Colorado Organized Crime Act (COCA)
The Colorado Organized Crime Act is used to prosecute those accused of crimes that are often engaged in by organized criminals and other types of criminal enterprises. These are very serious charges, which can include life-destroying penalties and may even lead to federal criminal charges against the accused.
It’s extremely important that the accused not underestimate the penalties involved with white collar crime charges and retain an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. It can take considerable time and resources to build a strong case for the defense, so we urge potential clients to contact us immediately for a consultation to begin working on your case.
What is COCA?
Numerous activities fall under COCA, including:
- Loan shark activities
- Selling stolen property
- Distribution of contraband substances
- Various forms of social exploitation
- Racketeering activities
The purpose of these statutes is to eradicate organized crime in the State of Colorado. These statutes strengthen the justice system to be better able to gather evidence, to enforce new and enhanced penalties and sanctions, and to enact new remedies to prevent the unlawful activities of organized criminals.
There are many activities prohibited by COCA, including:
- Receiving or deriving proceeds through a pattern of activity consistent with racketeering or collecting unlawful debts
- Acquiring or maintaining either direct or indirect interest in or control of real property or enterprises through a pattern of collecting unlawful debts or racketeering
- To directly or indirectly participate in or conduct any enterprise via collecting debt unlawfully or through a pattern of racketeering
- Endeavoring to violate any of these provisions against racketeering or conspiring to do so
A pattern of racketeering activity refers to the accused engaging in at least two specified racketeering acts within a ten-year period. These acts can include, among others:
- Criminal extortion
- Human trafficking
- Criminal mischief
- Computer crimes
- Aggravated vehicle theft
- Charitable fraud
- Money laundering
- ID theft
- Credit card fraud
- Criminal impersonation
- Influencing, or attempting to influence, a public servant unlawfully
- Sexual exploitation of children
- Intimidating a juror
- Witness or victim tampering
- Possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon
- Extortionate credit extension
- Drug crimes
- Securities offenses
The penalties for racketeering in Colorado can be quite severe, as it is considered a Class 2 felony. These penalties may include a minimum of 8 years to a maximum of 24 years in prison. They also come with fines ranging from $5,000 to $1 million. Furthermore, there is a mandatory minimum parole of 5 years for Class 2 felonies. If the accused has a prior history including other felonies, they will be ineligible to receive fines in lieu of incarceration.
If the charges lead to federal charges, it is usually under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. This can include up to 20 years in prison for each count of racketeering. Furthermore, if there are other charges involved, such as murder, the penalties can be increased to life in prison. These charges may also come with restitution, fines, and/or civil liability.
It is of the utmost importance that those facing charges under COCA retain an experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable criminal attorney. These cases can be complex, so it can take time to craft a strong defense.
For this reason, we recommend contacting Anaya & Chadderdon, P.C. immediately so that we can begin to build your case. Our 30 years of courtroom and negotiation experience make us the ideal representation for our clients accused of white collar crime.