New York Penal Law § 460.20: Enterprise corruption

Enterprise corruption is a very serious criminal offense. It is most often associated with white collar crime and organized crime. Because the New York legislature has concluded that organized crime is widespread and dangerous, it enacted laws to punish those involved in activities that amount to enterprise corruption. Under New York Penal Law § 460.20 you could be prosecuted for enterprise corruption if you knowingly are employed by a criminal enterprise and you:

  1. Intentionally participate in the criminal activity of the enterprise,
  2. Intentionally acquire any interest or control of an enterprise by conducting criminal activity, or
  3. Participate in a pattern of criminal activity and knowingly invest proceeds from the conduct into an enterprise.

Criminal activity is defined as at least 3 criminal acts, 2 of which must be felonies. One of the felonies must have been committed within 5 years of when the criminal action commenced, and each of the criminal acts must have occurred within 2 years of the prior criminal act.

A criminal act is any of several felonies listed in the statute including: assault, strangulation, sexual assault, sex trafficking, insurance fraud, forgery, and hindering prosecution.

Example

In People v. Joseph Stevens & Co. (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 2011) the Joseph Stevens & Co. securities firms and several of its employees were charged with enterprise corruption. The prosecutor based this charge on evidence that the defendant had launched a scheme that involved market manipulation, falsification of documents for new accounts, failure to properly disclose aspects of stock trades to customers, and wrongful obtaining of unauthorized commissions on the trading of shares. The underlying criminal acts include securities fraud, criminal possession of stolen property in the second, third and fourth degrees, and grand larceny in the second and third degrees.

Related Offenses
  1. Aggravated enterprise corruption: New York Penal Law § 460.22
Defenses

Successfully prosecuting a charge of enterprise corruption is very complicated. The prosecutor will have to prove that you were engaged in multiple crimes within a specific time period. The failure of the prosecutor to prove that you were involved in criminal activity as defined by the statute would be a strong defense to a charge of enterprise corruption. For example, if it is shown that you may have committed 2 misdemeanors and 1 felony within the required time period, while you may be convicted of those individual crimes, you would not be convicted of enterprise corruption. Enterprise corruption requires the commission of 2 felonies and 1 misdemeanor.

Sentence

Enterprise corruption is a Class B felony. If you are convicted of enterprise corruption the judge will sentence you to a mandatory prison sentence of up to 25 years.

New York Penal Law § 460.20: Enterprise corruption
  1. A person is guilty of enterprise corruption when, having knowledge of the existence of a criminal enterprise and the nature of its activities, and being employed by or associated with such enterprise, he: (a) intentionally conducts or participates in the affairs of an enterprise by participating in a pattern of criminal activity; or (b) intentionally acquires or maintains any interest in or control of an enterprise by participating in a pattern of criminal activity; or (c) participates in a pattern of criminal activity and knowingly invests any proceeds derived from that conduct, or any proceeds derived from the investment or use of those proceeds, in an enterprise.
  2. For purposes of this §, a person participates in a pattern of criminal activity when, with intent to participate in or advance the affairs of the criminal enterprise, he engages in conduct constituting, or, is criminally liable for pursuant to § 20.00 of this chapter, at least three of the criminal acts included in the pattern, provided that: (a) Two of his acts are felonies other than conspiracy; (b) Two of his acts, one of which is a felony, occurred within five years of the commencement of the criminal action; and (c) Each of his acts occurred within three years of a prior act.
  3. For purposes of this §, the enterprise corrupted in violation of subdivision one of this § need not be the criminal enterprise by which the person is employed or with which he is associated, and may be a legitimate enterprise.
New York Enterprise Corruption Lawyer

If you are charged with enterprise corruption it is critical that you have experienced representation as early in your case as possible. The enterprise corruption statute is complicated and involves allegations of several types of felony activity. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes such as criminal facilitation, conspiracy, and solicitation as well as crimes related to theft, drugs, arson, assault, burglary, and reckless endangerment. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations:

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