Friday, January 17, 2014

Lawyers on Criminal and Civil RICO: Defenses & Distinctions

Lawyers tailoring defenses for criminal and or civil RICO cases take into account many factors. One key distinction between civil and criminal RICO cases is the burden of proof. In a criminal RICO case, a prosecutor must prove the defendant(s) guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil RICO case, only a preponderance of evidence must be shown. That is, a plaintiff's lawyer must prove the claims and facts in the civil complaint by way of clear and convincing evidence.

Distinctions between Criminal and Civil RICO cases

Civil RICO cases seek a different result, a compensatory gain for damages. Lawyers working on the defense may even agree to a settlement before a jury decision if they feel it is in their client's best interest and they may do so at any time during a trial. Prosecutors in criminal RICO cases vehemently seek imprisonment, fines, and restitution paid by the defendant.

A conviction on a criminal RICO case often results in a prompt filing of a civil RICO case. In the past, a civil white collar RICO case was not likely to prompt a criminal RICO case. However, today state and federal law enforcement agencies are pursuing white collar criminal RICO cases much more vigorously. White collar criminal RICO cases have been increasing and are on the rise in both state and federal courts as prosecutors see it as a very effective tool.

If you are being investigated as part of a RICO enterprise it is imperative you talk to lawyers with expertise in RICO cases, such as the lawyers from LibertyBell Law Group. LibertyBell Law Group has a team of criminal, civil, federal and white collar lawyers who put their brain power and mass experience together with their wealth of resources and experts to get you the best results. In fact, LibertyBell Law Groups has recently attained the coveted Top 100 Trial Lawyers award.

Civil RICO and Fraud

After working on numerous white collar crime cases, LibertyBell Law Group's lawyers know most civil RICO cases involve allegations of fraud. This parallels with government publications which commonly cite fraud as the main racketeering activity among white collar RICO cases. There are many classifications of fraud and the defenses for fraud, or any racketeering activity for that matter, used by top lawyers depend on the type and the unique characteristics of the case.

Defenses for Criminal RICO

LibertyBell Law Group's criminal lawyers build custom and winning defenses for RICO in both criminal case and civil cases. One of the strategies they may employ in defending a client in a criminal RICO case, especially when not representing other defendants in the same case, is to argue and prove the defendant was either not part of the criminal enterprise or to distance the client as much as possible from the enterprise. Another strategy lawyers employ is to build a strong criminal defense against the sole racketeering activity associated with our client. This is more easily accomplished when the client is only associated with one or a few of the many racketeering activities alleged in the case. Of course, these defenses cannot be applied to all cases as all cases are not the same. Our criminal lawyers know the best defense is always a custom made defense tailored to fit the client exactly; it surprises the prosecutor and throws him/her off the balance and stays ahead.

Defenses for White Collar Civil RICO

White Collar RICO cases generally have both civil and criminal threads, however, more often than not private attorneys file civil claims for damages. White collar lawyers from LibertyBell Law Group may seek to prove there was no criminal intent or knowledge in a RICO case and can do so by proving lack of knowledge that is lost along lines of and levels of authority. While this may be an effective defense in a white collar criminal RICO case, defending a white collar civil RICO case requires a different strategy. A plaintiff in a civil RICO case is not concerned with the internal workings of a company as much as there is a concern for monetary losses. In other words, the legal definition of the business and how it relates to the "enterprise" is sought to be accountable for monetary losses in most white collar civil RICO cases.

Lawyers know that if fraudulent or criminal intent is proven this can result in substantially higher settlements. In other words, if the plaintiff successfully proves racketeering activities were carried out, such as mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering or others, the defendant will have to pay out substantially higher amounts of money. When there exists mountains of evidence that resulted in monetary losses to the plaintiff, white collar civil lawyers will seek to prove no criminal or fraudulent intent to minimize the settlement amount. White collar lawyers from LibertyBell Law Group also seek to preserve the public image and reputations of clients.