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Racketeering Lawsuits

Racketeering is one of the most serious types of business torts. It typically involves an organized party working together to run an illegal business (called a “racket”) or a crime ring, most commonly for the purpose of making a profit. Racketeering has resulted in billions of dollars stolen from private and public entities, and the financial consequences can be devastating. If you or a loved one has been the victim of racketeering in Georgia, trust Butler Wooten & Peak LLP for dependable legal counsel. We can help you, your family, or your business stand up in the face of the criminal acts against you.

What is Racketeering?

The U.S. Code Title 18, § 1961, defines “racketeering” as any act involving drugs, gambling, obscene matter, extortion, bribery, robbery, arson, kidnapping, or murder. Due to the broad definition, there are hundreds of examples of racketeering. It can relate to crimes such as sex and drug trafficking or actions such as sports bribery. Any organized crime or dishonest service a group commits may qualify as racketeering by law. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act lists 35 crimes that fall under “racketeering activity,” including:

  • Theft from interstate shipment
  • Embezzlement from pension funds
  • Extortionate credit transactions
  • Criminal infringement of a copyright
  • Identification document fraud
  • Mail and wire fraud
  • Financial institution fraud
  • Unlawful procurement of citizenship
  • Fraud in foreign labor contracting
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Slavery and human trafficking
  • Illegal gambling businesses
  • Money laundering
  • Sexual exploitation of children

Racketeering activities are some of the most heinous examples of business torts and criminal actions. Most racketeers face imprisonment for longer than one year under state and federal laws. If you file a claim about suspicious racketeering activities, the Attorney General will assign a racketeering investigator to assess alleged activities. This investigator is in charge of enforcing the laws as stated in Title 18 of the U.S. Code. Evidence of racketeering may take the form of documents, photographs, recordings, or computer data.

Prosecuting Racketeers Using RICO

RICO, established by Congress in 1978, gives prosecutors an important tool in the fight against organized crime. Prior to RICO, law enforcement found it difficult to stop rackets and organized crime rings because they lacked evidence to indict the leaders and organizers. Today, the courts may convict someone under RICO without needing to prove that the person committed the illegal activity his/herself. It is enough to show that the individual owns or manages an organization that performs specific illegal activities.

RICO can aid in a number of types of prosecutions. According to RICO, the courts can charge an individual with illegal activity that occurred as far as the past 10 years. Additionally, prosecutors in RICO cases have the power to seize assets the alleged offender owns, halting the transfer of funds. This may then allow the government to seize assets from crime rings in the event of a guilty verdict, instead of other criminals in the ring transferring assets and illegal goods to other locations. Thanks to RICO, many racketeers and crime ring organizers take plea deals instead of going to trial.

If you have any information about possible racketeer activity in Georgia or elsewhere in the U.S, speak to the attorneys at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. We’ve aided clients in complicated business tort claims and criminal lawsuits, including those involving rackets and racketeers. We know how to investigate these claims and put together a case to maximize the plaintiff’s chances of compensation. Racketeering is no small offense. If you have evidence of this type of illegal activity, don’t hesitate to contact us. The law protects you as a whistleblower in these types of cases.