New York Penal Law 460.20 is a Class B Felony and is essentially this state’s answer to the federal Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (R.I.C.O.). The elements of the Enterprise Corruption law, or Organized Crime Control Act (O.C.C.A.) as it is sometimes known, are: the person must have knowledge of the criminal enterprise; the person must have participated or have an interest or ownership in the enterprise; and, is guilty of at least two other felonies, not including conspiracy, which are associated with the enterprise itself. Aggravated Enterprise Corruption (460.22) is a Class A-1 felony and can be charged in cases where the two felonies involve defendants who are armed at the time of their commission.
- Recent Case Results:
A client charged with Enterprise Corruption and alleged to be the mastermind of a fraud worth over $5 million. Our client faced severe criminal penalties with mandatory jail sentences, as well as civil penalties and possible criminal forfeiture of property. The Blanch Law Firm was able to secure a disposition with no jail time and a civil penalty. We also defend high profile cases, including a case recently where our client was the subject of an investigation into a prostitution ring and possible racketeering, which was stemming from the Eliot Spitzer/Emperor’s Club scandal. We’ve been covered in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the NY Post and other news outlets for our successful high profile criminal defense.
- Enterprise Corruption Defense:
Article 460 of New York State Law defines the state’s enterprise corruption laws, as well as the penalties. These laws target bribery and other types of activity associated with organized crime. The Blanch Law Firm vigorously defends clients who are caught up in enterprise corruption scandals and works tirelessly to see their name cleared. Our sophisticated understanding of the law stems from our senior attorney team, many of whom spent years in New York District Attorneys’ Offices. We possess a unique understanding of prosecution tactics, government investigations and New York white collar trials.
- State Penalties for Enterprise Corruption:
State laws governing enterprise corruption involve some of the most severe penalties of any felony. As a Class B felony, enterprise corruption is punishable by: Asset forfeiture – including interest gained on investments Minimum prison sentence for any conviction Heavy fines – Usually related to the amount of money involved in the prosecution of the case
- When is the best time to act?:
Immediately upon contact from law enforcement, defendants need to secure representation. Enterprise corruption investigations may have been ongoing for months, if not years, prior to any arrests being made or indictments handed down. Further, these cases, with rare exception, have multiple defendants and sometimes it’s beneficial to be in contact with co-defendants, which your attorney can facilitate. Lastly, once arrests are made or indictments found, the “legal clock” is ticking. While there are many burdens on the prosecution reference time, so are their also regarding the accused. Also, consider contacting an attorney if you are interviewed by law enforcement purportedly as a “witness.” Enterprise corruption cases are complex and the prosecution of these cases is even more so. After some arrests are made, investigative twists and turns may cause the state to focus on those who are in fact innocent bystanders, but become entangled sufficiently to justify arrest even if prosecution in the future might be unlikely.
- High profile/government cases of Enterprise Corruption:
In July 2013, eight crew members of the Bonanno crime family were arrested for allegedly corrupting Teamsters Local 917 on Long Island for drug trafficking and internet crimes. In October 2012, 111 people were arrested in the largest identity theft case in United States history. This enterprise operated for only three months and amassed 13 million dollars. Their scam included obtaining IRS refunds by thieves purporting to be legitimate tax payers. The loss in that part of this case may reach 5 billion dollars. To date, two defendants have pleaded guilty to identity theft. Twenty-five people were indicted on a multi-million dollar illegal nationwide sports betting ring in October 2012. This scheme involved utilizing internet sites which accepted bets on sporting events. It is alleged that they operated for 18 months. The government seized 7.6 million in cash through asset forfeiture. The Blanch Law Firm’s skilled White Collar Attorney defense team works tirelessly to defend anyone charged with enterprise corruption and related offenses. Our criminal defense firm has a long, successful reputation for defending against enterprise corruption charges, due in part to our results driven approach to criminal defense. We assign multiple attorneys to every case, assuring the best outcome possible for every client.
- Type of Enterprise crimes/charges:
Rarely, if ever, is there but one charge in an Enterprise Corruption case, if only because the elements of the law requires that two Class B felonies have also been committed. Conspiracy is almost always one of the several charges to be levied as these cases involve multiple defendants. Conspiracy is essentially an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime.
- Crimes related to Enterprise Corruption:
Many crimes are can be related to Enterprise Corruption to include, but are not limited to: Homicide Kidnapping Medical/Insurance Fraud Sale of Firearms Tax laws relating to cigarette and alcohol sales Environment and Pollution Laws Securities violations Internet gambling Prostitution Child Pornography Police Corruption Identity Theft Money Laundering Bid Rigging Kickback Schemes Grand Larceny Possession/Sales of Stolen Property Arson for Profit Drug Trafficking/Sales Hijacking Robbery Extortion
- Penalties and Punishment:
There is a mandatory minimum term of incarceration. Probation without prison time is not an option. The minimum sentence is 1 to 3 years and the maximum is 8 to 25 years. Fines and seizure of assets are also included in the penalty. Defendants may be sentenced to pay a fine not in excess of three times the gross value gained or three times the gross loss caused, whichever is greater. For defendants who derived “pecuniary value” or caused personal injury, property loss or other such loss, the victim(s) must receive restitution. Additionally, bank accounts can be frozen.
- Successful Defenses:
• Lack of knowledge of the criminal enterprise • Actions were the result of duress or compulsion • Entrapment • Another potential defense which has found its way through the New York Court of Appeals recently had to do with the nature of the internet and the lack of organizational structure that is needed to satisfy the definition of a criminal enterprise. In the past, crime organization were actual “brick and mortar” places located close in proximity to one another and to their victims. They had bosses and bosses of bosses in their structure. These people gave and took orders to others. The Enterprise Corruption law was written with this type of structure in mind and not the structure, or lack thereof, that the internet offers users. Primarily, these organizations are loose knit and often not hierarchical in structure. The point of the appeal was to ask the court for a ruling as to whether or not the state proved that there was in fact a criminal enterprise. Not all illegal industries are criminal enterprises. This appeal was successful for the defendants.
- Difference between New York Enterprise Corruption and federal R.I.C.O. statutes:
The R.I.C.O. statute has more vague language than does New York’s law and speaks to the broad power of the federal government. In R.I.C.O., for example, there is no requirement that the enterprise be criminal in nature while 460.20 clearly states this requirement. The term “enterprise” itself is not defined in the R.I.C.O. statute. Again, “pattern of racketeering” is not defined but only described as requiring at least two acts of racketeering activity. In addition to New York’s narrower elements, the penalties for R.I.C.O. violations differ. If found guilty of Enterprise Corruption, the penalty must include mandatory jail time of up to 25 years in prison with the minimum being one to three years. The maximum sentence on RICO violations is life in prison with a one year minimum. The Act recognizes that both the acts charged and the sentences imposed vary according to the law of the state where the acts occurred while, of course, there is no need for this consideration in the state law. While fines can be levied under both statutes, New York’s law can result in fines that are no more than 3 times the gross value of the gain or loss the defendant(s) caused. The parameters for RICO’s fines call for an amount greater than $5000.00 or double the amount of the defendant’s monetary gain from the commission of the crime. Along these same lines is the fact that RICO allows for civil lawsuits to be filed by victims against the perpetrators. In the New York law that is not possible, although any civil or criminal forfeitures that result in monetary seizures must go to the victim(s) in the Enterprise Corruption cases.
- Contact Us:
If you are facing bribery charges, a government investigation or some other enterprise corruption violation, you need a white collar attorney who can get you the best results. The Blanch Law Firm has been fighting for our clients’ freedom for years. Contact our criminal defense attorney team today by calling 212-736-3900.