Georgia RICO Charges Explained

Screen Shot 2022-06-10 at 1.58.57 PM

Manny Arora and Devin Rafus sat down recently to discuss the arrest of prominent Atlanta rappers Young Thug and Gunna. These two musicians were arrested as part of a broad RICO investigation by the Fulton County DA office. 28 alleged gang members were named in an 88-page indictment which includes 56 separate charges. These indictments allege violations of Georgia’s RICO act. 

Georgia’s RICO act is similar to its federal counterpart. Georgia is one of 33 states which has adopted its own ‘Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations’ (RICO) act. Georgia’s version of the law allows prosecutors to go after a group of people that are part of criminal organizations, like gangs. This is beneficial to prosecutors because it allows them to lump alleged members of a criminal organization together. Young Thug and Gunna are not the first members of Atlanta’s rap scene to be indicted on RICO charges. Almost a year to the date another Atlanta rapper, YFN Lucci, was indicted under RICO charges

Will the charges stick?

Federal RICO laws stipulate that a pattern of criminal activities under a criminal enterprise requires two acts of “racketeering” activity and the last act must be within the last 10 years. Similarly, Georgia’s laws require that the person or people accused must commit at least 2 predicate crimes. Most recently, the government has started using rap lyrics as evidence to prove their case.

What is a predicate crime?

A predicate crime, or predicate offense, is committing a crime as part of a much larger or more severe crime. Using money laundering as an example, generating illicit funds is a crime that is then tied to money laundering, which is another severely penalized crime. 

Penalties for violating the RICO Act

Under Georgia’s criminal codes there are over 30 types of offenses that can be included as predicate offenses under RICO. These following offenses can all be tied together to form a RICO case.

  • Bribery, Fraud, Embezzlement, Counterfeiting, Gambling, Money Laundering, Theft
  • Robbery, Dealing/trafficking controlled substances, Extortion, Arson, Kidnapping, Murder
  • Terrorism and Human Trafficking

Consequences for a RICO conviction could include hefty fines and restitution as well as up to 20 years of prison. Businesses or business interests acquired through unlawful activities could also be forfeited to the government. 

Of course, it’s too early to tell if these wide-reaching indictments will lead to prominent Atlanta rappers like Young Thug in being convicted. We can only comment from the outside looking in. Manny Arora and Devin Rafus believe that using the lyrics from songs as evidence of predicate crimes is shaky ground for the prosecution’s argument. Only time will tell what happens next. 

Facing gang-related criminal charges is not easy. Not every lawyer is cut out to defend you when the stakes get high. The Arora Law Firm is experienced in defending clients even in the toughest cases. Our experience is what sets us apart. Contact us today.


Related Posts