When most Coloradoans think of crimes associated with cannabis, their first thought is illegal possession and drug trafficking.
Those aren’t the only crimes that can be connected with drugs, though. Times are changing, and white-collar crime has expanded to include weed schemes as well.
Recently, a Colorado man was found guilty of marijuana fraud. He had been found guilty of racketeering and securities fraud, among other crimes, related to marijuana. He was sentenced to 12 years and had to pay millions in restitution to those he defrauded in his scheme.
You may be thinking about what racketeering and securities fraud might have to do with cannabis! Well, let’s take a closer look…
Racketeering in Colorado
Under the Colorado Organized Crime Act, any activity related to racketeering is illegal. In general, these types of crimes usually are committed by organized crime syndicates or gangs, but it can relate to drugs too.
Here’s a list of common criminal activities often linked to racketeering:
- Computer crimes
- Criminal mischief
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft
- Criminal extortion
- Human trafficking
- Attempt to influence a public servant
- Felony charitable fraud
- Bribery in sports
- Criminal impersonation
- Credit card fraud
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Drug crimes
- Identity theft
- Securities offenses
- Tampering with a victim or witness
- Extortionate extension of credit
Quite extensive, yes? And while every suspect is innocent until proven guilty, if you are convicted on a racketeering charge in Colorado, you can bet the penalties will be steep.
Colorado Penalties for Racketeering
In Colorado, it is a Class 2 felony to engage in racketeering activities. That can result in as many as 24 years in prison and fines up to $1 million. Anyone convicted of racketeering will also be subject to a mandatory parole period of five years.
It’s also important to note that when it comes to racketeering, not only will anyone convicted of it be sentenced to jail and to pay fines, an offender must also forfeit any interests they’ve acquired through their criminal activities to the state.
The conviction also signals a liability for losses caused or damage to property that may have occurred during the commission of any related crimes.
Securities Fraud in Colorado
Securities fraud is another felony in Colorado. Securities can be a complicated topic, but they’re not too difficult to understand once you strip the laws down to the basics. In Colorado, it is against the law for anyone to directly or indirectly:
- Utilize a device or scheme to defraud
- Engage in an act, course of business, or practice that operates fraudulently
- Make false statements of a material fact or fail to state material facts
Any of these is considered securities fraud if it is in connection to the purchase, offer, or sale of any security, which is any type of financial investment.
Penalties for Colorado Securities Fraud
Securities fraud is considered a Class 3 felony in Colorado. It can result in up to 12 years in prison and fines up to $750,000. Civil liability can also enter into the conviction, making the person responsible for losses that any defrauded by their schemes were subject to.
Being charged with either racketeering or securities fraud is serious, so it’s important to understand the charges as well as what outcomes can be faced as a result. If you can do that, then it is possible to defend yourself in court against charges as serious as these.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.