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James "Whitey" Bulger Arrested after More than Sixteen Years on FBI's Most Wanted List

After more than sixteen (16) years on the FBI's most wanted list, James "Whitey" Bulger was finally apprehended in Santa Monica, California. Bulger, a former Boston crime boss turned FBI informant, became a major embarrassment to federal authorities after the Boston Globe exposed that they were allowing Bulger to continue engaging in criminal activities while acting as a federal informant. Bulger was arrested on federal charges including nineteen (19) counts of murder, Racketeering/RICO violations, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy, and drug charges. Bulger was eighty-one (81) years old at the time of his arrest.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (usually called RICO) is a broad federal law intended to target heads of criminal organizations. The offense of "racketeering" is derived from the word "racket," which generally refers to an illegal business. "Rackets" are commonly associated organized crime syndicates, but racketeering laws have much broader application in federal courts. Racketeering laws are designed to make the head(s) of an organization responsible for the crimes committed by others on their behalf or to further the objectives of the criminal organization. RICO laws provide for extremely harsh criminal and civil penalties for such acts.

Racketeering laws can apply to any type of criminal activity from white collar offenses to drug offenses to violent crimes. The most common offenses targeted by federal authorities for RICO prosecution include mail fraud, wire fraud, drug trafficking, drug distribution, extortion and gun offenses. To be eligible for prosecution under RICO laws, there must be a pattern of criminal activity (meaning there must be more than one criminal act, and usually several such acts). The acts must be interrelated to advance the criminal organization, and not just isolated acts.

Racketeering/RICO charges are extremely serious. If you or someone you know has been charged with or is under investigation for Racketeering-related charges, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney right away. A Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer can assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, identifying appropriate defenses and developing the most aggressive defense strategy possible.