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Racketeering laws in Florida

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2023 | White Collar Crimes |

In Florida, offenses involving racketeering and illegal debts are governed by the Florida Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. Section 895.01 of the Florida RICO Act defines racketeering activity as committing, attempting, conspiring, soliciting, coercing or intimidating another to commit any assortment of crimes prohibited under Florida statutes. Crimes often associated with racketeering include various types of fraud, serious violent crimes, gambling, computer crimes, drug activity, gang activity or tampering with witnesses, among others.

Understanding racketeering in Florida

Section 895.02 identifies close to 50 different offenses that could be tied to racketeering offenses. Florida defines a pattern of racketeering activity as engaging in two or more incidents of racketeering conduct within five years. In terms of racketeering, an enterprise is defined as an individual or group, legally recognized or not, including businesses, gangs, government agencies, and unions, among others. Florida RICO laws prohibit anyone from funding or operating an enterprise with proceeds knowingly associated with illegal racketeering activities.

More on RICO laws in Florida

Once a legitimate, profitable business begins operating to conduct illegal activities, anyone involved may be charged with racketeering. The collection of unlawful debts, typically associated with gamblers and loan sharks, is also prohibited under the Florida RICO Act. A racketeering charge in Florida is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and life in prison, depending on the severity of the offenses.

Anyone convicted of profiting from racketeering may also be fined up to three times the value gained or three times the gross loss caused. Section 895.05 outlines the civil remedies courts can use to uphold the rights of the innocent. The courts may order RICO defendants to divest their interest in the enterprise or real property. Courts may also issue orders to reorganize the enterprise, suspend licenses or forfeit the charter of corporation.