Racketeering refers to criminal activities that are carried out either to further the goals of an organization, or carried out on behalf of a criminal association or enterprise. The criminal activities can include anything from murder to money laundering to drug distribution, just to name a few. The federal government has enacted various laws to address racketeering including the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. These laws allow the federal government to prosecute and punish individuals involved in organized crime.
Many states, including Illinois, have also enacted racketeering laws similar to those imposed by the federal government. As is in many other states, racketeering is a serious offense in Illinois, and conviction under Illinois racketeering laws will result in imprisonment and an imposition of fines and/or restitution. It's important to note that in order to be convicted under Illinois racketeering laws, a person must intentionally and knowingly participate in the criminal activities.
Illinois Racketeering Laws Overview
Below you will find key provisions of racketeering laws in Illinois.
Illinois Statutes Chapter 720 Section 5/33-G-1, et seq.
Predicate activity: any act that is a Class 2 felony or higher, which includes (but is not limited to):
- first degree murder
- promoting prostitution
- criminal street gang recruitment
Note: Violations of certain provision of the Cannabis Control Act, Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act can also qualify as "predicate activity."
Pattern of predicate activity: At least 3 occurrences of predicate activity that are related to each other, have continuity between them, and are separate acts. To be defined as a "pattern" the occurrences must take place within 3 years of the first predicate activity (excluding any period of imprisonment).
- Intentionally participating in a pattern of predicate activity (directly or indirectly) or conspiring* to do so;
- Causing another to participate in a pattern of predicate activity; or
- Knowingly acquiring or maintaining (directly or indirectly) an interest in or control of any enterprise, real property, or personal property (including money) through a pattern of predicate activity.
*An overt act in furtherance of the agreement must be proven in order to convict someone of conspiracy. The overt act doesn't need to constitute a predicate activity.
- Participating in a pattern of predicate activity, causing another to do so, or conspiring to do so is a Class X felony, with a prison term of between 7 and 30 years, or the sentence applicable to the underlying predicate activity, whichever is higher. The sentence imposed also includes restitution, and/or a criminal fine up to $250,000 or twice the gross amount of any intended proceeds of the violation, whichever is higher.
- Knowingly acquiring interests from a pattern of predicate activity is a Class X felony, with a prison term of between 6 and 30 years. Restitution and/or a criminal fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross amount of any intended proceeds of the violation, whichever is higher will also be imposed.
- If an unlawful death results, the defendant will receive an enhanced term of imprisonment (at least 25 years to life) in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court if the death: (1) was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant; and (2) occurred when the defendant was otherwise engaged in the violation of this Article as a whole.
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.
Illinois Racketeering Laws: Related Resources
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Get Legal Help with Your Racketeering Case in Illinois
Illinois classifies racketeering as a serious crime, especially if someone dies as a result. If you've been charged with racketeering in Illinois, you may want to consult with an Illinois criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the evidence in your case and advocate on your behalf.