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What do racketeering convictions mean for Michigan defendants? 

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | White-collar Crime

Since you aren’t part of a mob or mafia, how could you possibly be arrested in connection with racketeering? It is a common misconception that one must be affiliated with organized crime to face racketeering allegations.

On the contrary, anyone can find themselves embroiled in a racketeering case. If you are under arrest (or investigation) for racketeering, it serves your interests to learn more about this misunderstood criminal activity. 

What does racketeering mean?

Racketeering involves breaking state or federal law (or both) for financial gain, usually through a fraudulent scheme or racket. It is not a separate offense but an umbrella term under which different crimes can fit. The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act allows prosecutors to charge all parties involved in a racketeering scheme, even if the offenses appear unrelated. 

Under Michigan law, the authorities need a “pattern of racketeering activity” to pursue these cases. Unfortunately, it only takes two incidents to establish this pattern. 

What white collar crimes does it involve?

Any scheme or offense committed for financial gain can lead to racketeering charges. White collar examples include: 

  • Bribery
  • Jury tampering
  • Embezzlement and extortion
  • Fraud (securities, welfare, credit card, etc.)
  • Money laundering, forgery and counterfeiting

Racketeering can also apply to businesses that operate (or permit on their premise) an illegal gambling operation or game.

What penalties come with conviction?

It depends on the circumstances, but you could face incarceration, asset seizure and fines upon conviction. The court may also make you pay restitution to any involved victims. Violating the RICO Act typically results in enhanced penalties on top of those imposed for underlying offenses.  

To avoid a devastating outcome, you need accurate information. Familiarize yourself with the underlying charges against you and learn how the racketeering factor might impact your situation and defense and seek experienced legal guidance..