The word racketeering may immediately trigger images of mobsters, organized crime and the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. However, racketeering also exists at the state level. In Arizona, charges apply whenever an organization, syndicate, business or enterprises attempts to make money by illegal means.
Specifically in Arizona, the definition of racketeering is broad and covers many crimes - if they are committed for financial gain - including homicide, robbery, kidnapping, forgery, theft, bribery, gambling, extortion, trafficking of drugs and weapons, prostitution, money laundering and participating in a criminal syndicate.
The two main racketeering crimes in Arizona are: illegal control of an enterprise and illegal conducting an enterprise. An enterprise is defined in Arizona as any corporation, partnership, association, labor union or other legal entity, or any association that is not formally a legal entity.
Arizona Racketeering Laws at a Glance
The penalties for racketeering laws in Arizona are covered in the below table.
Illegal Control of an Enterprise
A person commits illegal control of an enterprise by using racketeering to acquire or maintain, by investment or otherwise, control of any enterprise. The penalties for illegal control of an enterprise are:
Illegally Conducting an Enterprise
A person commits illegally conducting an enterprise by being employed by or associated with any enterprise and conducting such enterprise's affairs through racketeering or participating directly or indirectly in the conduct of any enterprise that the person knows is being conducted through racketeering.
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.
Hiring a Minor
Further to the above, if a person hires, engages or uses a minor to prepare or complete the above crimes of illegal conduct of an enterprise or illegally conducting an enterprise, then they can be guilty of a class 2 felony, which is punishable by a minimum sentence of 3 years and a maximum sentence of 12.5 years. That person is also not eligible for probation, pardon, suspension of sentence or release on any basis until the sentence imposed by the court is served, or if the sentence is commuted.
A potential defense to racketeering is for a person to argue that they are not involved with an enterprise. Another potential defense is for a person to argue that they are not commiting racketeering because money, payment or financial gain is not involved.
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Racketeering is a serious charge that can carry serious criminal penalties, especially if a minor is involved. However, there may be defenses that could be relevant. If you want to learn more about the penalties or defenses associated with racketeering in Arizona, you can contact a local attorney for a free initial case review at no obligation today.
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