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Facing a RICO Charge? We Can Help.

If you or a loved one are under investigation for RICO charges, not just any lawyer will do — you need a federal RICO lawyer to begin building your defense now if you have any hope of avoiding a lengthy prison sentence and continuing to live your life.

The federal criminal defense attorneys at Westfall Sellers know how to win federal cases. Both of our founding attorneys, Greg Westfall and Frank Sellers, have business school backgrounds, meaning that they excel at taking on complex financial crimes and taking them to trial. If you need a RICO attorney in Dallas/Fort Worth, you need to call the Texas federal attorneys at Westfall Sellers today.

The Federal Racketeering Statute: what is a RICO charge?

A RICO charge is an acronym that is used to refer to violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, which is a federal law that invokes steep punishments for organized criminal activity. Although the RICO Act was initially concerned with racketeering specifically, the definition of “racketeering activity” has broadened over the years, and precedent has been set for it to combat a wide range of organized criminal activity. 
Racketeering activities typically include many types of white-collar crime, but they can also encompass many violent crimes when carried out for profit. Racketeering activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Counterfeiting
  • Dealing in controlled substances
  • Theft of interstate goods
  • Money laundering
  • Gambling offenses
  • Murder
  • Obstructing law enforcement
  • Embezzlement
  • Witness or evidence tampering 
  • Fraud

Racketeering offenses extend even further into both violent crimes and smaller monetary offenses that are done as part of a scheme to gain illegal profits.

One can be accused of RICO offenses even if they do not personally conduct the alleged criminal affairs; a RICO defendant need only agree with the person in the organization who conducted criminal affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity to give the court sufficient evidence for a conviction.

What is the minimum sentence for a RICO charge?

The answer that nobody wants to hear is: it depends. Mandatory minimums will depend on the severity and specifics of your charge and your involvement in the operation, but it is not uncommon for federal RICO convictions to carry 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentences.

Average sentences for white-collar crime are often high, but RICO sentences are particularly severe, frequently landing those convicted in prison for 20 years to life. Don’t gamble with your life. If you or your organization are under investigation, hire a top white-collar law firm to defend your freedom.

Can you beat a RICO charge?

While it does take significant skill and experience to defend a RICO charge, there are possible defenses at your disposal—that is, if you hire the right lawyer. A few possible defenses against RICO charges include:

  • Attempting to prove that you were not a member of the criminal organization
  • Attempting to prove that, while you were a member of the organization, you were not involved in any criminal activity
  • Arguing that the pattern of behavior that would establish racketeering was not sufficiently continuous 
  • Arguing that other contiguous charges (usually for bank fraud, wire fraud, etc.) are sufficient and that RICO charges are excessive
  • Arguing that any established racketeering behavior was closely related to a single incident or done to achieve a single objective, therefore arguing that a pattern does not exist (this is also called the single-episode rule)
  • Invoking the “operation and management” test, which essentially calls into question whether the accused could be said to actually operate or manage within their organization

RICO cases are complex affairs that usually require an attorney to wrestle with multiple charges, federal law, and interpretations of past decisions made using vague language. You can’t gamble your future with a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in financial and federal law. You need white-collar criminal lawyers in Dallas who can take a federal case to court (and win), like the lawyers at Westfall Sellers.

Under investigation? An expert RICO lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth can help.

Complex charges call for expert attorneys, and the federal RICO lawyers at Westfall Sellers are up to the task. If you or your organization are under investigation, or you have received a call from a federal agency, you need a RICO lawyer in Dallas/Fort Worth on your side.

The attorneys at Westfall Sellers know the business — but more importantly, they know how to win federal cases. Call Westfall Sellers today at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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