Corrupt Organizations in PA (Maximums and Defenses)

Corrupt organizations (commonly called “Pennsylvania RICO” or PACO) is a felony of the first degree if you are convicted or plead guilty to this crime. This charge is frequently charged in addition to drug offenses. Prosecutors love this charge because they can “stack it” (add it’s penalties) to any penalties for the drug offense or put you on abnormally long periods of probation in addition to whatever jail time they want to give you on the drug charge. When folks ask: “Who is the best Corrupt Organizations attorney near me?” The answer is always The McShane Firm. When you need the best drug defense lawyer, contact us. We fight.


The Law:

You can read the exact statute here: 18 P.S. § 911.  Corrupt organizations.

Here is the federal charge entitled:Racketeer Influenced and corrupt Organizations Act conspiracy under 18 U.S.C.S. § 1962 The federal a PA crimes are very similar to one anther in terms of their language.


Maximum Penalties for PA Corrupt Organizations:

If you plead guilty to this or are found guilty, PACO is a Felony of the First Degree. All felonies of the the first degree have a maximum penalty of jail not more than 20 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.00.

But with a felony conviction there is just so much more to worry about. In truth, jail is temporary. The conviction and its consequences are permanent. You must consider Felony Conviction Consequences in Pennsylvania.

Again, this is if the worst thing happens. We make sure the worst doesn’t happen. Let’s see how we can fight and beat the government, ok?

What the government needs to prove for a conviction for § 911.  Corrupt organizations?

Alternative one

The government has to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. the accused
  2. received
  3. any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity
  4. in which such person participated as a principal,
  5. to use or invest, directly or indirectly,
  6. any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income,
  7. in the acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of,
  8. any enterprise

Alternative two

The government has to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. the accused
  2. through a pattern of racketeering activity
  3. acquired or maintained,
  4. directly or indirectly,
  5. any interest in or control of any enterprise.

Alternative three

The government has to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. the accused
  2. was employed by or associated with
  3. any enterprise
  4. to conduct or participate,
  5. directly or indirectly,
  6. in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity.

Alternative four

The government has to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. the accused
  2. conspired to
  3. violate any of the alternatives above.


What on earth does that mean?

First let’s look at some useful definitions. They will in turn lead us to defenses for PACO. There are a lot of technical aspects beyond just simply “I wasn’t involved” or “they got the wrong guy” in terms of a defense for Pennsylvania Corrupt Organization charges.

Definition of “Racketeering activity” for Pennsylvania Corrupt Organization charges

It means all of the following violations underlying this offense:

  • Chapter 25 (relating to criminal homicide)
  • Section 2706 (relating to terroristic threats)
  • Chapter 29 (relating to kidnapping)
  • Chapter 30 (relating to human trafficking)
  • Chapter 33 (relating to arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction)
  • Chapter 37 (relating to robbery)
  • Chapter 39 (relating to theft and related offenses)
  • Section 4108 (relating to commercial bribery and breach of duty to act disinterestedly)
  • Section 4109 (relating to rigging publicly exhibited contest)
  • Section 4117 (relating to insurance fraud)
  • Chapter 47 (relating to bribery and corrupt influence)
  • Chapter 49 (relating to falsification and intimidation)
  • Section 5111 (relating to dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities)
  • Section 5512 (relating to lotteries, etc.)
  • Section 5513 (relating to gambling devices, gambling, etc.)
  • Section 5514 (relating to pool selling and bookmaking)
  • Chapter 59 (relating to public indecency)
  • An offense indictable under section 13 of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (relating to the sale and dispensing of narcotic drugs)
  • An offense indictable under 4 Pa.C.S. Pt. II (relating to gaming).

A conspiracy to commit any of the above.

Further, included in the definition of Racketeering Activities is the collection of any money or other property in full or partial satisfaction of a debt which arose as the result of the lending of money or other property at a rate of interest exceeding 25% per annum or the equivalent rate for a longer or shorter period, where not otherwise authorized by law.

Definition of “Enterprise” for Pennsylvania Corrupt Organization charges

“Enterprise” means any individual, partnership, corporation, association or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity, engaged in commerce and includes legitimate as well as illegitimate entities and governmental entities.

Beyond a reasonable doubt

First, it’s about a mindset. Even experienced criminal defense attorneys adopt the wrong mindset. When you are charged with any crime, it is just a naked allegation. While it is true that the government does not have to prove the complete and total impossibility of guilt. A reasonable doubt is a doubt based upon reason and common sense—the kind of doubt that would make a reasonable person hesitate to act.

The jury’s role

Second, the power of the oath makes it so the jury must follow the law. The law includes the command that the accused at all times has the presumption of innocence. A criminal trial is not about where the jury is being asked to decide who told the better story or if the government told a story that is possible or even very very likely. 

The jury is not there to be a referee. That’s the judge. The jury is not standing in between the prosecutor and the accused and being asked to choose which side is better.

So in the jury deliberation room, they need to act consistent with that the person with the verdict slip marking the verdict as not guilty before a word is uttered, before the foreperson is selected and before anyone even sits. This is done with ink because of how hard it is to erase is like how hard it is to remove that presumption of innocence.

From not guilty to guilty not so easy

The only way the jury can lawfully and with good conscious give a verdict of guilty, and leave our side, is if the prosecutor presents such quantity and quality of evidence that the only reasonable interpretation of the facts is that of guilt.

A brick wall called reasonable doubt now stands before us all. Unless the government knocks down every brick, doubt still exists, and you go home. Reasonable doubt can come out of the evidence (what someone said, what someone said they saw, what someone said they did) or FROM A LACK OF EVIDENCE (somethings that the government didn’t explain, what doesn’t make sense, questions unanswered).