, or control of, any enterprise or real property.

The law further prohibits using or investing any of the proceeds from these illegal activities. Ohio’s corruption law also addresses when the purchase of securities on the open market with the intent to make an investment – may be legal and when they are not legal.

When can you be charged with corruption in Ohio?

Corruption charges are generally filed together with additional charges for the underlying crimes. The focus of the corruption acts is generally that:

  • A group of people are involved in the criminal activity
  • There is a business that is being used to enhance the criminal activity
  • There are a series of crimes being committed by the same entity or individuals

A conviction of either the federal RICO Act or Ohio’s Engaging in Pattern of Corrupt Activities law carries severe penalties including lengthy prison sentences and substantial fines. The fines may be based on specific sums or multiples of the financial profits or losses. A conviction may also result in the forfeiture of any other benefits of the illegal activity. Defendants may also be required to pay court costs and the costs of the investigation and the prosecution.

On release from prison, the convict will likely have a very difficult time finding employment or a place to live. They may lose the right to vote and the right to possess firearms.

Generally, a conviction of Ohio’s Engaging in Pattern of Corrupt Activities law is a felony of the second degree.

What defenses do your Columbus racketeering and corruption lawyers assert?

The defenses vary depending on the specific charges, the evidence the prosecution has, and many other factors. Our Columbus criminal defense lawyers will craft a strategy based on your specific needs and assert every available legal and factual defenses that apply to your case. These include asserting your Constitutional rights, arguing that there is a reasonable doubt, reviewing the underlying charges, questioning the witnesses against you, and many other defenses.

Defendants should exercise their right to remain silent and to contact legal counsel immediately.

We also focus on each element of the charge to show that the prosecution can’t prove at least one element of the charge such as that you had any intent or showing that the financial activity was lawful.

Do you have a RICO defense lawyer near me?

Soroka & Associate’s Columbus office is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205 in Columbus. We meet defendants in custody and through video conferences when necessary.

If you’ve been charged with a RICO offense or a violation of Ohio’s Engaging in Pattern of Corrupt Activities Act, you need immediate help. All criminal defense matters require swift action, but taking steps to protect your rights is of the utmost importance in cases involving racketeering or conspiracy. If the other defendants speak with law enforcement first, you may be forced to respond to their account of what happened. While they receive a favorable deal, you are forced to do damage control and mount your defense from an undesirable position.

Facing corruption charges in Columbus, Ohio? Call today

Investigators and prosecutors may spend months or even years building the case against you. To level the playing field and begin protecting your interests, contact the experienced Columbus white-collar criminal defense lawyers at Soroka & Associates. Call 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.