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Florida’s RICO Act



Understanding Florida’s RICO Act: An Overview

Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act is a pivotal piece of legislation designed to combat organized crime and corruption by targeting the patterns of racketeering that underpin criminal enterprises. Mirroring the federal RICO Act with some variations, Florida’s version allows for the prosecution of individuals involved in long-term, organized criminal activities. This law is a powerful tool in the legal arsenal against white-collar crimes, offering both criminal penalties and civil liabilities.

What exactly constitutes a RICO violation in Florida? A RICO violation occurs when an individual, through association with an enterprise, participates directly or indirectly in a pattern of racketeering activity.

Racketeering activities can include a wide range of criminal offenses, from bribery and embezzlement to identity theft and money laundering. The Florida legislature has specifically defined various entities, including criminal gangs, as enterprises under the RICO Act, broadening the scope of prosecutable offenses.

Legal Documents and Gavel

To successfully prosecute under the RICO Act, the state must demonstrate the existence of an enterprise, the defendant’s association with this enterprise, and their participation in a pattern of racketeering activity. This pattern is established by proving at least two related acts of racketeering within a certain timeframe. Notably, Florida’s RICO statute permits the inclusion of historical convictions in establishing this pattern, adding a layer of complexity to these cases.

Given the intricate nature of RICO cases, which often involve voluminous evidence, including wiretaps, financial records, and more, the role of experienced defense attorneys becomes crucial. At Leppard Law, our team, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, leverages over 60 years of combined experience in criminal defense to navigate these complexities. Our strategic approach and dedication to client communication ensure that we are not just fighting for your legal rights but also for your peace of mind.

If you’re facing charges under Florida’s RICO Act, it’s imperative to have knowledgeable legal representation that understands both the law and the stakes. Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Let our expertise in racketeering defense and our commitment to excellence work for you.

Penalties Under Florida’s RICO Act

The consequences of a RICO Act violation in Florida are severe and multifaceted, designed to dismantle organized crime from the roots up. Individuals and entities found guilty face a range of penalties that can have a lasting impact on their freedom, financial stability, and overall future.

Gavel and Legal Books

Under Florida law, RICO violations are classified as first-degree felonies, carrying penalties of up to 30 years in prison. This stark reality underscores the gravity with which the state views racketeering and organized crime. Beyond imprisonment, convicted individuals may also face hefty fines, which can extend up to $10,000 or double the pecuniary gain derived from the criminal activity, whichever is greater.

Forfeiture of Assets

One of the most crippling aspects of RICO convictions is the forfeiture of assets. This can include both tangible and intangible property believed to be acquired through or used in the commission of racketeering activities. The aim here is to cut off the financial resources that fuel criminal enterprises, but this can also mean the loss of legitimately acquired assets for the accused and their families.

Impact of Penalties on Convicted Individuals

The ramifications of a RICO conviction extend far beyond the courtroom and the confines of a prison cell. The stigma of a felony conviction can tarnish an individual’s reputation, making it challenging to secure employment, obtain housing, or even maintain social relationships. Furthermore, the forfeiture of assets can leave families in financial ruin, stripping them of their homes, businesses, and life savings.

Given these dire consequences, it’s crucial for anyone facing RICO charges in Florida to seek experienced legal representation. At Leppard Law, our team understands the complexities of RICO cases and is prepared to mount a vigorous defense on your behalf. We leverage our extensive experience and strategic insights to challenge the prosecution’s case, aiming to minimize or altogether avoid the severe penalties associated with a RICO conviction.

If you or a loved one is facing RICO charges, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Leppard Law today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a consultation. Let our expertise in Florida’s RICO Act be your shield against the potential life-altering consequences of a conviction.

Defending Against RICO Charges in Florida

Being charged under Florida’s RICO Act can feel like being caught in a powerful storm, with the potential to sweep away your rights, freedom, and future. The complexity of RICO cases requires a defense strategy that’s not just robust but also meticulously tailored to navigate the intricate legal frameworks and the prosecution’s aggressive tactics.

At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of RICO charges and the critical importance of an aggressive defense. Our approach combines a deep understanding of Florida’s RICO Act with a commitment to exploring every legal avenue to protect our clients. Here’s how we stand up against RICO charges:

  • Challenging the Prosecution’s Evidence: We meticulously examine the prosecution’s evidence, looking for weaknesses, inconsistencies, or violations of your rights that could undermine their case.
  • Disputing the Existence of an Enterprise: A key element of RICO charges involves proving the existence of an enterprise. We challenge this assertion, questioning the structure, continuity, and purpose of the alleged enterprise.
  • Breaking Down the Pattern of Racketeering: We dissect the alleged pattern of racketeering activity, challenging the prosecution’s claims of relatedness and continuity between the purported criminal acts.

Role of Experienced Defense Attorneys

In the labyrinth of Florida’s RICO statutes, having seasoned defense attorneys by your side is not just an advantage—it’s a necessity. The attorneys at Leppard Law bring to the table not just years of experience but also a nuanced understanding of the RICO Act’s complexities. Here’s why our team makes a difference:

  • Insider Knowledge: With experience as former prosecutors, our attorneys know how the other side thinks and operates, enabling us to anticipate and counter their strategies effectively.
  • Comprehensive Legal Analysis: We conduct a thorough analysis of every facet of your case, from the initial investigation to the alleged criminal activities, ensuring no stone is left unturned in your defense.
  • Personalized Defense Strategies: Recognizing that no two cases are the same, we tailor our defense strategies to the specific circumstances and needs of each client, ensuring the most robust defense possible.

If you’re facing RICO charges in Florida, the stakes couldn’t be higher. But with Leppard Law, you’re not alone. Our team is ready to deploy its vast resources, legal acumen, and strategic insights to defend your rights and fight for your future. Don’t let RICO charges dictate the course of your life. Contact us at 407-476-4111 today for a consultation, and let us put our expertise to work for you.

Remember, the right defense can make all the difference. Whether it’s challenging the prosecution’s case, negotiating a favorable outcome, or fighting for you in court, Leppard Law is here to stand by your side. Explore our RICO defense strategies and learn how we can help protect your freedom and future.


Recent Amendments and Their Impact on Florida’s RICO Act

The legal landscape surrounding Florida’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act is ever-evolving, with recent amendments bringing significant changes to how RICO cases are prosecuted and defended in the Sunshine State. These legislative updates aim to adapt the RICO Act to the contemporary challenges of criminal enterprises, ensuring that the law remains a robust tool in the fight against organized crime.

One of the most notable changes in recent years is the inclusion of human smuggling as a predicate crime under the RICO Act, reflecting Florida’s commitment to combating this global issue. This amendment underscores the state’s recognition of the evolving nature of criminal enterprises and the need for the law to adapt accordingly.

Recent Amendments Impact on Florida's RICO Act

Additionally, the amendments have expanded the scope of the Act, allowing for a more comprehensive approach to prosecuting and dismantling criminal organizations. These changes not only increase the potential charges that can be brought under the RICO Act but also enhance the tools available to prosecutors, making it more challenging for criminal enterprises to operate within the state.

Case Studies: Application of Recent Amendments

To illustrate the impact of these amendments, consider the following case studies:

  • Case Study 1: A criminal organization involved in human smuggling was successfully prosecuted under the amended RICO Act. The inclusion of human smuggling as a predicate crime allowed for a comprehensive case to be built against the organization, leading to significant convictions.
  • Case Study 2: An enterprise engaged in a pattern of financial exploitation of the elderly was dismantled utilizing the expanded provisions of the RICO Act. The case highlighted the Act’s adaptability to protect vulnerable populations from organized crime.

These case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of the recent amendments in broadening the scope of the RICO Act to address contemporary criminal activities. They underscore the importance of staying abreast of legal changes and how they can be leveraged to combat organized crime more effectively.

At Leppard Law, we are committed to providing our clients with the most current and comprehensive defense strategies. Our deep understanding of the RICO Act, combined with our expertise in navigating its recent amendments, positions us uniquely to defend those accused of RICO violations in Florida. If you’re facing RICO charges, contact us at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Let our experienced team put their knowledge and skills to work for you.

Remember, the landscape of criminal law is constantly changing, and having a defense team that is well-versed in the latest legal developments is crucial. With Leppard Law, you’re not just getting a defense attorney; you’re gaining a strategic partner dedicated to fighting for your rights and freedom. Explore our RICO defense strategies today and see how we can assist you.


Infographic depicting the words Florida’s RICO Act

What constitutes a RICO violation under Florida’s RICO Act?

A RICO violation under Florida’s RICO Act involves participating in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. Specifically, this means:

  • Being associated with an enterprise.
  • Directly or indirectly participating in the enterprise by engaging in at least two incidents of racketeering activity.
  • The racketeering activities are related by similar intents, results, victims, methods of commission, or have other distinguishing characteristics that show they are not isolated incidents.

How severe are the penalties for a RICO conviction in Florida?

The penalties for a RICO conviction in Florida are quite severe, given the charge is a first-degree felony. Convicted individuals may face:

  • Up to 30 years in Florida State Prison.
  • Significant fines.
  • Forfeiture of assets used in or obtained through racketeering activities.

These penalties underscore the seriousness of RICO charges and the importance of a robust defense.

What are common defenses against RICO charges in Florida?

Defending against RICO charges often involves complex legal strategies, including:

  • Challenging the prosecution’s evidence of an enterprise or pattern of racketeering.
  • Arguing that alleged racketeering activities were isolated incidents and not part of a pattern.
  • Disputing the defendant’s association with or participation in the enterprise.

Each case requires a tailored approach to defense, given the specific circumstances and evidence involved.

Can prior convictions be used in a new RICO charge in Florida?

Yes, Florida’s RICO statute allows prosecutors to include historic convictions as part of a new RICO charge, provided that:

  • At least one of the predicate acts occurred within five years after the cause of action accrues or the conduct terminates.
  • The predicate incidents are related and show a pattern of racketeering activity.

This aspect of the law underscores the potential for past criminal activities to impact future legal challenges under the RICO Act.

In addition to specializing in Florida’s RICO Act, we offer a comprehensive range of legal services to meet the diverse needs of our clients. Explore our other practice areas:

Abuse of Public Position Crimes Prohibited Access to Stored Communications
Florida Anti-Tampering Act Bribery of a Public Servant
Criminal Investigations of Charities Computer Hacking
Deceptive Marketing Practices Economic Crimes
Embezzlement Environmental Crimes in Florida
Financial Exploitation of the Elderly Crimes of Extortion
Forgery Crimes Identity Theft Crimes in Florida
Federal Crime of Identity Theft Orlando Illegal Gambling Defense Lawyers

List of Top-Rated Florida’s RICO Act Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the right legal representation is crucial when facing charges under Florida’s RICO Act. Our seasoned attorneys, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, are committed to providing you with the strategic defense you need to navigate through these complex legal waters.

  • Joe Easton: With over 20 years of criminal defense experience, Joe Easton’s expertise as a former prosecutor and his dedication to justice make him a formidable advocate for your defense.
  • John Vallillo: John Vallillo brings over 25 years of experience to the table, combining his background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney to craft innovative and effective defense strategies.

Read Reviews from our White Collar Crimes Clients in Florida

At Leppard Law, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients and our track record of success. Our hard work is reflected in the positive feedback we receive, making us one of Central Florida’s top-rated White Collar Crimes law firms. Discover what our satisfied clients have to say about our services.



Infographic depicting the words Florida’s RICO Act

Take the First Step Towards Protecting Your Future Today

When you’re facing charges under Florida’s RICO Act, the weight of the situation can feel overwhelming. But remember, you don’t have to navigate this challenging time alone. At Leppard Law: White Collar Crimes Defense Attorneys, we understand the intricacies of these cases and the profound impact they can have on your life. That’s why we’re committed to offering not just legal representation, but a partnership that respects your individual needs and fights tirelessly for your rights.

Our team, led by the experienced Joe Easton and John Vallillo, brings over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience to the table. We’re not just attorneys; we’re your advocates, dedicated to securing the best possible outcome for your case. With a track record of success and a personal touch that sets us apart, we’re here to ensure that your voice is heard and your case is handled with the care it deserves.

  • Personalized Attention: Every case is unique, and we treat it as such, offering tailored advice and strategies.
  • Expertise and Experience: Benefit from our extensive experience in criminal defense and our deep understanding of Florida’s RICO Act.
  • Compassionate Support: We know how stressful legal challenges can be, and we’re here to offer support every step of the way.

Don’t let uncertainty about the future keep you from taking action. Leppard Law has been recognized for its commitment to excellence and client satisfaction, including being listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise from 2016-2024. Our accolades reflect our dedication to providing the highest level of service and achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule your free consultation. Let us show you what it means to have a team of dedicated, experienced attorneys by your side. At Leppard Law, we’re not just your lawyers; we’re your partners in navigating the legal system, committed to defending your rights and securing your future.

Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton