RICO and California Penal Code 186 PC: Understanding the Impact on Organized Crime

Explore the complexities of RICO and California Penal Code 186 PC with The Law Office of Valery Nechay. Learn how these laws impact criminal charges and defense strategies in California.

Racketeering in California

Racketeering involves the repeated commission of crimes, typically as part of an organized scheme, which can span from simple fraud to running illegal enterprises. Both state and federal laws in California address this complex issue, offering a structured approach to prosecuting these criminal activities. Under these laws, individuals can face serious penalties, including prison time and fines, if found guilty of engaging in such schemes.

You might be exploring this topic because racketeering charges could impact you or someone you know, or you may simply wish to understand the legal landscape surrounding these serious allegations. Given the severe consequences associated with racketeering, gaining a clear understanding of what it entails and how it is prosecuted is crucial.

The Law Office of Valery Nechay, located in California, defends those accused of racketeering under state and federal statutes. With a deep understanding of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act, our firm is well-equipped to navigate the complexities of these laws. We provide strategic legal advice and representation to help clients manage and potentially mitigate the repercussions of such serious charges.

Brief Overview of RICO

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a key federal law in the United States aimed at dismantling organized crime. It targets a range of illegal activities carried out as part of criminal enterprises, such as bribery, fraud, and extortion. RICO is distinctive because it allows the government to impose stringent penalties, including imprisonment, hefty fines, and the confiscation of assets derived from or used in criminal endeavors.

RICO’s unique feature is its ability to prosecute members of an organization for the collective crimes of the group, not just the crimes an individual personally commits. This means that if a person is part of an organization that is conducting illegal activities, they can be charged with crimes committed by their associates under the umbrella of the organization’s operations.

In legal scenarios where someone might face RICO charges, robust defense is crucial. For example, if a business owner is unknowingly pulled into fraudulent activities by their associates, they could face serious RICO charges. Here, the presumption of innocence is vital, and the individual would need professional legal defense to navigate the complexities of RICO, demonstrate their non-involvement in criminal activities, and ensure their rights are protected throughout the legal process. 

California Penal Code 186 PC Explained

California Penal Code 186 PC, also known as the California Control of Profits of Organized Crime Act, is the state’s counterpart to the federal RICO law. It specifically targets criminal profiteering, which encompasses any criminal activity where individuals or organizations generate illegal profits. The law addresses a wide array of criminal behaviors, detailing specific penalties for those involved, including fines, restitution to victims, and imprisonment. Additionally, it empowers state authorities to seize assets derived from such criminal activities, aiming to discourage organized crime by undermining its financial foundations.

The relationship between California Penal Code 186 PC and the federal RICO statute is significant as both laws aim to combat organized crime, yet they operate at different government levels. The federal RICO law is designed to address crimes affecting interstate or foreign commerce, providing federal prosecutors with the tools to combat organized crime that crosses state lines. In contrast, California’s law focuses on similar crimes within the state’s borders, giving local authorities the power to prosecute these crimes independently of the federal system.

Understanding these laws is crucial for anyone involved in or accused of participating in organized crime. The nuances between the state and federal laws, such as the scope of crimes covered and the specifics of legal prosecution, affect the defense strategies in both state and federal courts. 

Key Elements of RICO and Penal Code 186 PC Charges

Understanding the key elements of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) and California Penal Code 186 PC is crucial for anyone facing charges related to organized crime. Both laws are designed to dismantle criminal enterprises’ networks by targeting their economic foundations and ongoing criminal activities.

RICO: A Federal Focus on Organized Crime

RICO is a federal statute that addresses organized crime in a broad scope across the United States. It targets “racketeering activities,” which include a wide range of crimes such as extortion, fraud, murder, and more. To prosecute under RICO, it’s necessary to prove that these crimes are part of a “pattern of racketeering activity.” This means showing that the criminal acts are neither isolated nor sporadic but are continuous and related, pointing to the operation of an organized crime group.

Penal Code 186 PC: Targeting Criminal Profiteering in California

Similar to RICO, California’s Penal Code 186 PC focuses on criminal profiteering within the state. This law encompasses money laundering, embezzlement, drug trafficking, and other serious felonies. To secure a conviction under this statute, it’s essential to demonstrate the continuity and relationship between the criminal acts, confirming they are part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Key Elements to Establish in Charges Under RICO and Penal Code 186 PC:

  • Criminal enterprise involvement: Evidence must show the existence of an organized group engaged in continuous criminal conduct.
  • A pattern of racketeering or criminal profiteering behavior: For RICO, this involves various crimes like murder, kidnapping, or fraud; for PC 186, it includes activities such as grand theft or human trafficking.
  • Continuity of criminal activity: It’s crucial to prove that the crimes are linked and not isolated incidents, indicating a structured and persistent criminal operation.

Both RICO and Penal Code 186 PC use conspiracy charges, which allow prosecutors to target members of criminal organizations even with minimal direct evidence of an individual’s involvement in every specific criminal act. 

RICO vs Penal Code 186 PC: The Differences

The criteria between RICO and Penal Code 186 PC are not identical. While both require proving a pattern of criminal activity, the specific types of crimes involved and the proof required can differ significantly, such as:

Crime Category

RICO Offenses

Penal Code 186 PC Offenses

Homicide and Kidnap

Murder, Kidnapping

Grand Theft, Forgery

Organized Activity

Gambling, Drug Trafficking

Gambling, Drug Trafficking

Other Crimes


Pimping and Pandering

The broad reach of these laws targeting organized crime can sometimes ensnare individuals who are innocent of the charges against them. It can inadvertently implicate those who may have only peripheral or unintended connections to the actual crimes. For example, an innocent person could be linked to a criminal organization simply through routine business or personal associations, without any knowledge of the criminal activities being conducted. 

Defending Against RICO and 186 PC Charges

Defending against charges under the RICO Act and California’s Penal Code 186 PC may seem daunting at first. However, with the right defense strategies, it’s possible to challenge these serious allegations effectively. As defense attorneys, our primary job is to rigorously question the strength of the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Defense Strategies:

  • Challenging the Evidence: A common and critical defense is arguing that there is insufficient evidence to support the charges. This can undermine the prosecution’s case significantly.
  • Claiming Lack of Knowledge: This is especially relevant where the law requires proof of intent. If we can show that our client did not know about the criminal activities alleged, it weakens the case against them.
  • Highlighting Procedural Errors: Sometimes, the way evidence is collected or an arrest is made involves legal violations. Pointing out these errors can lead to evidence being deemed inadmissible, which can favor the defense.

A seasoned white-collar criminal defense attorney brings a deep understanding of these legal complexities to the table, ensuring that every angle is explored in defense of the client.

Contact The Law Office of Valery Nechay: Your Partner in Racketeering Defense

At The Law Office of Valery Nechay, we understand the gravity of these charges and the multifaceted approach required for an effective defense. Our commitment extends beyond simple legal representation; we protect our client’s right to a fair trial. This means ensuring that every piece of evidence is scrutinized and every defense strategy is meticulously planned and executed. 

With a proven track record in criminal representation, we fortify our clients’ defenses with thorough investigations and strategic legal counsel.

Facing racketeering charges requires a law firm that understands both the legal complexities and the personal strain such accusations bring. Our team practices breaking down legal jargon and dissecting the prosecution’s claims to craft a compelling defense. We recognize the emotional impact of criminal proceedings and are committed to supporting you every step of the way. At The Law Office of Valery Nechay, we offer personalized consultations to discuss your case and determine the best criminal defense strategies, whether you’re dealing with assault charges or issues related to a criminal protective order in California. Reach out to us for professional guidance through these challenging times.


If you are under investigation or charged with a crime, I will consult with you in person and at no charge to you.