Michigan RICO Attorneys – Continuing Criminal Enterprise Lawyers
Michigan Racketeering Defense
Many states, including Michigan, have anti-racketeering laws similar to the federal law: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). When Congress enacted the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (where Federal RICO originates) it declared, “Organized crime in the United States is a highly sophisticated, diversified, and widespread activity that annually drains billions of dollars from America’s economy by unlawful conduct and the illegal use of force, fraud, and corruption.”
More recently, RICO statutes have been extended far beyond the original intent, to prosecute many types of criminal behavior that does not involve what you would typically think of as organized crime. If you are charged with any type of RICO violation in either state or federal court, the experienced attorneys at The Kronzek Firm can help. We offer free consultations and effective representation.
What is Racketeering?
Under Michigan law, racketeering is an offense committed for financial gain. The law incorporates a broad range of activity prohibited under federal law, Michigan law, and law from other states. This law prohibits a pattern of ongoing activity involving these offenses. These are the underlying offenses that are the necessary building blocks that the pattern of activity can be based on. The offenses include:
- Certain laws concerning tobacco and cigarette taxes
- Environmental laws regarding hazardous waste disposal
- Felonies involving controlled substances
- Welfare fraud
- Medicaid fraud
- Felonies concerning the business of gaming
- Securities fraud
- Display or dissemination of obscene materials to minors
- Concerning bank bonds, notes, bills, and property
- Home Invasion or Breaking or Entering
- Jury tampering
- Sexually abusive material or activity related to children
- Computer or internet crimes
- Felonies concerning financial transaction devices or credit cards
- Felony involving bombs and explosives
- Felony involving False Pretenses
- Felony concerning dangerous weapons or firearms
- Counterfeiting and forgery
- Related to access devices or food stamps or coupons
- Concerning gambling
- Concerning horse racing
- Money laundering
- Perjury or subornation of perjury
- Human trafficking
- Stolen, embezzled, or converted property
- Concerning obscenity
- Illegal sale, delivery or importation of alcohol
- Felony violation of the Identity Theft Protection Act
What is a pattern of activity for an ongoing criminal enterprise?
The following definition is outlined in the law. “Pattern of racketeering activity” is no less than two instances of racketeering where the following applies: (1) These are related incidents and not isolated acts. There must be a common thread–like substantially same or similar purpose, participants, victim(s), or how the acts were committed. (2) These acts perpetuate or threaten to perpetuate ongoing criminal activity. (3) At least one act must have occurred in Michigan on or after the effective date of this law, and the last incident committed within ten years after any prior act (this excludes any prison time served for racketeering). An “enterprise” is defined as including an individual, partnership, corporation, and more; or a group of associated persons. This includes both legal and illegal enterprises. The prohibited conduct includes the following: People employed by or associated with the enterprise in question cannot knowingly participate directly or indirectly in it through “a pattern of racketeering activity.” Next, an individual cannot knowingly either indirectly or directly control, gain or keep an interest in an enterprise or property intended for use (and/or used) in the enterprise through this pattern of activity. People who knowingly received the indirect or direct proceeds from this pattern of activity cannot directly or indirectly invest or use these proceeds in building the enterprise or acquiring other rights, interests or property intended for use in the enterprise. In addition, people cannot conspire to violate these provisions.
Penalties, Equitable Relief, and Forfeiture
Racketeering is a felony with a maximum punishment of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine up to $100,000, or both. There can also be the imposition of court costs and reasonable costs of investigation and prosecution by state and local law enforcement. If conviction occurs, the court can order: (1) Complete relinquishment of any interest in the enterprise. (2) Impose restrictions on future activity or investments, including prohibiting the person from engaging in the same type of business activity. (3) Dissolution of the enterprise for the public good to prevent future criminal activity. (4) Revocation of state licenses or permits for the enterprise. (5) Revocation of corporate charter or certificate of foreign corporation. (6) Personal, real, or intangible property used in the course of or derived from the enterprise must be forfeited. If the property has been sold to a bona fide purchaser for value or can’t be located, shall order the forfeiture of other reachable property equaling the value. However, the order of forfeiture can be amended to protect innocent persons who have a stake in the enterprise, if the court determines one or more of the following by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) The individual has a legal right, interest, or title at time of the acts, or superior rights, interest, or title and did not have prior knowledge of racketeering activity. (2) The person is a bona fide purchaser for value of title, right, or interest in property without any knowledge or idea the property was subject to forfeiture. (3) The property is subject to a security interest and the holder of the interest had no prior actual knowledge of racketeering activity. (4) The property has an encumbrance: a land contract with an unpaid balance and the land contract vendor had no prior actual knowledge of the racketeering activity. Contact us [link to Contact Us form] to discuss how such property might be affected.
How Does Michigan RICO Differ from Federal RICO?
If you’re wondering what some of the differences are between being prosecuted federally or under state law, the following variations apply. The federal definition of the racketeering pattern refers to “acts” of racketeering activity, where the Michigan definition refers to “incidents” and does not define the word “incidents.” So the definition of “incidents” could be challenged. In addition, the federal definition of racketeering pattern uses the word “requires” where Michigan uses “means.” So Michigan’s definition is more closed-ended. Additionally, the prohibited conduct under Michigan law includes the word “knowingly” so that there is an intent requirement that does not exist with the federal law. The federal law has been interpreted to only require intent to commit the underlying criminal predicate offense, not intent to participate the pattern of racketeering activity. Also, Michigan’s prohibited conduct extends to control or interest of personal property or real property related to the enterprise, whereas the federal statute does not refer to this. Therefore, more proof of the existence of an enterprise is necessary under Michigan law. Finally, Michigan RICO does not provide for violations based upon collection for illegal debt as the federal statute does. However, extortion is an included underlying offense as noted in the above definition.
Call Us Today for Aggressive Legal Defense
Because of the complexities involving continuing criminal enterprises, it is important to hire experienced lawyers to help you navigate your case. The core of any RICO case is the pattern of alleged racketeering. There are many legal and factual defenses that we will fully explore on your behalf. Call The Kronzek Firm for a free consultation at (866) 7-NoJail!. Our attorneys [link to attorneys page] are standing by 24 hours a day, waiting to help you today.