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What is racketeering as defined under federal law?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2017 | federal criminal charges | 0 comments

Many Pennsylvanians both in Williamsport and other parts of the state have probably heard of racketeering but do not have a precise idea of what sort of behavior racketeering entails.

Traditionally, racketeering described the practice of organizing and running a business dedicated to illegal activity. One can think of bootleggers during the Prohibition Era, or, in more modern times, those who run drug rings or work together to counterfeit money.

As time has gone on, though, the definition of the term has expanded somewhat to include organizations that might seem innocent enough but that still have an illegal purpose or end. An example of this might be someone who has ties with organized crime but still has a position of power in a legitimate business.

They and others then use their power to siphon off funds from that legitimate business in to another group which may distribute the ill-gotten proceeds or apply the money other, illegal activities.

In reality, it does not take much to have federal criminal charges alleging racketeering lodged against a person. Thanks to changes in federal law from about a generation ago, all the federal government needs to prove is a Pennsylvanian was involved in running a business that “regular performs” certain activities that are against the law, even if the business also does legitimate work.

This means someone who may not be a criminal but is just a person who does not mind his or her business affairs as closely as he or she should could wind up under investigation by federal authorities or, worse, charged with racketeering in federal court. Should this happen, that person will want the help of an experienced and knowledgeable defense team.