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The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) makes it illegal for any organized group of individuals that conspire with one another to engage in any unlawful act. So, too, does the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act, Sections 186.2 and 186.3 of the state Penal Code.

Under both of these laws, members of any group that engages in embezzlement, drug distribution, murder or money laundering may be charged with racketeering or organized crime.

Law enforcement often rounds up members of groups such as these with the goal of either undermining or altogether doing away the groups perpetuating these types of crimes.

In order to prove a case of racketeering, a prosecutor must be able to show that the individuals that were party to the criminal element committed criminal acts for some type of financial gain.

On the state level, a prosecutor is required to show that the parties charged were somehow connected, whether through their victims, the ways they committed their crimes or because of membership in the same group. They also must be able to prove that those charged with the crime made a habit out of engaging in illicit activities with a goal of turning a profit. The crimes that they committed must be at least two of the same type.

Those convicted of rackeetering in California are likely to have the property seized by the state in accordance with California forfeiture laws. Before they can confiscate a defendant's property, though, prosecutors must first prove that the property was acquired using the profits from engaging in illicit activities.

Other penalties a defendant may face if convicted on rackeetering charges include jail time and additional fines and fees. More often than not, racketeering charges are accompanied by convictions for other drug or financial crimes or murder. Whether or not a defendant is convicted of these other crimes will also impact the length of their jail sentence.

If someone you know has been charged with racketeering, then a Visalia attorney can advise him or her as to his or her rights in the legal matter.

Source: FindLaw, "California racketeering laws," accessed May 25, 2018

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