Tampa Racketeering And RICO Charges Attorneys
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act (18 U.S.C. Section 1961) prohibits a criminal organization from profiting from legitimate business operations. Depending on the specifics of the charges, penalties for conviction can include up to life in prison as well as property forfeiture for any assets obtained as a result of the offense.
If you or your business is charged with a RICO violation, you need an experienced federal crimes defense attorney on your side. At O’Brien Hatfield, P.A., we handle complex white collar and federal criminal cases in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien is a former prosecutor who now provides aggressive defense representation for a complete range of federal crimes.
Racketeering And Related Criminal Charges
Our Tampa racketeering defense lawyers have a broad range of experience with federal crimes throughout Florida. Your attorney must be able to fight any criminal charge, because RICO violations are usually charged in conjunction with other crimes such as:
- Mail and wire fraud
- Money laundering cash obtained criminally
- Securities fraud offenses
- Counterfeiting of cash or government documents
- Conspiracy to commit a crime
- Drug trafficking and importation charges
- Drug manufacturing and distribution
At O’Brien Hatfield, P.A., we understand the powers and limitations of the government’s resources. Because we have litigated thousands of criminal cases, we know how to counter the prosecution’s strategy and exploit weaknesses in its case. We have no fear in negotiations or at trial because we have the experience and skill to battle with the government.
Defending Against Hobbs Act Charges
The Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. Section 1951) was originally enacted in 1946 to target the widespread violence, threats and coercion that were being used to handle union disputes, including racketeering and extortion. In its simple form, the Hobbs Act makes it illegal to use robbery or extortion to interfere in interstate commerce. Individuals convicted of violating the Hobbs Act face lengthy prison sentences with no opportunity for parole.
Although it is still used to target corruption by members of labor unions, in recent years, Hobbs Act prosecutions in Florida have increasingly focused on curbing public corruption. This often involves allegations of extortion under color of right, including blackmail or bribes. Frequently, this means accepting gifts in exchange for some act on the part of the politician.
The broad language of the statute has enabled the FBI and other law enforcement to apply the Hobbs Act broadly, extending beyond white collar crimes to cover certain gang activities and wide-ranging schemes, especially the robbery of businesses.
Hobbs Act cases are extremely challenging, even for law enforcement. Because extortion, bribe or blackmail involves multiple parties, law enforcement will often use the threat of a long prison stay as leverage to try and get one party to divulge information in an effort to obtain a lenient sentence.
Federal And State White Collar Crime Attorneys Defending Public Officials
Elected officials and other public employees are under intense scrutiny to fulfill their duties. Often, the mere appearance of impropriety can lead to an investigation, which can, in turn, lead to criminal charges. Charges involving public corruption such as bribery, extortion, embezzlement or the misappropriation of funds can cause untold damage to a public official’s career. A lifetime of public service can be tarnished forever by these allegations.
Bribery And Corruption Charges Defense Attorneys Serving Florida And Beyond
Under Florida law, bribery charges can be brought against an individual accused of trying to illegally influence public servants by offering money or some other benefit. Public servants can also be accused of bribery for agreeing to accept money or some other benefit in exchange for some type of act. Bribery charges can involve any number of factual scenarios, from a contractor paying a public official to obtain a government bid to law enforcement officers accepting payments in exchange for overlooking illegal activities.
Bribery is a second-degree felony under Florida law. If you have been arrested or charged with accepting or offering a bribe, or if you suspect that you are under investigation for bribery, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Members of the print and electronic media tend to devote significant attention to cases involving accusations of bribery or public corruption. While it is critical that your lawyer can devise a powerful strategy to achieve results in the courtroom, it is equally critical that your lawyer is able to manage the potential media onslaught. Our law firm has represented numerous high-profile defendants in cases that garnered significant media coverage. We will work tirelessly to ensure that your right to a fair trial is not jeopardized.
The Government Can Take Your Property Without Convicting You Of A Crime. We Can Help You Get It Back.
The impact of a criminal charge can go beyond the possibility of prison time, fines and probation. Sometimes, the government will confiscate your property in a civil forfeiture proceeding. The government can take your home, your vehicles, the contents of your bank accounts and more if it can show that these items were obtained as a result of unlawful activity. The government often attempts to seize assets in conjunction with drug crimes or certain white collar crimes. Asset forfeiture can occur in connection with either state or federal charges.
In civil forfeiture proceedings, the government does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your assets were used in connection with or obtained by criminal acts. Its burden of proof is much lower. Once your assets are seized, you have the burden of proving that the seized items were not used in connection with a crime or obtained as a result of criminal actions.
We will use all facts at our disposal to prove that your seized property was acquired through legitimate means or that it was not used in the commission of a crime.