The term racketeering stems from the illegal businesses or operations run by a criminal organization or group of people. While alleged offenders may be federally prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act (18 U.S. Code §§ 1961–1968), Florida also has its own RICO Act for state racketeering charges.
Because racketeering involves criminal activity, people accused of this offense frequently face charges for additional crimes. Convictions can potentially result in decades in prison as well as enormous fines.
Do you believe that you may be under investigation or have you already been arrested for alleged racketeering activity in Florida? Do not make any kind of statement to investigators or authorities without legal representation.
John Terrezza of Terrezza Law is a Pensacola criminal defense attorney who aggressively defends clients in Escambia County and Santa Rosa County. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case to help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (850) 764-5291 to schedule a free consultation.
Florida Statute § 895.02(1) defines racketeering activity as being any conduct defined as racketeering activity under federal law in 18 U.S. Code § 1961(1) or offenses relating to any one of the following crimes under state law:
A pattern of racketeering activity is defined under Florida Statute § 895.02(4) as “engaging in at least two incidents of racketeering conduct that have the same or similar intents, results, accomplices, victims, or methods of commission or that otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated incidents.” The last such incident needs to have occurred within five years of a prior incident of racketeering conduct.
Under Florida Statute § 895.03, it is illegal for any person to:
Florida RICO Act violations are classified as first-degree felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison. An alleged offender can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $10,000 or a fine based on the pecuniary value derived or personal injury, property damage, or other loss caused by such violation—whichever is greater.
Florida Statute § 895.04 defines pecuniary value as anything of value in the form of money, a negotiable instrument, a commercial interest, or anything else the primary significance of which is economic advantage, or any other property or service that has a value in excess of $100. A fine may be up to three times the gross value gained or three times the gross loss caused, plus court costs and the costs of investigation and prosecution.
Florida RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act — View Chapter 895 of the Florida Statutes Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts. In addition to specific definitions, prohibited activities, and defenses, you can also learn about civil remedies and civil investigative subpoenas concerning these types of cases. Statutes in this chapter also explain RICO lien notices and the disposition of funds obtained through forfeiture proceedings.
Florida Standard Jury Instructions | Chapter 26: Racketeering — You can view the standard jury instructions used in Florida criminal cases involving racketeering on this section of the Florida Supreme Court’s website. The instructions cover eight specific charges for prohibited racketeering activities under Florida Statute § 895.03 and the Florida Money Laundering Act under Florida Statute § 896.101. It should be noted that standard instructions are rarely used verbatim, but these are the starting points for customization to each case’s factors.
If you have been arrested or suspect that you could be the target of a criminal investigation for alleged racketeering offenses in Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Terrezza Law represents clients throughout the greater Pensacola area, including Gulf Breeze, Milton, and Pensacola Beach.
John Terrezza is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who handles all stages of cases involving white collar offenses and fraud crimes. Call (850) 764-5291 or submit an online contact form to receive a completely free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and discuss your possible defenses.