Racketeering is an offense that refers to any illegal activities that are being used to advance the role of an organization or are carried out on behalf of a criminal enterprise. The illegal activities are "rackets" or crime rings that can include anything from violent crime such as murder and kidnapping to endeavors such as gambling and money laundering. At the federal level, various laws exist to combat racketeering including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The laws were initially enacted to prosecute leaders and organizers of the rackets that could not be prosecuted because of a lack of evidence tying them to the criminal activities. Instead, the RICO laws make it possible to prosecute without needing evidence showing that the person committed the crimes directly; rather, it was enough to prove that the individual managed or owned the organization that performed the criminal acts.
Like many states, Georgia adopted its own version of anti-racketeering legislation that is modeled after the federal RICO laws. Although the RICO laws are often used to target those involved in organized crime or drug trafficking, the broad nature of the laws allows for prosecution of various types of criminal activities. In Georgia, it is often used to try and prove that a legal business is being used for illegal means. The law states that "It is unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity to acquire or maintain any interest in or control of any type of property or business."
To bring a case under Georgia's RICO law, there must be at least two underlying felonies -- such as fraud, witness tampering, or acts of terrorism --, in order to show a pattern of racketeering activity.
Georgia Racketeering Laws at a Glance
The chart below provides a summary of laws related to racketeering laws in Georgia, including links to important code sections.
Penalties and Sentencing
- A felony offense that is punishable by 5 - 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $25,000 on each count or three times the amount stolen.
- Civil remedies are a possibility.
- You may be ordered by a judge to give up any business interest or property gained through the RICO violation.
- Murder: Georgia Code Title 16-5-1
- Bribery: Georgia Code Title 16-10-2
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Georgia Racketeering Laws: Related Resources
Contact a Georgia Attorney about Your Racketeering Case
Being charged with racketeering means that you have been accused of at least two felonies; that could mean possible imprisonment. Anytime incarceration is a possibility, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney who can mount a solid defense. Find a Georgia attorney who can assess your options today.