What does racketeering mean?

Some cases that go before the federal criminal justice system include an accusation of racketeering. While it’s pretty common to hear that term relating to criminal charges, some individuals aren’t sure what that means. 

Racketeering accusations are based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is commonly referred to as RICO. These charges are very serious and must be handled very carefully. Typically, federal charges come with more considerable penalties than state charges.

What is racketeering?

In the simplest meaning, racketeering has to do with using a business to conduct illegal activities. It includes things like money laundering, extortion, bribery, gambling, and similar crimes. It’s possible for these crimes to be handled in state court; however, they are often taken to federal court. 

There are many forms that racketeering can take. Kidnapping and protection racketeering are both possible. These involve holding people against their will for a ransom or causing harm to a business unless they pay a protection fee. 

Sometimes, racketeering happens online. This usually involves malware that’s used to extort money from a company or user by locking their data or electronics up until they ransom back their access. 

What if you’re charged with racketeering?

In many cases, these cases involve a lengthy paper trail and extensive evidence that can be complicated to sort through and difficult to understand. Anyone who’s facing RICO charges needs to ensure they understand all of their defense options. A proactive, experienced defense is the best approach since that can help you better understand the potential impact of each decision on your future.