A man was recently convicted on a five-count indictment for his participation in an effort that was designed to steal from a labor union. This complicated case offers a good example of one of the many ways in which a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case arises. Because RICO is a complicated area of law, many people find it essential to obtain the assistance of a skilled criminal law attorney when appealing these cases.
How the Case Arose
The defendant is the former president of Steelworkers Local 5000, which is located in Middelburg, Ohio. The defendant is charged with submitting more than $185,000 in vouchers to receive benefits for his family’s expenses between 2010 and 2012. On appeal from a conviction, the defendant argued that two charges were actually one. The defendant further argued that due to an erroneous application of USSG 2E5.1(b)(1), his case was further marred. The defendant also argued that the 68 months he had spent in prison more than satisfied the maximum sentence for conspiracy, wire fraud, and honest services.
How the Panel of Judges Analyzed the Case
In agreeing with the defendant, a panel of judges first examined the standard of review. A judge then found that the defense’s pretrial motion to dismiss preserved the issue. Applying a de novo standard of review, a Judge analyzed the two conspiracy counts to decide if both counts constituted the same conspiracy. On this matter, the court ruled affirmatively. After considering the trial evidence, the panel instructed the district judge to vacate one of the convictions.
The judge also performed a de novo standard of review to analyze the defendant’s claim that the sentence was improperly enhanced. The judge in the case noted that the proper technique was to use the offense guideline that produces the highest offense level and advisory imprisonment range. The judge noted that the lower court had incorrectly added two points to the defendant’s offense level for aiding and abetting the commission of a crime of a union fiduciary. The mistake occurred because the defendant was not a union fiduciary.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act is a federal law designed to stop racketeering. Under RICO, an organization member can be charged with any type pattern of criminal activity. To constitute a pattern, an act must be made up of at least two activities within 10 years.
- Protection racketeering. This activity occurs when a criminal organization coerces someone to pay money for protection.
- Labor Racketeering. This offense refers to illegally using union or employee benefit plans for personal gain. In the case mentioned at the beginning of this offense, the defendant was alleged to have engaged in labor racketeering by taking money related to strike assistance for his personal gain.
Speak with a Seasoned Federal Criminal Appeal Attorney
Federal appeals are a particularly complex process. If you need the assistance of a skilled federal appeal attorney, do not hesitate to contact the Federal Criminal Law Center today