Every example of business fraud is a serious matter. However, when two or more people or businesses work together to perpetrate a fraudulent act, the repercussions can affect hundreds if not thousands of people.
Those who suffer losses as a result of this type of activity have rights under the law, including the option to pursue civil claims for damages against the parties responsible. When multiple business entities are engaged in this behavior, they are all separately and jointly liable for the resulting damage.
A Denver Civil RICO lawyer is here to help individuals who have lost money or property because of an organized business fraud enterprise. One of our dedicated attorneys could provide more information about the state’s RICO and COCCA laws and work hard to hold the perpetrators of these acts responsible for their actions.
Both the federal government and the state legislature have passed a series of laws that make it illegal for a group of people or businesses to engage in fraudulent activity or racketeering. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq., the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act describes racketeering as any action or threat involving violence or extortion. This law makes racketeering punishable by more than one-year imprisonment.
Additionally, racketeering may involve a violation of the federal fraud laws. Federal authorities have broad powers to investigate and punish these activities. Similarly, the federal RICO act includes a civil right to seek a remedy for all parties who suffer harm. Typically, these lawsuits must demonstrate that a party has suffered financial harm because of a RICO violation. These parties have standing in both state and federal courts to seek not just their actual damages, but also treble damages and attorney’s fees. These lawsuits are most common following a pattern of mail or wire fraud that falls under the category of RICO. A Denver lawyer could help to pursue civil RICO claims for damages by linking individual instances of fraud to create a single pattern of illegal activity. With this information, a party may pursue a claim for compensation against all liable parties.
Engaging in a criminal enterprise is also illegal under state law. According to Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-17-104, it is unlawful for any party to collect funds from racketeering activity and use those funds to acquire an interest in any property. Additionally, it is illegal for any member of any enterprise to collect unlawful debt. This collection of laws is called the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA).
The same set of laws provides the victims of these activities with a civil remedy. Under state law, any person who suffers harm because of racketeering activity has a cause of action to demand compensation in civil court. In these cases, plaintiffs may be able to demand payment in the form of triple their actual damages. In these claims, it is necessary to demonstrate that a defendant knowingly violated COCCA.
Much like in RICO claims, plaintiffs in COCCA claims must be able to demonstrate how a defendant’s actions violated this law. In some cases, it may be possible to use a conviction in criminal court as evidence of wrongdoing. In other situations, a Denver lawyer could work to connect a pattern of behavior to COCCA violations and measure how those violations have impacted the plaintiff. Additionally, a RICO attorney could explain how possible criminal charges may interact with civil claims for compensation.
When business organizations band together to commit multiple instances of these offenses, they face stiff criminal penalties at both the state and federal levels.
In addition, the victims of these frauds have the power to seek compensation for their losses. The federal RICO act and the state COCCA laws provide the option for individuals to demand compensation in civil court for their losses. A Denver civil RICO attorney could help you understand these complex laws, how they may provide a route to payment, and take the lead in all necessary legal matters. Contact our office today to learn more.
Reynolds Gillette LLC