The client had come to us after being charged with a handful of felonies and misdemeanors, the most serious of which was a charge of Leading Organized Crime, which is our state’s analogue to the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute (RICO). In a RICO prosecution, a person who orchestrates or directs others to commit crimes as part of an ongoing criminal organization can be held responsible for those crimes as if they committed them directly. This federal law was used to convict the Gambino Crime Family in New York, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang in Oakland, and disgraced Wall Street trader Michael Milken.
In Washington, our own “RICO” statute (RCW 9A.82.060) says that anyone who “intentionally organizes, manages, directs, supervises, or finances any three or more persons with the intent to engage in a pattern of criminal profiteering activity” is guilty of a class A felony. The maximum punishment is life in prison, but our client’s potential prison term was a little more than 10 years.
Our client was not as infamous as John Gotti. Instead, he was accused of recruiting people to present forged prescriptions at local pharmacies in order to obtain painkillers. It was alleged by the government that the prescription presenters would get a small cash payment and our client would obtain the drugs.
Our investigation showed that the charges were overblown, the witnesses were either not credible, not available or both, and the government simply didn’t have the evidence to prove a “pattern of criminal profiteering activity.” Instead, this was a common identity theft, and our client took responsibility for that crime by pleading guilty.
The client was able to get into drug treatment and turn his life around, while the case worked its way through the system. The onset of Covid-19 delayed the case for a time, and the client used the time wisely, securing legitimate employment and housing. He became a productive member of society and completely stayed out of any further trouble.
In front of the judge, the incredible progress the client had made while the case was awaiting resolution was impressive enough that the judge authorized our client to serve his sentence on house arrest rather than any prison time.
Because of a motivated client and our diligent efforts on his behalf, the client won’t be going to prison for more than a decade of his life and can continue his journey of rehabilitation.
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