What is enterprise corruption in New York State?
Enterprise corruption charges are very complex and highly sophisticated area of the law and you need to hire an attorney promptly if you are arrested for such an offense. Corruption charges can be devastating to your reputation and standing in the community, even if you aren’t convicted. Mere allegations of corruption can breed distrust and suspicion. If convicted on corruption charges, you can spend up to 25 years in prison and a lifetime as a convicted felon.
The New York Penal Code has a lengthy section of laws that outline exactly what constitutes corruption. It is important to note that corruption is not a single act. Rather, it is a series of repeated criminal acts in any number of scenarios. In many cases, corruption charges involve elements of organized crime or mafia-type activities such as:
- money laundering;
- loan sharking;
- illegal gambling;
- various types of fraud;
- drug or human trafficking.
Two of the main penal code sections dealing with enterprise corruption are:
- New York Penal Code § 460.20, Enterprise Corruption
- New York Penal Code § 460.22, Aggravated enterprise corruption
You may be charged with enterprise corruption if you are a member of a business, non-profit, agency or other entity that is committing illegal activity or if you knowingly profit from the criminal acts or are directly involved in the criminal activity. If you knowingly have any interest in the perpetuation of the criminal enterprise or the underlying “pattern of criminal acts,” you can face enterprise corruption charges. You may also be required to forfeit any interest in property or contractual rights if that interest was involved in, controlled by or contributed to the criminal enterprise. New York Penal Code § 460.30.
What is a “Pattern of Criminal Acts”?
The State of New York recognizes that organized crime and corruption are particularly corrosive and hard to control. Obviously, each smaller crime could be prosecuted individually but the larger system of criminal activity would not necessarily be thwarted. Thus, the enterprise corruption laws seek to undermine patterns of organized criminal activity.
NY Penal Code § 460.20 – Enterprise corruption:
You may be found guilty of enterprise corruption where, if you have knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of the enterprise’s activities and you are employed by or associated with the enterprise and you:
- Intentionally conduct or participate in the affairs of the enterprise’s criminal activity;
- Intentionally take or maintain interest or control of the enterprise’s criminal activity;
- Participate in a pattern of criminal activity and knowingly take or use proceeds from the illegal activity in an enterprise
A pattern of criminal activity exists when, with intent to participate in or advance the affairs of the criminal enterprise, you engage in at least three of the criminal acts included in the pattern, provided that:
- Two of your acts were felonies other than conspiracy;
- Two of your acts, one of which is a felony, occurred within five years of the; commencement of the criminal action; and
- Each of his acts occurred within three years of a prior act.
Taken collectively, this portion of the law establishes what is known as the “pattern of acts” necessary for prosecutors to build an enterprise corruption case.
The important thing to realize about this portion of Section 460.20 is that the enterprise that you are engaging in could be entirely legitimate. So long as you engaged in the criminal activity outlined above, the enterprise that you associate with or are employed by does not necessarily need to be an illegal one. Because enterprise corruption is a class B felony you be could subject to anywhere from 1-3 years in prison up to a maximum sentence of 25 years.
New York Penal Code § 460.22 – Aggravated enterprise corruption:
You may be charged with and found guilty of aggravated enterprise corruption if you committed the general crime of enterprise corruption as well as two or more of the acts, in a pattern or criminal activity, that are class B felonies or higher. There are numerous felonies that could apply to this section of the code. One of the more common felonies that will subject you to criminal liability for aggravated enterprise corruption is any armed felony (armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, homicide etc.) Aggravated enterprise corruption is a class A-1 felony and depending on the circumstances you could face anywhere from 25 years to life in prison.
An enterprise corruption conviction can destroy years of work on a legitimate business and significantly harm your family and financial wellbeing. As mentioned above, the state reserves the right to confiscate all proceeds that the convicted has gained from the criminal acts, and you may be forced to turn over the proceeds or property even before a final judgment on your case is entered. This is a very serious consequence and can cost you a great deal in time, money and labor. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney who knows how to combat these charges and can protect your property and reputation.
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Based on the descriptions above, it should be readily apparent that enterprise corruption is a notoriously tricky area of the law. Your defense attorney will have to examine the charges relating to the corruption but also the underlying crimes that may figure into a prosecution for aggravated enterprise corruption.
Attorney George Vomvolakis has extensive knowledge of the criminal justice system in New York and he has the real world experience to build a solid case on your behalf. He has appeared on numerous high profile television and news programs to share the expertise he earned as both a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor. He has been on both sides of the aisle and understands how the state will investigate and build its case against you. Call today for your complimentary case evaluation!