Oklahoma residents who are accused of white-collar crimes may also face racketeering charges, especially when prosecutors are pursuing an aggressive strategy. Racketeering laws, like the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), were originally passed to target organized crime. RICO laws have been used to prosecute charges related to prostitution, extortion and drug traffficking. However, RICO charges may also be invoked in less seemingly dramatic cases of white-collar crime as well, and people who are charged with financial activities relating to other criminal acts may also face these allegations.
Racketeering charges have been used in cases of alleged corruption in labor unions, employee benefits funds and corporations. These laws are intended to target high-ranking members of a criminal enterprise. In the days when these laws were primarily used in organized crime cases, low-level members of crime syndicates would be more likely to be convicted than people who were directing their activities because they were more likely to be personally involved in criminal behavior. RICO laws can allow people to be convicted of white-collar crimes without showing that they actually committed an illegal act themselves.
In order to convict someone on racketeering charges, prosecutors must show that the defendant owns or manages the organization accused of corruption and that the organization carries out illegal activities. RICO charges can be controversial, especially because they have been used in highly politicized cases rather than in typical organized crime cases. RICO charges may also be used in some cases to encourage defendants to agree plead guilty to lesser charges.
People who are facing racketeering charges and other white-collar crime allegations may be assessed significant penalties that might cause them to lose their freedom. A criminal defense lawyer may help to challenge prosecution allegations and work to protect a client’s rights.