Organized crime may seem like a thing of fiction, a larger-than-life figment of The Sopranos on TV and The Godfather in the movies. But there are very real laws against organized crime in Pennsylvania, and very real penalties. These can include serious prison time for a defendant convicted under the state’s Corrupt Organizations Act.
If you are facing corrupt organization charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced corrupt organizations defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania law defines organized crime as one or more persons engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. “Racketeering” is broadly defined, but it can include any of the following acts: homicide, terroristic threats, kidnapping, human trafficking, arson, criminal mischief, property destruction, robbery, theft, bribery and corrupt influence, commercial bribery, rigging publicly exhibited contests, insurance fraud, falsification and intimidation, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, lottery-related offenses, gambling-related offenses, bookmaking, public indecency, sale or dispensing of illegal drugs, conspiracy to commit any of these acts, or loan sharking. A “pattern of racketeering activity” is conduct that includes any two or more of these crimes.
Corrupt Organizations: What Is Illegal Under Pennsylvania Law
Committing any of the acts that constitute racketeering is a serious crime in itself. But Pennsylvania law adds substantial new penalties when the racketeering activity involves the corruption of a business enterprise. Under the corrupt organizations statute, it is illegal to acquire or maintain interest in or control of any business enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. It is also illegal to invest in a business enterprise using proceeds from a pattern of racketeering activity, except under limited circumstances. It is illegal for a person employed by or associated with a business enterprise to conduct or participate in the business’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity. And it is illegal, finally, to conspire to commit any of these crimes. Conspiracy charges do not require that a defendant know the identity of all participants in the conspiracy or that he know everything the other parties are doing — only that he agree with at least one other person that they will commit, attempt or solicit acts that violate the Corrupt Organizations Act, and that at least one of the conspirators commit an overt act in furtherance of that crime.
Corrupt Organizations: Penalties in Pennsylvania
Conviction under Pennsylvania’s corrupt organizations statute is a first-degree felony. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A first offense comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of nine to 16 months in jail; a second offense comes with at least one year; and minimum sentences increase from there. But it is important to remember that charges under the Corrupt Organizations Act are rarely if ever filed alone. If you are charged with this crime, you will almost certainly face additional charges for the underlying racketeering activity. For example, if you were charged with one count of bookmaking, one count of running an illegal gambling operation and one count of corrupt organizations, you could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison: 20 years for the first-degree felony of corrupt organizations plus five years each for the first-degree misdemeanors of bookmaking and illegal gambling.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with corrupt organizations, call Brian Manchester, an experienced corrupt organizations defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.