Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Understanding Embezzlement Charges

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement usually happens when an individual takes the property or money of another person, who has entrusted that individual with the responsibility of taking care of these assets for them. Embezzlement most often occurs in a business or employment setting. It is considered to be a white collar crime, and you should contact a criminal defense attorney when you are charged with embezzlement.

What are the Elements of Embezzlement?

For a person to be charged with embezzlement four elements must be present:

  • A fiduciary relationship (entrustment) between the two parties must be established

  • A perpetrator gained access to the property through a fiduciary relationship

  • A defendant must have taken ownership of the assets or transferred them over to another individual

  • A defendant intentionally committed the crime

How Does Embezzlement Happen?

Embezzlement can involve an employee who takes money from their employer. It may involve a bank teller, store clerk or financial advisor who takes money from a client or customer. It may include employees who have possession of company property, such as a company car, computer laptop or a corporate card. They use these items for their personal gain or individual use.

One of the most common forms of this crime is accounting embezzlement. This involves altering or changing records to cover up a theft involving money. The defendant is entrusted with the possession of the money and then is accused of using the money for their personal use or gain.

Many times, persons who commit embezzlement will take a lump sum of money at one time or they may steal small amounts of money over a longer period of time to afford getting caught.  Embezzlement may include falsifying records, fake billings, Ponzi schemes or creating payroll checks to non-existing employees.

What are Some Common Defenses Used in an Embezzlement Case?

Common defenses for embezzlement charges may include:

  • Duress: Forced to commit the crime through personal fear or potential physical harm

  • Not Enough Evidence: Insufficient evidence to prosecute a defendant in the case

  • Entrapment: Defendant was setup to commit the crime

  • No intent to commit a crime: Defendant intended to return the money or property

What are the Consequences of an Embezzlement Charge?

The consequences of an embezzlement charge can vary depending on the severity of the crime. In Massachusetts, an embezzlement charge is punishable under established larceny laws. Punishments may be established, according to the amount or valuation of the stolen property or money. In some cases, a conviction can result in up to five years in state prison or up to two years in jail, plus a hefty fine of up to $25,000.

What Should You Do if You are Charged with Embezzlement?

If you are a victim of embezzlement, you should call your local police. If the evidence warrants, law enforcement may submit your claim to the district attorney's office and start prosecution procedures. If you have been charged with committing embezzlement, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail or prison time. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Cybercrime

 

The cyber world has improved society in many outstanding ways, but it has also opened the door to a host of crimes. Cybercrimes are committed through social media, the internet, and other tools of modern technology. Many criminals use these items to abuse children, extort money, or steal identities. Years ago, criminals committed these crimes in person, but in today's cyber world, criminals can carry out these crimes with a simple smartphone or laptop computer. Below are some examples of cybercrimes.

Computer Crime

Computer crimes govern a very broad category, and a computer or the internet is utilized to commit these crimes. Often in a court of law, computer crimes can carry offenses or punishments equivalent to larceny or fraud. A criminal defense attorney can explain the possible outcomes of a computer crime conviction. Computer crimes may include:

  • Hacking a computer or interfering with an individual's computer access

  • Modifying, copying, using or damaging computer programs, software, or data

  • Utilizing a computer to commit a scam or fraud

  • Stealing data or information from a computer

  • Accessing a computer system or network without permission

  • Utilizing a computer to falsify information

  • Incorporating a virus into a computer system

Sexting

Sexting is the delivery of suggestive materials or nude photographs through a text message. Sexting can be performed on smartphones or computers. Sending suggestive pictures to minors can lead to criminal charges. Sending suggestive pictures featuring minors can lead to charges of distributing child pornography, which can have severe consequences. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction of sexting can cause the perpetrator to be placed on a lifelong sex offender registry.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that uses digital technology such as computers, smartphones, cell phones, social media, text messaging, chat rooms or websites to intimidate, harass, or stalk an individual. It can include threats of violence or the distribution of sexually explicit photos or messages to embarrass or shame the victim.

Cyberbullying is enforced under bullying laws in most states. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, cyberbullying falls under general criminal statutes related to bullying. It may involve harassment, stalking, or annoying conversation via phone or electronic communication. Stalking can happen in person or as a cybercrime using electronic technology.

Phishing

Phishing is a cybercrime by which an individual sends legitimate-appearing emails in an effort to obtain personal or financial data from email responders. Often the messages appear to come from legitimate and well-known websites that the recipient may use or be familiar with in business. Individuals should never respond to these bogus emails.

Identity Theft

One of the most serious cybercrimes is identity theft. Many identity thieves utilize the internet and electronic technology to steal personal information. The perpetrators can hack computers and steal social security numbers, bank accounts, personal emails, and other private information.

If you have been charged with committing a cybercrime, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail or prison time. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

The Consequences of Forgery

Janet is a little short on cash, so she slips into her grandmother's room and takes checks from her grandmother's purse, writes a check to herself for $700, and signs her grandmother's name. She goes to the bank and persuades the teller to cash the check. She visits the local mall and goes on a shopping spree by stealing grandma's money. She convinces herself it is not a crime since she was taking money from her grandmother. In the eyes of the law, though, Janet has committed a crime, and it is called forgery.

The above scenario occurs in numerous ways in real life, and the consequences can be serious. If you are charged with forgery or a related crime you should seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

Forgery can be punished as a felony by the state, as well as by the federal government. Forgery happens when someone decides to alter, use, or possess a falsely written document to commit fraud. The crime of forgery involves documents with legal significance, and they may include:

  • Personal Checks

  • Court seals & records

  • Property Deeds & Titles

  • Currency

  • Money orders

  • Promissory notes

  • Official Identification Cards

Making a signature without authorization or allowing another individual to fraudulently sign a document is punishable under forgery laws. The crime of uttering is closely related to forgery. Some courts consider them the same. Forgery involves the creation of a false document, and uttering is the act of knowingly using a forged document.  A person can be charged with uttering when he or she knowingly circulates or uses a forged document created by another person. In order for forgery to be proven, the following factors must be present:

  • The document must have some form of legal significance

  • Changing or altering the appearance of document

  • Making or creating a false document

  • Having the potential of defrauding a normal individual

  • Possessing the intent to deceive or defraud.

If you are charged with felony forgery, you may face hefty fines, loss or suspension of certain privileges and may spend time in federal prison. In the Commonwealth, the punishment for committing forgery may include fines, jail or prison. The laws and punishment for forgery in Massachusetts are outlined in 267 Ma. Gen. Laws Ann. § 2.

If you have been charged with committing forgery, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences can be devastating and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Look Out for Identity Thieves

Identity theft happens when someone steals the personal or financial information of someone else in an attempt to assume that individual's identity for financial gain. Identity theft or identity fraud is a serious crime. According to news reports, identity theft is on the rise and happens every two seconds in the US today. Thieves are constantly searching online or sifting through dumpsters and other places to find their next victim. Nobody is really immune from identity theft. Thieves look for personal data, such as social security numbers, driver's licenses, home addresses, credit card numbers or bank accounts. Identity thieves can be living in your house, as a roommate, friend, or family member.

You can be charged with identity theft when you intended to use the personal information of another person without actually going through with it. If you obtained or stole another person's personal information, you can be charged with identity fraud. The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act (ITPEA) has made the punishment for identity theft more severe for people who commit the crime. ITPEA says that anyone who obtains or steals another person's identity with the intent to use the information to commit a second crime, the perpetrator will have two additional years added to their punishment and no possibility of probation. A criminal defense attorney can explain how ITPEA may impact your case. Punishment for an identity theft conviction may include:

  • Jail time: A conviction may yield jail or prison time for years

  • Probation: The convicted may have to conform to mandatory imposed restrictions made by the court

  • Restitution: The perpetrator may have to pay back money taken from a victim

  • Fines: The courts may impose hefty fines on the defendant

According to Massachusetts Law, the crime of identity theft is committed as soon as the personal information is obtained with an intention to use it without permission. You can be punished by up to two and a half years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The court may order you to pay restitution to the victim, which may include the cost of repairing the victim's credit. The signs that you may have been a victim of identity theft (fraud) may include:

  • Not receiving monthly bills related to your accounts

  • Being denied credit

  • Receiving call from debt collectors

  • Seeing charges on your account that you did not make

  • Receiving credit cards that you did not request

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should request a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will alert lenders and creditors that they should take additional measures to verify your identity before lending money or extending credit. You also can place a freeze on each of your credit reports. A freeze prevents creditors from accessing your credit reports. You should contact any bank or company you are doing business with and tell them about the identity theft. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and make an Identity Theft Report. The FTC will guide you through the process. Call your local law enforcement and report the crime.

If you have been charged with committing identity theft (fraud), you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences can include jail time, fines and a conviction. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor

Adults and children cannot be friends when the adult is involved in activities that contribute to the delinquency of a child. Adults who encourage minors to take part in acts involving juvenile delinquency can be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor or (CDM).

In most states, a minor is anyone under the age of 18. The consequences of contributing to the delinquency of a minor can be serious. You should contact a criminal defense attorney if you are charged with this crime. Examples of contributing to the delinquency of a minor may include:

  • Serving alcohol to a child or minor

  • Buying alcohol for a minor

  • Using or manufacturing drugs in the presence of a minor

  • Exposing minors to illegal activities and behavior

  • Engaging in sexual misconduct with a child

  • Showing pornography to minors

  • Exposing minors to sexual exploitation, such as prostitution and sexual trafficking

You need to remember that if you are caught providing alcohol to a minor, you may not only be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor but also may be charged with providing alcohol to individuals under the legal drinking age of 21.

According to Massachusetts Law/Part1/TitleXVII/Chapter119/Section 63:

"Any person who shall be found to have caused, induced, abetted, or encouraged or contributed toward the delinquency of a child, or to have acted in any way tending to cause or induce such delinquency, may be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. The court may release on probation under section 87 of chapter 276, subject to such orders as it may make as to future conduct tending to cause, induce or contribute to such delinquency, or it may suspend sentence under section one of chapter 279, or before trial, with the defendant's consent, it may allow the defendant to enter into a recognizance, in such penal sum as the court may fix, conditioned to comply with such terms as the court may order for the promotion of the future welfare of the child, and the said case may then be placed on file. The provisions for recognizance in section 56 shall be applicable to cases arising hereunder. The divisions of the juvenile court department shall, within their respective territorial limits, have exclusive jurisdiction over complaints alleging violations of this section."

Since there are various levels and elements involving the contribution to the delinquency of a minor in Massachusetts Law, you should speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can examine your case and how the law affects your situation and select the best defense for your case.

In many instances, adults can be charged with CDM even if the minor does not really commit an act of delinquency. You can be charged with CDM if the activity intended to cause delinquency and endangerment of a child. In Massachusetts a crime of reckless endangerment of a child involves any reckless behavior or engagement that creates a risk of bodily harm or sexual abuse of a minor. If you fail to take appropriate actions to reduce these risks, you can be charged with the reckless endangerment of a child, as well. The punishment can include serving time in jail.

If you have been accused or arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, the consequences can be serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce your punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

What is Indecent Assault and Battery?

Accidentally rubbing against someone on a crowded subway train would not be considered indecent assault and battery, but intentionally rubbing the thigh of the person sitting next to you may very well be. This behavior may not only get you slapped or thrown off the train, but it also may get you put in jail. Indecent assault and battery is serious.

Indecent assault and battery is an unwanted sexual contact without rape. It may involve force, threat, or violence to the victim. The perpetrator of this crime has taken indecent liberties with a person without his or her consent. The person accused of this crime may be charged with both indecent assault and sexual assault. Many courts consider them the same, and the outcomes can be devastating for the accused. It is highly recommended you contact a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with indecent (sexual) assault and battery.

Behaviors involving indecent assault and battery may include:

  • Touching the private portions of another person's body without their consent

  • Rubbing against an individual for sexual pleasure against their will

  • Touching any body part of an unwilling person in a sexual nature to produce sexual gratification

In Massachusetts, indecent (sexual) assault and battery is considered to be any crime in which the perpetrator exposes another person to sexual touching that is offensive and forced upon the individual against their will. The Commonwealth offers severe penalties for indecent assault and battery and even more severe penalties when the victim is a child. According to Massachusetts Law (Chapter 265), the punishment for indecent assault and battery includes the following:

Section 13B. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years. A prosecution commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file. In a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of 14 years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which such defendant is being prosecuted.

Section 13H. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person who has attained age fourteen shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by imprisonment for not more than 2.5 years in a jail or house of correction.

Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on an elder or person with a disability, as defined in section 13K, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, and whoever commits a second or subsequent such offense shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 20 years. A prosecution commenced under this paragraph shall not be placed on file nor continued without a finding.

Section 13F. Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability knowing such person to have an intellectual disability shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than five years or not more than 10 years; and for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 10 years. Except in the case of a conviction for the first offense for violation of this section, the imposition or execution of the sentence shall not be suspended, and no probation or parole shall be granted until the minimum imprisonment herein provided for the offense shall have been served. This section shall not apply to the commission of an indecent assault and battery by a person with an intellectual disability upon another person with an intellectual disability.

Whoever commits an assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability knowing such person to have an intellectual disability shall for the first offense be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2.5 years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years; and, for a second or subsequent offense, by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years. This section shall not apply to the commission of an assault and battery by a mentally retarded person upon another mentally retarded person.

If you have been accused or arrested for indecent (sexual) assault on a child or adult, the consequences can be serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your case and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Danger of Gangs

 

As adolescents go through their teenage years, their parents are often concerned about several issues that affect their safety. One of these concerns may be a membership with a gang. While being a gang member is not a crime, the criminal activities surrounding a gang may get young people into trouble with the law. A qualified criminal defense attorney will be helpful when dealing with legal problems related to gang activity.

A gang is a group or organization consisting of three or more individuals who are focused on committing crimes. Often, one must actually commit a crime to be accepted in a particular organization. Usually, gangs will have a certain name or symbol to identify the group and distinguish the organization from other gangs. When gang members are young, between the ages of 13 and 24, they may be referred to as youth gangs. A youth gang operates much like an adult gang. They can be formal or informal. Youth gangs are involved in a variety of crimes that can impact a community in detrimental ways.

Experts say there are many reasons for a young person to be attracted to a gang. They may include the following:

  • A desire to make money

  • To gain status and acceptance

  • A fear for their safety

  • The need to seek protection through a gang membership

Although it is not illegal to be in a gang, some jurisdictions have laws in place designed to minimize gang activities or membership. There are laws to keep gang members from loitering and congregating on the streets. Sometimes, gang members conspire to commit a crime, and conspiracy is a crime. There can be harsh penalties for those who are involved in crimes while being a gang member. If you actively participate in a gang and promote a crime committed by the gang, you could face serious legal consequences. In fact, you could face jail time.

According to the National Gang Center, the most common age for youth to join a gang is 15 years old. Adolescent boys are more likely to be involved in gang activity than girls. Parents should be knowledgable of the characteristics associated with gang membership. These behaviors may include:

  • Withdrawing from family and longtime friends

  • Changes in school attendance and poor performance

  • Being extremely secretive

  • Staying out late with no good reason

  • Displaying negative opinions about law enforcement, teachers, and school officials

  • Wearing clothing of a particular color or items with special logos

  • Drastic changes in dress or appearance

  • Interest in gang-related music, movies, or videos

  • Suspected use of alcohol, inhalants, or narcotics

  • Possessing firearms and other weapons

  • Associating with gang-involved individuals

  • Attending gain-related functions and social events

Parents should talk with their children about gangs and the pitfalls of hanging out with individuals who are involved in gangs. Parents should get to know their children's friends, as well as their parents. Often the urge to join a gang or use drugs or alcohol comes from their friends and associations. Help your children overcome peer pressure by showing them ways to deal with pressure in an effective manner. Parents should spend quality time with their kids and show them parental love. Many times, kids are looking for love, attention, and acceptance in all the wrong places. Finally, tell your children about the legal consequences of gang associations, which can negatively impact their future.

If your child has been involved in a gang-related offense, the consequences can be severe and serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your child with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Danger of Gangs

As adolescents go through their teenage years, their parents are often concerned about several issues that affect their safety. One of these concerns may be a membership with a gang. While being a gang member is not a crime, the criminal activities surrounding a gang may get young people into trouble with the law. A qualified criminal defense attorney will be helpful when dealing with legal problems related to gang activity.

A gang is a group or organization consisting of three or more individuals who are focused on committing crimes. Often, one must actually commit a crime to be accepted in a particular organization. Usually, gangs will have a certain name or symbol to identify the group and distinguish the organization from other gangs. When gang members are young, between the ages of 13 and 24, they may be referred to as youth gangs. A youth gang operates much like an adult gang. They can be formal or informal. Youth gangs are involved in a variety of crimes that can impact a community in detrimental ways.

Experts say there are many reasons for a young person to be attracted to a gang. They may include the following:

  • A desire to make money

  • To gain status and acceptance

  • A fear for their safety

  • The need to seek protection through a gang membership

Although it is not illegal to be in a gang, some jurisdictions have laws in place designed to minimize gang activities or membership. There are laws to keep gang members from loitering and congregating on the streets. Sometimes, gang members conspire to commit a crime, and conspiracy is a crime. There can be harsh penalties for those who are involved in crimes while being a gang member. If you actively participate in a gang and promote a crime committed by the gang, you could face serious legal consequences. In fact, you could face jail time.

According to the National Gang Center, the most common age for youth to join a gang is 15 years old. Adolescent boys are more likely to be involved in gang activity than girls. Parents should be knowledgable of the characteristics associated with gang membership. These behaviors may include:

  • Withdrawing from family and longtime friends

  • Changes in school attendance and poor performance

  • Being extremely secretive

  • Staying out late with no good reason

  • Displaying negative opinions about law enforcement, teachers, and school officials

  • Wearing clothing of a particular color or items with special logos

  • Drastic changes in dress or appearance

  • Interest in gang-related music, movies, or videos

  • Suspected use of alcohol, inhalants, or narcotics

  • Possessing firearms and other weapons

  • Associating with gang-involved individuals

  • Attending gain-related functions and social events

Parents should talk with their children about gangs and the pitfalls of hanging out with individuals who are involved in gangs. Parents should get to know their children's friends, as well as their parents. Often the urge to join a gang or use drugs or alcohol comes from their friends and associations. Help your children overcome peer pressure by showing them ways to deal with pressure in an effective manner. Parents should spend quality time with their kids and show them parental love. Many times, kids are looking for love, attention, and acceptance in all the wrong places. Finally, tell your children about the legal consequences of gang associations, which can negatively impact their future.

If your child has been involved in a gang-related offense, the consequences can be severe and serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your child with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Pepper Spray, Self-Defense, and the Law

 

Pepper spray can be carried by the citizens of Massachusetts for the purpose of personal protection and self-defense. However, it is a crime to use pepper spray in the commission or perpetration of a crime. If you have been accused of using pepper spray in connection with a crime, you should consult a criminal defense attorney.

Pepper spray is also referred to as OC spray. It is a chemical that causes pain and discomfort in the eyes. Pepper spray is an inflammatory instrument that inflames tissues. It causes the eyes to close immediately and tissues of the nose and throat to swell. The effects of pepper spray last about 45 minutes.

It is often used by law enforcement and by the general public for self-defense. Many women use it for self-defense against criminals and potential attackers. Some women carry canisters in their purses or pockets when walking alone at night.

Pepper spray can be a useful self-defense mechanism. However, it can be used as a weapon against you, as well. If you accidentally misread a situation that was not an attack and use pepper spray, you could find yourself in legal trouble. It is important to understand how and when to use pepper spray. You should be well-versed on the law governing pepper spray in your area. If you are unsure about pepper spray laws and issues involving personal safety, self-defense, and pepper spray, you should consult with a qualified attorney.

A couple of years ago, the law concerning pepper spray changed in the Commonwealth. Now, Bostonians and other Commonwealth citizens can buy and carry pepper spray without having a firearm identification card (FID). Prior to the law change, individuals seeking to carry pepper spray in Massachusetts had to complete an application process. Firearms dealers may sell self-defense sprays to any person age 18 or over unless otherwise disqualified.

The Massachusetts legislation defines self-defense spray as Chemical Mace or any instrument that contains or emits a liquid, gas or powder created to deprive someone of his power or strength. The law prohibits the unlicensed sale of pepper spray. Retailers are required to be properly licensed under the Commonwealth's ammunition sale law. Violators could face punishment of six months to two years in jail.

The law may restrict certain people from purchasing pepper spray because of their mental health, criminal records, or involvement in substance abuse. Some criminal convictions and drug or weapon offenses may keep people from possessing pepper spray. Individuals who have been confined to a mental hospital or institution or treated for drug addiction or alcoholism may not be allowed to carry pepper spray in Massachusetts.

If you have been charged or arrested for illegal use, sale or possession of pepper spray, the consequences can be serious. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Racketeering is a Serious and Illegal Practice

 

There are individuals who want to make money quickly through illegal business practices. Sometimes these activities fall under the category of racketeering. Racketeering involves organized groups or organizations that operate illegal businesses called "rackets." Also, organized crime organizations may use legitimate companies to embezzle funds through racketeering. Often, illegal businesses organize large groups to keep the law-breaking operation profitable and under cover. These illegal activities may include extortion, loan sharking, bribery, or obstruction of justice. The effects of racketeering in corporate business can be far-reaching and involve a variety of white collar crimes that affect CEOs, shareholders, and even employees.   

Racketeering is often associated with organized crime that may include:

  • Gambling

  • Import or sale of illegal drugs

  • Prostitution or sex trafficking rings

  • Illegal weapon trafficking

  • Counterfeiting

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was passed by Congress in 1970 to keep people from engaging in racketeering activities. The federal law prosecutes individuals involved in illegal business practices and organized crimes. Many times, an individual accused or charged with racketeering uses his authority or influence to illegally persuade others to get involved in the criminal activities. RICO is complex, and you should hire an experienced criminal justice attorney who can explain the law and how it affects your particular case. Under RICO, a person can be prosecuted for racketeering when he/she is:

  • A person who owns or operates a business involved racketeering

  • A person associated with a business involved in racketeering

  • A person or organization that continuously performs illegal activities associated with racketeering

If you have been a victim of a racketeering organization, you should call law enforcement and report the crime. If the evidence warrants, law enforcement will forward your case to the Attorney General's office to prosecute the organization that committed the racketeering violation. The RICO Act enables a victim who was impacted by the activities of a racketeering group to file a civil lawsuit. On the other hand, if you have been accused of a RICO violation, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and defenses.

The federal RICO Act is used to punish racketeering crimes and activities in the Commonwealth. To convict someone in Massachusetts of racketeering, it is not required to prove the individual performed an illegal act him of herself.  It only has to be proven that the individual owned or managed a criminal organization and the organization regularly performed an illegal act.

A crime that is associated with organized crime, such as racketeering or a RICO offense can have a devastating outcome. It is considered to be one of the most serious crimes involving financial violations. Racketeering, or conspiring to commit racketeering, is a felony in the first degree. Perpetrators may have to pay hefty fines and can receive a sentence of 30 years in prison.

If you are accused of a RICO violation or racketeering, the consequences may be life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce your punishment. He can explain your rights and provide personalized legal services in your case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

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