According to A.R.S. 13-2312, the crime of illegal control of an enterprise occurs when a person uses racketeering (or related means) to maintain or acquire control of an enterprise by investment or something similar. Illegally conducting an enterprise and the illegal control of an enterprise are the two main crimes of racketeering in Arizona.
An enterprise is any association, legal entity, association that isn’t a legal entity, partnership, labor union, or corporation. The illegal control of an enterprise comes with serious consequences and is usually charged as a class 3 felony. Many times, it’s charged in addition to other crimes. In some cases, you could receive between 25 years and life in prison for this crime.
If you’ve been accused of the illegal control of an enterprise, it’s essential to seek out legal counsel as soon as possible.
Illegal Control of an Enterprise in Arizona
- This crime involves racketeering to acquire or maintain control of an enterprise
- Racketeering can refer to a large number of crimes, including robbery, drug sales, kidnapping, and more
- This conviction can include probation, time in jail, and hefty fines in addition to a permanent criminal record
- If a minor is involved in the crime, the penalties will typically be harsher
- Seeking legal guidance is essential for attaining a favorable outcome for your case
Both state and federal governments have systems in place to penalize criminals who engage in the illegal control of an enterprise. These activities have serious consequences for private and public institutions alike. If you’re associated with or employed by an enterprise and you conduct company affairs through racketeering or are aware that the company is being run using these means, you may receive this conviction.
What is Racketeering?
Racketeering may refer to an organized crime ring embezzling funds through a legitimate organization or a group running a racket (illegal business). For example, selling fake designer items out of your home could count as this crime.
Racketeering can also include obstructing police investigations, laundering money, forgery, theft, gambling, extortion, bribery, kidnapping, robbery, or illegal trafficking or drug sales for financial gain. Even homicide, prostitution, and trafficking weapons can qualify as racketeering if the crimes are committed for financial gain.
Penalties for the Crime
If you’re convicted of the illegal control of an enterprise, you may receive large fines, jail time, or lengthy probation. This severe charge often results in a class 3 felony conviction. In most cases, you’ll receive a harsher sentence if you committed multiple crimes or have prior charges on your record.
If it’s your first offense, you might receive probation and up to a year in jail, or up to 8.75 years in prison. If you have a prior conviction, you might receive a “prison only” sentence of up to 16.25 years behind cars. And, with two prior convictions, you might be facing 25 years of prison time.
Possible Defenses for the Illegal Control of an Enterprise
The main defense for this crime is a lack of knowledge, which occurs when someone is duped into participating in a business with proceeds that came from criminal activity. It could also involve someone selling investment contracts or lands that they don’t know are unregistered securities.
There are a number of other potential defenses that can help if you’ve been accused of the illegal control of an enterprise. In addition to a lack of knowledge, they include a lack of intent, Miranda rights violations, and more. In some circumstances, your defense could assert that you weren’t engaging in racketeering because financial gain, payment, or money wasn’t involved in the crime.
The law is always changing, so it’s imperative that you speak with a legal professional who knows the ropes, if you’ve been accused of the illegal control of an enterprise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions concerning the illegal control of an enterprise:
Q: What is the RICO act?
A: RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, which provides for civil causes of action and extended criminal penalties regarding actions taken in support of ongoing criminal organizations. The act allows syndicate leaders to be held accountable for crimes that they helped others commit or ordered them to commit.
According to the act, you may have to pay a $20,000 fine and spend up to 20 years behind bars for these crimes, and you must forfeit illegal interest or gains attained through the racketeering activity.
Q: What other crimes count as racketeering?
A: In addition to forgery, gambling, robbery, and homicide, racketeering can mean usury, extortion, obscenity, terrorism, and human smuggling. It can also apply to asserting false claims, reselling realty with the intention to defraud, counterfeiting marks, or reckless or intentional fraud. Again, the crime must have been committed for financial gain to qualify as racketeering according to the law.
Q: How does involving a minor in the illegal control of an enterprise impact sentencing?
A: If someone uses, engages, or hires a minor to complete or prepare to commit the crime of illegally controlling or conducting an enterprise, they might receive a class 2 felony charge. This charge has a minimum of 3 years in prison and a maximum of 12.5, and won’t come with eligibility for pardon, probation, release on any basis, or suspension of the sentence until they serve their sentence or it’s commuted. The penalties will be more severe if you have one or more prior offenses on your record.
What to Do if You’re Facing Charges
Receiving an illegal control of an enterprise conviction comes with lifelong consequences. If you’ve been accused of illegal control of an enterprise, you should speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The law is always changing, and an experienced legal professional will have access to the information you need. They can take a look at your case, answer your questions, and help you come up with the best plan of action. In some cases, they can help you reduce your penalties.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.