In January of this year a federal racketeering lawsuit was filed in the Detroit U.S. District Court by Michigan attorney Scott Batey. According to Batey, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell has made it a habit to deputize people who he believes will advance his political career in the future. However, this accusation hasn’t met with resounding support.
According to court records, Pickell is accused of deputizing people in return for payments ranging from $65 – $300 a year. Once deputized, they were then able to act as deputies, agents, and process servers for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in Flint, MI. The lawsuit names Pickell, Scott Hope and the Allen & Hope Process Serving Management Company as defendants in the federal lawsuit.
This includes no less than eight former process servers from Genesee County. William Trier, Jeffrey McKinsey, Harold Daniel, John Austin Harrington, Richard Sparks, Jacob Trier, Crystal Baker and Joel Mata are all individually named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit describes the way in which Pickell, Hope and Allen & Hope Process Serving Management Company operated as a “loosely knit business enterprise” aimed only at making more money, and accuses the trio of working to keep Pickell in office by attacking anyone who spoke out against him.
The allegations that resulted in this lawsuit are that over the course of 10 years, money from the required fees that Pickell receives in return for deputizing process servers, was put in “a bank account for (Pickell’s) personal gain/benefit.” Pickell, however, claims he’s never seen a penny of these supposed secret funds. “I didn’t see that money, I don’t even know where it went,” Pickell said in an interview with MLive. “I want to state clearly that this is a frivolous lawsuit that has no merit. This is more about the attorney getting his money than the truth.”
“Anyone with $150 can file a lawsuit. I look forward to taking quick action.”
The lawsuit in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleges that the defendants are guilty of at least two counts of the federal Racketeering Influenced And Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and one count of violating First Amendment Rights. Both of these are series charges, with penalties that involve at the worst, many years in prison, and minimum, a loss of his job and future ability to work as a law enforcement officer.
Since filing the suit, attorneys for Scott Hope and his company have filed motions requesting that the claimants submit a formal civil RICO case statement. This would explain the specifics behind the claims. Batey has since filed a response to this motion, but he says the request is completely unnecessary because the evidence speaks for itself.
The federal definition of racketeering is different from the one outlined by the state of Michigan. The federal definition of the racketeering pattern refers to “acts” of racketeering activity, where the Michigan definition refers to “incidents.” This has led to some ambiguity about what the word incidents means exactly, and how it can be applied in a criminal case. Pickell however, is being sued in federal court, where the definition of RICO is very clear cut.
Accusations of racketeering and criminal charges related to organized crime are taken seriously both by the state of Michigan and by the federal government. If you or a loved one have been accused of continuing a criminal enterprise or any other white collar crime, you will need a highly skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. Because of the complexities involved in continuing criminal enterprises, it is important to make sure that your lawyers are experienced in handling this type of case. So call The Kronzek Firm today at 1 866-766-5245.