Racketeering in Oklahoma happens when a group of individuals organizes and operates an illegal business. Racketeering cases can also involve the use of a legitimate business to embezzle money. Some of the racketeering-related crimes identified by the Racketeering Influenced and Corruptions Act include drug dealing, gambling, counterfeiting, prostitution, and extortion.
Criminal law statutes at both the state and federal levels deliver severe punishments to individuals guilty of racketeering.
How racketeering works
Traditional racketeering schemes center around activities like drug and sex trafficking that are clearly illegal. A large group of people is often needed to keep these schemes going and cover-up evidence that crimes are taking place.
The groups involved with organized crime eventually became interested in the money they could gain by becoming involved with legal activities. One example of this is mob bosses taking control of labor unions so that they could steal money from the pension plans of the workers affiliated with the labor union. Organized crime figures that infiltrate the corporate ranks use a variety of methods to steal money and destroy companies.
Local prosecutors found faced uphill battles when fighting organized crime before Congress enacted laws to strengthen their positions. Prosecutors were usually only able to make cases against low-ranking members of a criminal organization since these were the people who actively committed the crimes. It was often difficult to draw a direct connection to illegal activities and the masterminds of criminal organizations.
The RICO act became law in 1978 and provided prosecutors with the tools they needed to fight groups guilty of organized crime. The RICO act makes it possible to convict members of a criminal organization of a crime even when they separate themselves from the physical activities of the group. Oklahoma is one of the many states that followed the lead of the federal government and enacted similar laws at the state level.
Accusations of organized crime can destroy the reputation of accused individuals and expose them to the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. Defendants facing these charges will need to mount an effective defense to protect themselves from the potential fallout. Individuals accused of racketeering will likely enjoy a better chance of defending themselves against the allegations by trusting the services of a criminal defense attorney.