Northeast Pennsylvania RICO Charges

Posted By Patrick M. Rogan || 28-Jul-2009

Sometimes, I check local headlines using online news sources. If you use them, then you know that readers often post comments about the articles. I have noticed a pattern of comments lately about northeast Pennsylvania leading the country in terms of corruption among elected officials. It certainly is true that federal investigators have been looking very closely at our region and filing lots of charges. Could we eventually be looking at northeast Pennsylvania RICO charges?

Congress passed the RICO Act to seek out and eradicate organized crime. But it is applicable to and has been used with many other types of crime. In order to be charged with a RICO crime, an enterprise must exhibit a pattern of racketeering activity, and prosecutors must prove that an enterprise existed, that the enterprise affected interstate commerce, that the defendant was associated with or employed by the enterprise, and that the defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity through the commission of at least two acts of racketeering.

So, can our elected officials be considered part of a criminal enterprise? RICO's official definition of "enterprise" is "any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity." The definition may apply to public corruption.

Whether RICO charges will apply in northeast Pennsylvania depends on what federal investigators find over the next several months and years. RICO violations are typically heavily investigated for long periods of time before formal charges are filed.

If you have reason to believe that you or your organization is under investigation for northeast Pennsylvania RICO charges, then now is the time to take action. Contact a northeast Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer at Rogan Law today.