Money Laundering & Racketeering (RICO)

West Palm Beach Money Laundering & Racketeering Attorney (RICO)

Many federal crimes are so broadly defined that prosecutors can use them as swords against otherwise legitimate businesses and respectable businesspeople. Among the two favorites of federal prosecutors are money laundering & racketeering. 

If you have been accused of a federal crime, you need to “lawyer up” as soon as possible, contact the West Palm Beach money laundering & racketeering attorneys at Skier Law Firm.

What is a RICO Charge?

A RICO charge, or RICO case, is a legal action brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a federal law in the United States. RICO is a powerful and complex statute designed to combat organized crime, particularly activities associated with criminal enterprises and enterprises engaged in ongoing patterns of racketeering activity.

Here are the key components of a RICO charge:

  • Racketeering Activity: To bring a RICO case, there must be a pattern of racketeering activity. Racketeering activities include a wide range of criminal offenses, such as bribery, extortion, money laundering, illegal gambling, drug trafficking, murder, and more. These activities are often associated with organized crime.
  • Pattern of Activity: A RICO case requires proof of a pattern of racketeering activity, which typically involves a series of related criminal acts. This pattern must demonstrate that the criminal enterprise engages in a continuous and systematic course of criminal conduct.
  • Enterprise:  A RICO case must involve a criminal enterprise, which can take various forms, including legitimate businesses, labor unions, associations, or other organizations. The enterprise is the entity that conducts or is associated with the racketeering activities.
  • Criminal Liability: Individuals or entities can be charged with RICO violations if they are part of an enterprise that is engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity. This includes not only those who directly commit the crimes but also those who aid, abet, or conspire with the enterprise.
  • Penalties:  Conviction under RICO can lead to significant penalties, including imprisonment, fines, asset forfeiture, and court-ordered injunctions to prevent the enterprise from engaging in further criminal activities.

RICO was enacted in 1970 as a tool to combat organized crime, but it has been used in various contexts, including cases involving white-collar crime, corruption, and other forms of criminal conduct. 

RICO cases can be complex and require extensive investigation and legal expertise. They are often associated with high-profile prosecutions and civil lawsuits aimed at dismantling criminal enterprises and recovering ill-gotten gains.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is an attempt to disguise where money is coming from because the money was obtained through illegal activities. By laundering the money, the defendants can introduce it as lawful money into the U.S. financial system.

Money laundering took flight in the 1920s, when the Mafia established laundromats as front business to disguise where their money was really coming from—criminal activity. Because laundromats traffic in lots of cash, it was easy for the Mafia to introduce their illicit proceeds and claim they were really proceeds from the laundry marts. 

Criminals today establish businesses for the same purpose. For example, someone with a booming drug business might open a nail salon so that they can launder the drug money through the business.

Because front businesses are not operated for profit, they can undercut the local West Palm Beach economy, which is why the government has an added incentive to root out money laundering.  The federal government’s Money Laundering Act, found at 18 USC § 1956 and § 1957, makes it a crime to participate in money laundering.

Why You Need a RICO Defense Attorney

The penalties for money laundering and racketeering are severe. For example, a person convicted of racketeering can face a fine up to $25,000 and up to 20 years for each count. Furthermore, the government can force the defendant to give back any profits and can also seek an injunction to seize your property to prevent you from transferring it. 

Many businesses can be outright destroyed if the government secures a conviction for racketeering, and prosecutors have an incentive to push their luck to exploit gray areas in the statute.

At The Skier Law Firm, P.A., we work tirelessly to defend your rights. Call us today at (561) 820-1508 or send us a message to make an appointment with our RICO defense lawyers.


  • First Degree Murder

    State vs. Bruny

    Not Guilty
  • Sexual Battery State vs. Acevedo Not Guilty
  • Racketeering (RICO) State vs. Lormestoir Dismissed
  • Attempted Second Degree Murder State vs Mckenley Dismissed
  • Burglary With A Battery State vs. Santos Not Guilty
  • “Scott is a busy man, but he always took the time to answer all questions and express himself when something wasn't clear to me.”

Racketeering (RICO)

The federal RICO Act was also adopted to prosecute Mafia activities in the 1970s. It provides for enhanced criminal penalties for activity as part of concerted criminal enterprises. RICO law prohibits a multitude of criminal activities which are defined under 18 U.S.C. § 1961, including:

  • Robbery
  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Gambling
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Dealing in a controlled substance
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Obstruction of justice

To be convicted, a defendant must have committed at least two acts of racketeering which cannot be more than 10 years apart. In other words, there must be a pattern of activity, and not an isolated criminal act.

Speak with a West Palm Beach Money Laundering & RICO Attorney

If you have been accused of money laundering or racketeering, you need an aggressive RICO defense attorney immediately. It is possible to defend against these charges, but your lawyer needs as much time as possible to survey the evidence and identify weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.

At the Skier Law Firm, our RICO defense attorneys in West Palm Beach are prepared to hold prosecutors to their burden of proof. To schedule your confidential initial consultation, please reach out to us today.