What is Racketeering in Arizona and What are the Penalties?
Racketeering is defined as “dishonest and fraudulent business dealings.” Within racketeering, individuals are seeking financial gain from criminal activity. Arizona law takes racketeering violations seriously. If you’re facing racketeering charges, you should find an Arizona criminal law attorney as soon as possible to start building your defense.
Illegal control of an enterprise
A.R.S. 13-2312 outlines what constitutes illegal control of an enterprise as:
“A person commits illegal control of an enterprise if such person, through racketeering or its proceeds, acquires or maintains, by investment or otherwise, control of any enterprise.”
Furthermore, you can be charged with racketeering if you participate in an enterprise where you are aware that its leaders are conducting the business using racketeering. Not reporting racketeering when you are made aware of it could leave you facing serious charges once the misconduct comes to light if the prosecution can prove you knew it was happening.
Additionally, a person who hires a minor to commit racketeering is also guilty of running a business with illegal control of an enterprise. Involving a minor in such inappropriate business behavior makes the charges much more serious.
These violations are considered a class 3 felony under Arizona law and getting a minor involved in the process raises those charges to a class 2 felony. When minors are involved, the person being charged with racketeering becomes ineligible for probation, suspension or early release until they have served their full sentence as ordered by the court.
The minimum sentence for a class 3 felony related to racketeering is 2 years in jail but you can be sentenced with as much as 8 years and 9 months in jail.
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What constitutes racketeering?
While the more high-profile racketeering cases involve mobs, human trafficking, drugs and other major offenses, some other offenses are much more common.
Fraud, such as arson for insurance money, is considered racketeering. Additionally, real estate is a very common way that people commit racketeering. Obtaining a false appraisal that is either inflated or too low for the property’s real value could get you in trouble with the law.
Individuals who falsify information on real estate advertisements or listings could be charged with racketeering. Real estate professionals who falsify credentials or licensing related to real estate could also face racketeering charges.
In addition to real estate fraud and illegal activity, money laundering is also considered racketeering. In money laundering, an individual makes it look like money that was made through illegal activity was actually made in a legitimate business.
Using large amounts of illegally obtained money is risky, and so these businesses find ways to make the money look legitimate through a legitimate source. Typically, criminals do this through a three-step process.
- The money is placed into the bookkeeping for a legitimate business.
- Using bookkeeping tricks and many transactions, the money launderer conceals the illegal money.
- From the legitimate business’ bank account, the criminal withdraws the money to use how they please after making it look legitimate.
Hiring an Arizona criminal defense attorney for racketeering
In most cases, racketeering is a serious criminal offense in Arizona, which means it has steep penalties. These are not cases where you should go it alone and hope for the best. Hire a good Arizona criminal defense attorney to prepare a strong case and help you avoid spending many years in jail.
There are many legitimate and strong defenses against racketeering charges that your attorney can use to help you avoid jail. In some circumstances, racketeering charges are just a large misunderstanding that can be cleared up with negotiations.