Racketeering charges are extremely serious. Getting convicted of racketeering in New Jersey can lead to a severe prison sentence, large fine, criminal record, and notoriety that could prevent you from getting (or keeping) a job.
Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to help you handle the racketeering charges you might be facing.
What is Racketeering?
General speaking, racketeering involves obtaining or extorting money from another person or entity. Many times, racketeering involves organized crime. However, it does not have to. Put simply, racketeering is a catch-all crime designed to target people engaging in a pattern of illegal activity carried out as part of an enterprise that is owned or controlled by the people engaging in the illegal activity.
Racketeering can be charged either as a federal or state crime. In most circumstances, a person will be charged with both federal and state racketeering charges.
Getting Charged With Racketeering
The Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §1961, contains a set of laws specifically designed to criminalize and severely punish racketeering by business enterprises. New Jersey also has a law on the books criminalizing racketeering. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:41-2, if you receive any income derived (either directly or indirectly) from a pattern of racketing activity or use/invest any part of that income or its proceeds in acquisition of any interest in an enterprise or in the establishment or operation of an enterprise that is engaged in activities that affect trade or commerce, you can be convicted of racketeering in New Jersey.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:41-1, a person or entity engages in a “pattern of racketeering activity” if he commits any of the following crimes at least twice within 10 years of each other:
- Alteration of Motor Vehicle Identification Numbers
- Criminal Usury
- Distribution of a Controlled Substance (Except Less Than 1 Ounce of Marijuana)
- General Fraud
- Human Trafficking
- Illegal Gambling and Violations of the Casino Control Act
- Leading a Firearms Trafficking Network
- Promoting Prostitution
- Securities Fraud
- Selling a Controlled Substance (Except Less Than 1 Ounce of Marijuana)
- Unlawful Manufacture, Purchase, Use, or Transfer of Firearms
- Unlawful Possession or Use of Destructive Devices or Explosives
- Unlawful Weapons Training for Illegal Activities
Remember, getting caught doing two of these within a 10-year span is not enough to get convicted. A prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you also derived an economic benefit from the illegal activity or intended to use/invest any amount of money linked back to the crimes.
Penalties and Fines
Based on N.J.S.A. 2C:41-3, if you are convicted of racketeering in New Jersey and the “pattern of racketeering activity” that you engaged in involved a first degree crime, the use of a firearm, or was a violent crime, then you can be guilty of first degree racketeering.
However, all other convictions for racketeering will be charged as second degree racketeering.
- If you are found guilty of first degree racketeering, you can be imprisoned for 10-20 years and be forced to pay a fine of up to $200,000. (Depending on the sentencing judge’s ruling, you may be ineligible for parole.)
- If you are found guilty of a second degree crime, you can face 5-10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $150,000.
Moreover, regardless of your sentence, you will be required to give back every cent of the money you benefited from by making restitution.
Who Should I Contact?
If you or a loved one has been charged with racketeering in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law today. His team of New Jersey criminal defense attorneys will do what they can to protect your legal rights and fight to get your racketeering charges dismissed. E-mail or call 888-815-3649 today.