RACKETEERING is a type of organized crime in which criminals use a business to extort money illegally.
Musical artist R. Kelly was convicted in January 2022 of nine charges, including one count of racketeering, and received his sentence on June 29, 2022.
What is racketeering?
Racketeering is employed when an individual acquires a business through illegal activities or uses a business to extort money illegally.
Most commonly associated with gangs and criminal organizations such as the Mafia, the popular example is a "protection racket" promising to protect the target business from dangerous individuals in the neighborhood.
Often in these cases, the problem may be caused by those offering to solve it.
In September 2021, R Kelly faced a total of nine charges, including one count of racketeering.
He was found guilty of nine counts that including one count of racketeering, and eight counts of violating the Mann Act, and he was sentenced on June 29, 2022.
R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after prosecutors asked for more than 25 years and his lawyers requested a maximum of 14 years.
Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was hit with multiple charges, including racketeering, but he testified against members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang and received a reduced sentence.
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He received his sentence in September 2020 and was given two years in prison.
Former drug kingpin turned zoo owner Mario Tabraue who appeared in Tiger King was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison on charges of racketeering and 13 narcotics counts.
Former Rep. Rick Renzi was convicted in 2013 on charges of racketeering and money laundering but received a pardon from former President Donald Trump.
What is the minimum sentence for the offense?
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was passed as federal law by Congress in 1970.
The legislation, signed into law by President Richard Nixon, explicitly aimed to combat organized crime across the United States.
It allows criminals to receive extended penalties and a civil cause of action for their roles in criminal organizations with a specific focus on racketeering.
It targets kingpins by allowing them to be tried for crimes that they ordered or assisted in, and depending on the number of racketeering charges, each count is punishable by up to 20 years in the US.
A defendant who has no prior record of racketeering could receive a minimum sentence of 30 to 37 months in prison.
What kind of crimes falls under racketeering?
Racketeering violations are regarded as "predicate offenses", referring to a crime committed which is a component of a larger crime.
- Distribution of a controlled substance
- Mail fraud
- Money laundering
- Wire fraud
- Witness tampering
What constitutes breaking Rico laws?
To convict a defendant accused of violating Rico laws, the government must prove a number of things beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That a criminal enterprise existed
- That the actions of the group affected interstate business
- That the defendant was associated with or employed by the organization
- That the accused was involved in a pattern of racketeering activity
- That the defendant was party to the operations conducted by the enterprise during at least two acts throughout the sequence of racketeering activity
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