In New Jersey, racketeering is a serious crime that carries harsh penalties. If you are convicted of racketeering, you can be subject to a decade of imprisonment, steep fines, and a criminal record. As such, if you are being investigated for a pattern of racketeering activity, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified Camden County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help defend your rights. Please continue reading to learn about the potential penalties of racketeering in New Jersey.
What is racketeering?
When you hear the term “racketeering,” it is imperative to understand that it does not represent one isolated crime. Instead, it refers to a series of organized illegal activities through criminal operations. Various crimes can fall under illegal racketeering activity, like bribery, money laundering, counterfeiting, human trafficking, extortion, arson, gambling, kidnapping, and murder. It occurs when a person, organization, or enterprise conducts a fraudulent scheme to extract illegal profits.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) makes it a crime to belong to an organization that makes money from racketeering. RICO has been used to reduce organized crime by authorizing prosecutors to make convictions for all of an organization’s criminal acts. However, the prosecution must prove that a criminal enterprise was engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity, meaning there were more than two crimes of the same or similar intent. Additionally, for federal RICO charges, the prosecution must prove that their crimes affected interstate commerce.
What are the potential penalties in New Jersey?
State and federal laws criminalize racketeering. In New Jersey, if you engage in a pattern of racketeering activity involving using a firearm or a violent crime, you will face a first-degree criminal offense. If convicted of first-degree racketeering, you can be subject to 10-20 years in prison and be ordered to pay a fine of up to $200,000. Any other racketeering convictions can be charged as a second-degree crime, resulting in 5-10 years of jail time and a fine of up to $150,000. The court will also likely order you to pay back every cent of the money you benefited from by paying the victim’s restitution.
On the federal level, each count of racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. However, if the pattern of racketeering activity involves murder, it is punishable by life in prison. Additionally, the court can impose a fine triple the gross loss caused. The court can also order that you forfeiture any assets earned or maintained through racketeering.
If you have been charged with racketeering, contact a determined attorney from the legal team at Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC, who can fight on your behalf to help you prevent harsh consequences.