Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act - RICO


At The Kirlew Law Firm, we have handled hundreds of racketeering cases. Our attorneys are well informed and qualified to turn the scales of justice in your favor. Racketeering takes on many different forms, both under federal and state laws, and involves organized crime. But all RICO charges are not the same. When someone thinks of a RICO case, they often think of the New York crime families, the Italian-American Mafia and pop culture figures like John Gotti.

But in reality, specifically in federal court, RICO charges are often brought against small business owners, investors, operators of pain management clinics, collision repair companies and a number of other kinds of enterprises that doesn’t involve violence. RICO charges can be brought and are still brought against individuals engaged in what we view as traditional gangs, in organized drug trafficking cases and illegal gambling operations. But in South Florida those kinds of cases are rare in federal court. What we primarily see is pain management clinics and small business owners indicated in RICO charges.

The people who often find themselves under investigation and under indictment are also relatively minor players in a larger conspiracy that they knew nothing about. Individuals who recruited someone to a pain management clinic, a person who allowed their identify to be used to open a pharmacy or a business, someone who filled prescripts or someone who worked at a collision repair center processing insurance claims. All these kinds of people can find themselves under indictment for a RICO case.

We recognize that if you are under investigation or indictment, you are in the midst of a life-changing event. We understand that you are stressed about losing your freedom, your assets and reputation. There is no easy solution but our lawyers know how to best navigate these kinds of complicated legal issues.

Let our Miami litigation firm, our legal team of investigators and experts fight for your freedom. Brian Kirlew, Esq. has the experience, the knowledge and the passion to help you turn the tide against the government. Without adequate representation, your reputation, freedom, and future are in danger. Call us at (305) 521-0484 for better assistance.


Racketeering is generally the act of acquiring businesses, revenue or proceeds through illegal activity. In particular, it often involves using a business to commit illegal acts like fraudulently billing an insurance plan or filing false insurance claims. It can also involve using a business to “clean” illegally derived income. Organized groups that deal in prohibited trades or businesses may be known as rackets. They may further divert funds towards illegal industries such as counterfeiting, cyber extortion, and more.

RICO or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act enlists more than 30 crimes at federal and state levels, including money laundering, extortion, bribery, embezzlement, financial and economic crimes, document fraud, human trafficking, gambling offenses, and sexual exploitation, referring as racketeering activities.

RICO is a federal law that declares it illegal to profit or manage businesses through illicit activities. It is unlawful, even indirectly, to participate or conspire to commit any wrong-doings under the RICO act. The law, however, permits law enforcement agencies to charge businesses or individuals involved in acts of racketeering. If found guilty, the accused faces imprisonment for the RICO aspect and any underlying crime that was committed as a part of the conspiracy.

In short, racketeering refers to operating a business via illegally derived income or using the company for unauthorized activities. RICO act was pass in the 1970s.  



RICO is not a specific crime. Prosecutors can charge you via the RICO act if:

  • A criminal enterprise existed
  • The enterprise affected interstate commerce
  • The defendant was associated with or employed by the enterprise
  • The defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity
  • The defendant participated in at least two acts of racketeering activity

If convicted under the RICO act, the accused can face:

  • Hefty fines ($10,000 or more)
  • A first-degree felony charge
  • Up to 30 years imprisonment
  • Even death sentence if a murder occurred during the commission of the conspiracy

Federal crimes are usually sentenced longer and more strictly compared to those imposed for state-level frauds. Having a knowledgeable racketeering attorney by your side is essential to fight for your rights and help you throughout the process. We will be able to explain the complexities of your case and possibly get your charges dismissed, charges reduced or even obtain an acquittal at trial.



Defending racketeering charges under RICO can be very challenging and complicated. So, working with our smart and skilled defense lawyers can help you navigate your legal rights. There are various defenses available depending upon the indictment. First of all, is a lack of knowledge of the conspiracy and that the parties were engaged in legal activity. Other potential defenses may include withdrawal from the conspiracy or a lack of predicated acts within the conspiracy. If you are under a federal or state investigation, our racketeering defense attorney Brian Kirlew, Esq. can answer your questions concerning your charges, rights, and defenses.


If you are under investigation for any organized crime, including racketeering and money laundering contact Brian Kirlew, Esq. immediately. We have a proven track record representing people accused in racketeering cases. Contact us at The Kirlew Law Firm to understand your way forward. All our consultations are free and confidential. Fill in this online contact form to schedule a free initial phone consultation or give us a call at (305) 521-0484 to learn how we can assist you with your case.

Brian Kirlew

Brian Kirlew

Heidi S. Kirlew

Heidi Kirlew

Antitrust laws were established to protect trade and commerce from abusive practices. Violations can include price-fixing, price discrimination, restraints, and monopolization.

This form of white-collar crime is increasingly common as more people use computers, phones, and other internet-enabled devices to commit acts of fraud, hacking, extortion, and theft.

Thieves take personal information to access banking and financial accounts, make purchases, open utility accounts, or steal tax refunds. In some cases, an identity thief may even use a false identity during an arrest.

This white-collar crime occurs when a thrift utilizes a stolen credit card or other information from that account to make unauthorized purchases. In some cases, they may use the stolen information to take out cash advances against the account.

The illicit selling of fake goods or services over the phone. Many phone scams are framed as a giveaway, or free offer in exchange for sensitive information, like access to banking or credit card accounts.

Often paired with another form of fraud, bankruptcy fraud can be the concealment of assets to prevent forfeiting them, filing incomplete or false forms, filing multiple times in different locations using fake or forged documents, and bribing of court-appointed trustees.

Largely committed by organized crime groups, this form of fraud includes performing unnecessary procedures to bill an insurance company, billing for services that were never rendered, and billing every step of one procedure as if they were individual procedures.

Environmental law makes actions like the illegal disposal of waste, improper storage of hazardous materials, or failure to comply with EPA and state regulations illegal.

An act committed to defraud an insurance company is considered a white-collar crime. This could include attempting to obtain benefits or advantages that an individual is not entitled to or when an insurer denies benefits that someone is due.

One of the most common forms of fraud, mail fraud is when the USPS or private carrier is used to commit a crime of deceit. This could be to obtain money or to sell and distribute illicit goods.

These forms of fraud start with a scheme to steal or obtain financial information by using false representation or promises of goods and services in return.

Crimes committed through extortion and coercion are considered racketeering. Generally, a racketeer obtains money or goods from someone using intimidation tactics or force.

Largely connected to federal government contracting or federally-funded programs, government fraud might involve public housing, agricultural programs, corporate subsidies, and bribery.

This form of white-collar crime is the deliberate failure to pay your taxes or the underpayment of the taxes you owe. It can be underreporting of income, overreporting of deductions, or improperly claiming tax credits and exemptions.

Also called investment fraud, securities fraud involves misrepresenting the information that investors use to make financial decisions.

This is the trading of the stock or securities of a public company that is based on non-public information about the company. This is the profiteering of information based on a company’s assets.

A bribe is the giving or receiving of something of value in order to influence the actions of another person or group.

The major focus of the FBI, public corruption covers a variety of crimes, including the violation of federal law by public officials, fraud related to the procurement, contracts, and funding of federal programs, and other crimes that are related to local, state, and federal governments.

By withholding assets, funds, or goods from an employer or business partner, you are committing an act of embezzlement.

Generally sponsored by foreign entities or outside corporations, economic espionage can target the U.S. government, U.S. companies, or other establishments and institutions. Economic espionage is the unlawful obtaining of financial information

Trade secrets are the information or assets that give a company an advantage over others in the market. The theft of these assets is when someone uses this information without consent of the business.

In addition to State White Collar crime, we also represent clients charged with Federal White Collar crimes,

which are regulated by Titles 18 and 26 of the United States Code. Some of these federal offenses include:

How are White Collar Crimes Investigated?

In almost every federal white-collar criminal investigation, the federal agents and local police officers involved in the case shadow their suspects for months and even years. They utilize wiretaps, subpoenaed bank records, videotape conversations and meetings, property and assets, business records, and cooperating witnesses. The agents often seek to make pre-indictment deals with codefendants or coworkers who they threaten to charge if they don’t talk.

The feds have unlimited resources and they are extremely patient in their investigations. Many times, an agent will get so committed to an investigation that they bend the rules, alleged they witnessed activity that they didn’t and innocent people get wrapped up in the conspiracy that they knew nothing about. This is why it is critical to contact a Miami white-collar attorney the moment you suspect you are the target of a white-collar criminal investigation. With the help of our investigators and forensic accountants, we can often mitigate the exposure a client may face in a white collar criminal prosecution.


White Collar

What is White-Collar Crime?

Generally, white-collar crime is investigated and prosecuted by federal authorities. This means that white-collar crime cases have higher conviction rates than other crimes. Federal prosecutors are able to leverage more resources to pursue a white-collar crime case and are encouraged to close the case quickly.

The punishment for a white-collar crime varies based on what level the crime is being prosecuted at, whether state or federal, and the amount of money involved in the crime. There are no set guidelines that dictate the severity of penalty based on the amount of money stolen; however, generally, larger amounts are punished more severely.

Since the 2002 and 2008 financial crises, there have been more penalties and convictions for white-collar crimes, and as such, penalties have become more severe. On average, a sentence for money laundering is about 48 months in prison. Those convicted of bribery could face 16 months, and those for fraud, 12 months. Tax offenses generally result in 16 months of jail time. And if there are more than five victims, the loss amount is in the millions as opposed to the thousands or the accused qualifies for a host of other enhancements, these penalties can be significantly higher.


When You Should Hire an Attorney When Convicted of a White Collar Crime?

Given the harsh nature of the penalties for white-collar crimes and that federal authorities often lead these investigations, you must hire an attorney in Miami as soon as you’re convicted. In some cases, defendants are only aware of the investigation just a few weeks or months before an arrest is made. It’s important to use any lead time you may have to build a case with an attorney.

While your attorney can’t stop an investigation, they can work with you to defend your rights before, during, and after the trial. If nothing else, you must have a legal representative with you whenever you deal with a federal investigator or while you’re being questioned.

Why You Need a Competent Attorney

When you work with a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at the Kirlew Law Firm, they’ll maintain clear lines of communication with the prosecution throughout your investigation. This could lead to a favorable negotiation before any arrests are made, or the formal prosecution starts.

More than just negotiations, a competent white-collar crime attorney can help draft legal defenses that can help your case. Our attorneys can cross-examine witnesses, manage information about the case, and challenge physical exhibits and financial records that may be used to seal your case. Ultimately, a talented attorney like Brian Kirlew can find small inconsistencies or faults in the prosecution to bolster your defense.


Contact a Miami White Collar Criminal Attorney today!

If you are being investigated for a White Collar crime at the state or federal level (or both), the sooner you get a qualified attorney on your side to protect your rights, the better. Brian Kirlew, Esq. is experienced and skilled at handling these complex and sensitive matters, and is here to represent you in court. Our criminal defense attorneys in Miami are proud to offer you a free phone consultation to ensure that we can best serve you. Contact us immediately to get started.