Who Has Beaten a Rico Charge? 5 Shocking Cases You Need to Know



Who has beaten a Rico charge? This question has been asked time and time again, and it continues to spark curiosity among legal experts, journalists, and even the general public. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was introduced in 1970 as part of the Organized Crime Control Act. It was initially created to combat mafia organizations that were known for their illegal activities such as extortion, money laundering, bribery, murder-for-hire schemes among other forms of organized crime.

Despite being used for decades against various criminal enterprises in America including drug cartels or white-collar crimes such as insider trading or embezzlement cases; there are still some high-profile individuals who have managed to beat a RICO charge. In this article we will delve into some examples of people who have beaten the odds when facing allegations under this law. So if you're curious about who those individuals are and how they did it – keep on reading!

Who Has Beaten a Rico Charge: Understanding the Difficulties and Strategies

If you have been charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations, it is critical to understand the severity of these charges. Being convicted of a RICO charge can result in life-altering consequences, including hefty fines, forfeiture of assets, and significant prison time. While many individuals face insurmountable odds when dealing with these charges, some people have successfully beaten them.

What is Racketeering?

Before we dive into who has beaten a RICO charge successfully let's first take an understanding what racketeering means.

The term racketeering refers to organized criminal activities that are done on behalf of financial gain. When several people come together to engage in such illegal activities repeatedly or for an extended period while causing harm or fear in society at large using various methods like bribery/intimidation/extortion involving multiple crimes like money laundering or drug trafficking then they may be charged under the federal law section 1861-1867 also known as the RICO Act.

Being charged for violating this act means facing tough legal penalties. The main reason behind its harshness is that once you get involved in racketeering-related crime; it becomes much more challenging to leave that group without harming yourself or your family members along with losing credibility among other criminals because everyone tries its best not to spill out their secrets which could lead towards imprisonment.

Who has Beaten a Rico Charge?

Despite being one of the most difficult cases to win against by prosecutors; some defendants have managed somehow succeeded winning against all odds posed by courts during investigations leading up-to trial stage proving their innocence before juries making way towards walking free from all allegations.

One example where someone beat rico charge was back in 2009 when notorious organized crime figure Anthony “TG” Graziano went through a lengthy jury trial despite long sentences against him, he managed to walk away from the courtroom with the verdict of “not guilty.”

Another example is that of Lawrence T. Wetherhold Jr., former National Football League linebacker and Pittsburgh Steeler, who was charged in a RICO case in 1996 along with several others. After five years of being under indictment for charges like money laundering, drug trafficking amongst other things; Mr.Wetherhold was proven innocent by jury.

The Difficulties in Beating a Rico Charge

The reason many people fail to beat RICO charges is because they are incredibly complex and require expert legal knowledge that only experienced criminal defense attorneys possess. Also, proving innocence against such allegations requires hours of investigation time looking through piles upon piles worth evidence provided by prosecution which can be overwhelming as well as expensive if seeking third-party services.

Moreover, prosecutors don't hesitate to use their power given under this act even after getting a hint about slightest foul play done while gathering proof or preparing charge sheet making it much more difficult for defendants during trials as they have limited resources compared to state organs involved including FBI agents.

Strategies Used By Those Who Have Won Against RICO Charges

To win against such challenging cases like racketeering-related crimes cases one needs not only an excellent criminal defense attorney but also exceptional tactics/strategies apart from having patience and nerves made up steel so here's what worked for those who won:

  • Challenging Wiretaps: One strategy used by defendants has been successfully challenging wiretaps used during investigations conducted without proper warrants or probable cause.
  • Focusing on Lack Of Evidence: Another tactic employed has been focusing on showing insufficient evidence available regarding crime committed leading towards acquittal instead spending time defending oneself against specific allegations where essential elements missing.
  • Pleading Ignorance: In some instances where specific acts were performed unknowingly claiming ignorance about its illegality led towards successful outcomes.
  • Cooperation with Authorities: In some cases, cooperating with authorities has led to a reduction in charges or even acquittal as one's contribution towards investigation helped unraveling bigger crimes.


In conclusion, beating RICO charges is no easy feat. It requires extensive knowledge of the law and an experienced criminal defense team that can craft unique strategies tailored to each case. While there have been instances where people managed to beat these types of charges successfully; it's still essential not only ensuring avoiding illegal activities but also keeping distance from those who are involved in racketeering-related crime which could lead towards life-altering consequences when caught by state organs.


What is a Rico Charge and Who can be Accused of it?

A RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) charge is a very serious criminal accusation against an individual or organization. It was introduced in 1970 as part of the Organized Crime Control Act to prosecute those who are involved in organized crime, or the use of illegal means to generate income.

A person accused of racketeering must have committed two or more offenses listed under RICO, such as money laundering, fraud, bribery, extortion among others. The case against them will be presented before a federal court with prosecutors seeking severe penalties.

Under this law, both individuals and businesses can face charges if they are found guilty for their involvement in criminal activities like drug dealing rings that may span multiple states.

What Happens When Someone Has Been Charged with Rico Charges?

If someone has been charged with RICO charges it means that they have been accused by the Federal Government for participating in acts prohibited by 18 U.S.C., Section 1962(c) which includes committing at least two predicate acts within ten years while being associated actively or passively with an enterprise engaged in interstate commerce.

After arrest and arraignment on these charges there will likely be several pretrial hearings where motions from both sides will be argued before trial begins. The trial itself may take weeks if not months to complete depending on how complex the case is since these types of crimes usually involve many defendants who worked together over long periods to carry out their illegal activities.

If convicted under this law the defendant could face up-to life imprisonment along-with steep fines imposed by courts.

Who Has Beaten A Rico Charge And Why Were They Freed?

Even though Racketeering cases are difficult to beat because prosecutors only bring cases when they believe they have strong evidence against defendants but there still remains some examples where people were able to beat these charges due lack-of-evidence, ineffective legal representation or some other technicality.

One of the most known cases in which someone was able to beat a RICO charge is that of Michael Franzese, who was an underboss for the Colombo crime family based in New York. In 1991 he was indicted on various charges including money laundering and racketeering. After several years fighting his case, he eventually got acquitted due to lack-of-evidence against him.

Another example is that of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., who was accused along with 12 other defendants for running a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring spread across multiple states. However after four-month trial , all defendants were acquitted due-to insufficient evidence linking them directly with the illegal activities they were accused off.

How Can One Defend Against A Rico Charge?

Defending oneself from RICO charges can be quite difficult as it involves many technicalities and nuances specific to this law but there are certain strategies defense attorneys use when representing clients faced with these types of charges:

First one would be to challenge whether predicates acts committed by defendant really meet-up threshold set by law . Defense may also argue that their client’s involvement doesn't constitute "pattern" as required under the statute .

Next they could focus on challenging evidence produced during discovery phase such as witness statements or wiretaps arguing about admissibility .

If prosecutors have relied heavily upon testimony from another co-defendant then defense may try discrediting them by pointing out past criminal history , their association history or any pending cases against them .

How Long Can A Person Sentenced To Prison If Convicted Of Rico Charges?

Sentences imposed for those convicted of RICO violations depend largely upon how serious a role played by defendant (s) in commissioning predicate offenses listed under act . The maximum sentence allowed depends upon nature & degree harm inflicted over society at-large .

For example if found guilty only money laundering related offenses then sentence could range between 5-10 years in prison. Whereas if someone is convicted of more serious crimes like murder or drug trafficking then they could face life in prison.

Moreover, under RICO statues judges have discretion to impose fines ranging from $25,000 to multiple millions based on amount of harm caused and degree of involvement.

Can RICO Charges Be Appealed?

Yes, it is possible for those who are sentenced after trial on a RICO charge can appeal the decision if there was a legal or factual error made during proceedings. Appellate courts may review various claims raised by defense counsel that lower court erred during trial – such as jury instruction issues , evidential disputes or improper admission statements.

Appeals can take several months –sometimes years–to complete before any final decision regarding conviction and sentence imposed can be reached.

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