George F. Hildebrandt
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It is Who You Know: Enterprise Corruption Charges

The law can sometimes be complicated and obscure to most people, especially those who find themselves charged with serious crimes and facing serious time if convicted. In few other instances is this confusion felt more than when a person is charged with the crime of enterprise corruption. Enterprise corruption is a crime that is often charged along with other serious felonies and generally seeks to prosecute a person for his involvement in a criminal organization or group. In many ways the New York charge of enterprise corruption is similar to a charge under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act).

Generally speaking, in New York a person may be found guilty of enterprise corruption if he or she participates in the criminal activity of a criminal enterprise or organization, or by financially investing in the criminal activities. For purposes of the enterprise corruption statute, a criminal enterprise, which is a group of people joined together in a common criminal goal, has distinct identifying characteristics including having a structure and organization that goes beyond a specific criminal activity. However, the person has to be aware of the nature of the organization, in addition to being employed by or belonging to the organization.

In some cases, when the prosecution charges a person with enterprise corruption, they may seek to do so only to leverage a plea deal with the accused. Enterprise corruption is a felony, and a person who is convicted of the charge may face serious time in prison. The intent of the New York legislature was not to authorize the prosecution of small players in an alleged criminal organization; therefore, prosecutors have the discretion to charge more minor crimes separately even when they seem to be connected to a larger scheme. The way the prosecution decides to charge the crime is up to them, but it is often not in the accused's favor when his or her crimes can be linked to a general pattern of crime and to the alleged criminal organization.

The government also has the right to seize any property that is said to be a fruit of, or profit from the criminal enterprise and its activities. The government may also seize business assets that are suspected to be from a criminal enterprise, or even cause the business activities to stop. Depending on a person's resources, the government seizure of property can make it harder for an accused to put forward a good defense.

Before agreeing to talk about charges of enterprise corruption or a crime that may arguably be linked to a criminal organization, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights. Any information that you give the police as to your affiliations or acquaintances might further tie you to an organization that the prosecution seeks to prove is criminal.

Contact an Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a friend has been charged with a state or federal crime, contact experienced Syracuse criminal defense attorney George F. Hildebrandt for a consultation.

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