We have successfully represented a broad range of professionals, executives, and corporations charged with Racketeering (RICO) including some of the most significant trials in Boston and elsewhere.
The RICO statute makes it unlawful “for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.” The term “enterprise” is defined as including “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.” There is no restriction upon the associations embraced by the definition: an enterprise includes any union or group of individuals associated in fact. The Supreme Court has held that the term “enterprise” includes both legitimate and illegitimate enterprises within its scope. United States v. Turkette, 452 U.S. 576 (1981).
In fact, while noting that the statute does not specifically define the outer boundaries of the “enterprise” concept, the Supreme Court has broadly interpreted the statute. The Court has relied on the fact that Congress used the word “any” to define “group of individuals” associated in fact in its definition of “enterprise.” The court observed that the term “any” ensures that the definition has a wide reach. In addition, the Court has observed that the RICO statute itself provides that its terms are to be “liberally construed to effectuate its remedial purposes.” Boyle v. United States, 556 U.S. 938 (2009). Further, while the Supreme Court has ruled that an association-in-fact enterprise must have a structure, it has provided a broad and elastic definition of structure. The Court has held that an association-in-fact enterprise must have at least three structural features: a purpose, relationships among those associated with the enterprise, and longevity sufficient to permit these associates to pursue the enterprise's purpose. Boyle v. United States, 556 U.S. 938, 945–46, 129 S. Ct. 2237, 2244, 173 L. Ed. 2d 1265 (2009).
The Department of Justice has successfully lobbied Congress for incredibly elastic and draconian racketeering statutes. The government is developing a track record of packaging what has historically been considered business crimes, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, into a racketeering prosecution. Given the breadth and expansive reach of the RICO statutes, defenses to these prosecutions are often factually and legally complex. It is imperative that you obtain legal representation as early as possible, such that your attorney can immediately begin his investigation. The goal of any such investigation is often twofold: acquire information essential to persuading the government that you have not committed any federal offense and, if necessary, begin to prepare a defense to a federal prosecution in the event the government ultimately decides to seek an indictment.
As a Boston based lawyer with deep experience defending RICO prosecutions, we have the ability to effectively meet and defend RICO prosecutions. If you or a family member is the subject of a racketeering or other Federal investigation, we invite you to contact us to learn more about the depth of our experience, skills and knowledge in this area.