New York Enterprise Corruption Lawyers
In New York, the crime of enterprise corruption is defined under New York Penal Law § 460.20 and is usually charged along with other felony crimes. In simple terms, one can be guilty of enterprise corruption, when that individual is either aware of criminal activity. Additionally, by participating in the criminal activity or associating with those that are involved in the criminal enterprise, you may also be charged with enterprise corruption.
More specifically, those involved in enterprise corruption may be engaged in criminal activity as a part of a long-term association for the purpose of perpetuating the criminal enterprise. This requires intentionally acting to remain involved with the enterprise and the individual may continue participating in criminal acts as a means of remaining involved with the criminal organization. They may even seek to gain control of the enterprise.
Often, those involved in enterprise corruption will also reinvest the proceeds from their criminal acts back into the criminal enterprise. The goal is to keep the larger enterprise operating through the individual acts of criminal activity. A conviction of enterprise corruption requires proof that the defendant continued a cycle of ongoing criminal activity and that those acts were committed to support the corrupt enterprise. As a class B felony, a conviction of enterprise corruption carries a prison term of up to 25 years.
Criminal Enterprise vs. Criminal Activity
There’s a clear distinction in New York law between these two concepts and it’s important to understand the differences. In terms of a criminal enterprise, this is an organization with a infrastructure for the purposes of promoting the commission of criminal acts. There must be at least two individuals involved and the purpose of the organization must consist of a larger goal than the commission of any one criminal act.
In defining criminal activity for the purposes of an enterprise corruption charge, at least three separate criminal acts must be involved and those acts must be recent, having been committed within the past 24 months. Of those three crimes, at least two of them must have been felonies, such as assault, including sexual assault, sex trafficking, insurance fraud, forgery, attempting to hinder prosecution, and strangulation.
New York Penal Law § 460.22 establishes the crime of aggravated enterprise corruption, which carries a stiffer penalty of up to life in prison. This charge requires that you have established a pattern of criminal activity and that at least two of your crimes were class A or class B felonies. Aggravated enterprise corruption is a A-1 felony.
Additionally, these crimes may also bring federal charges under the RICO Act. The RICO Act (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization) was passed in 1970 and was put in place to attack organized crime in the U.S. There are 35 acts related to criminal acts under this law and you can be found guilty of racketeering if you just commit two of them within a 10-year period. This law applies, whether the acts were committed directly by you, or by another individual within the criminal organization. In addition to serving prison time, a racketeering conviction gives victims the right to sue you for damages.
If you’re under investigation for violating New York’s enterprise corruption laws, which are based upon the federal RICO Act, it’s vital that you contact Spodek Law Group as soon as possible. These laws are complex, much more comprehensive than the facts provided in this brief overview, and it will take an experienced attorney to defend you. An experienced legal advocate will know how to interpret the laws as they apply to your specific situation, which will help them develop a strong defense strategy. Considering the possible prison terms you’re facing, it’s in your best interests to hire a skilled attorney as soon as you are able.