Protecting Your Inheritance from RICO Violations

The intent to commission, conspire to commission, or commission of a criminal act through intimidation, coercion, or solicitation of another for “racketeering activity” as defined by the  Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act  is illegal in New York. The RICO Act prohibits enterprises, including family businesses, from fraudulent and criminal racketeering activities while conducting interstate trade or foreign commerce. The costs associated with a RICO criminal proceeding can lead to excessive fees and the loss of an enterprise, including estate or trust held assets of a family business and its proceeds.  


A Lost Inheritance?

August 14, 2018 a federal US Court of Appeals declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a Connecticut Superior Court decision denying Virginia A. D’Addario damages for beneficiary rights to her mother’s estate inheritance coinciding with the conviction of her sibling, David D’Addario in a RICO violation case (D’Addario v. D’Addario, No. 17-1162 (2d Cir. 2018). The Second Circuit appellate court instead vacated and remanded the case, upholding her claim of legal expenses incurred in pursuance of complaint against her brother and the other RICO defendants; yet rested a claim for full distribution of estate assets under her name was not necessary as RICO losses were speculative; and the estate was not closed.  


New York RICO Law

Racketeering where enterprise corruption by act or association is evidenced by: 1) intentional conduct or participation; 2) acquisition or maintenance of an interest; 3) or investment of proceeds from criminal activity or conduct is a felony, New York Penal Code Article 460, et seq. RICO violation is found where an individual has engaged  in any of the three mentioned activities, or is evidenced to have “knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of its activities and was employed by or associated with that enterprise.”


The charge of association with a corrupt organization can be considered where a legitimate enterprise exists. Defenses within New York law include: duress or compulsion; entrapment; lack of knowledge of criminal enterprise or pattern of criminal activity; and withdrawal from the organization or activity. In New York, convicted RICO defendants can be sentenced for up to 20 years in prison; and responsible for $25,000 in restitution costs per offense.

RICO violations are a criminal and civil matter. Protect your estate or trust business assets from lost inheritance by contacting a licensed New York attorney at law.  

Estate Law Firm NY

New York RICO law guides court decision about an estate affected by a criminal law investigation. If an estate is involved in a RICO related crime, or other fraud or funds misappropriation case, a licensed attorney at law experienced at representing estate clients can assist you in protecting valuable assets. Ettinger Law Firm is a licensed New York attorney practice specializing in estate planning and probate litigation. Contact Ettinger Law Firm to schedule a consultation about an estate or trust law matter.     

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