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Enterprise Corruption and the Organized Crime Control Act

The crime of enterprise corruption makes up nearly the entirety of New York Penal Law, Article 460. Article 460 is otherwise known as the Organized Crime Control Act, (OCCA) and was passed into law in 1986. The OCCA is essentially New York State’s adaptation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, (RICO). The RICO act was passed due to procedural and legal obstacles to what the federal government perceived to be a pervasive problem with organized crime. Although there were a great many critics of RICO, many other prominent leaders in the New York state government wanted a similar tool to prosecute organizations and the leaders of those organizations who they believed were in fact organized criminal enterprises and their bosses, but, without needing to rely on the federal government for action. Enterprise corruption is a class B felony. Enterprise Corruption in New York is a serious crime, he maximum penalty for conviction on a count of enterprise corruption is 25 years in prison.

If you or someone you know has been charged with enterprise corruption call our team of experienced New York enterprise corruption lawyers today for a free consultation.

Enterprise corruption has 3 elements: (1) a person must participate in a pattern of criminal activity; (2) the person must engage in one of the three proscribed forms of conduct, conducting or participating in the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern; acquiring or maintaining any interest in or control of an enterprise through a pattern; or investing the proceeds of a pattern in an enterprise; and (3) the person must have knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of its activities and be employed by or associated with that enterprise.

The legal meaning of a person is wider than the general meaning. New York Penal Law provides that a “Person” can also include a corporation, partnership, government entity, or unincorporated association. New York enterprise corruption case law supports the position that an unincorporated association of people such as a labor union may in fact be a person for OCCA purposes. The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department found that there was legal basis to insulate an unincorporated but very structured association from criminal liability where the association is alleged to be involved in pervasive corruption, solely because it is an unincorporated association. See, People v. Newspaper and Mail Deliverers' Union of New York and Vicinity. This legal principal essentially allows prosecutors a wide berth the charge groups of associated people, many of whom are completely morally innocent of any wrongdoing, with crimes, based on their association or general friendship with others who may be culpable.

A major stumbling block to prosecution of any OCCA crime is that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the “person” accused enterprise corruption participated in a pattern of criminal activity by committing at least three of the criminal acts included in the pattern, either as a principal or an accomplice. Each of the three acts must be tried before a jury and the jury must separately determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. Here is where a team of experienced New York enterprise corruption attorneys can help potentially secure your acquittal, reduce your jail sentence, or obtain the best possible outcome for you. Having your defense argued persuasively by a team of experienced trial attorneys who have a track record of winning trials and convincing jurors is the most crucial factor on winning any enterprise corruption case. If you or someone you know has been charged with enterprise corruption call our team of experienced enterprise corruption lawyers today for a free consultation.

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