The suspects allegedly used contraband cellphones to continue their operations from their cells. According to the indictment, the suspects have been accused of using the phones to intimidate witnesses, conspiring to attempt murder and cause other physical harm to witnesses and furthering the sale and distribution of drugs among other illegal acts. They were also indicted on charges including violations of the Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
RICO in Georgia
According to O.C.G.A. §16-14-4, there are four ways a person can be guilty of violating the RICO Act:
- By directly or indirectly acquiring or maintaining any interest in or control of any enterprise, real property or personal property through a pattern of racketeering or the proceeds derived from the activity;
- By directly or indirectly participating in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity while being employed by, or associated with, the enterprise;
- By conspiring or endeavoring to directly or indirectly acquire or maintain any interest in, or control of, any enterprise, real property or personal property through a pattern of racketeering activity or the proceeds derived from a pattern of racketeering activity; or
- By conspiring or endeavoring to directly or indirectly participate in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity while being employed by, or associated with, the enterprise.
There are many crimes that can be used to show a pattern of unlawful conduct regarding RICO. These crimes include: drug offenses, homicide, bodily injury, arson, burglary, forgery, theft, prostitution, obscene materials, bribery, witness tampering, perjury, evidence tampering, commercial gambling, distilling liquors and alcoholic beverages, firearm violations, securities violations, credit card fraud, computer crimes, kidnapping, carjacking, and making terroristic threats.
Violating RICO is considered a felony. Therefore, if a person convicted of a crime under the RICO Act will be guilty of a felony and will be punished by either prison or a fine. If the penalty is prison, the term will be between five and twenty years. If the penalty is a fine, it will not exceed the greater of $25,000.00 or three times the amount of any pecuniary value gained by him or her from such violation. The fine amount will be determined by a hearing.
A RICO conviction can be damaging to you and your life. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. Regardless of the crime, it is crucial that you retain counsel that cares about your wellbeing and your future.
Call us today.