Federal Charges against FLDS?
We’ve noticed that there have recently been a number of comments and blog posts about the possibility of Federal charges against FLDS members. A Federal warrant was served at the time of the YFZ rescue in April, 2008. Earlier this year, Willie Jessop’s lawyer asserted a Fifth Amendment privilege on Wilie’s behalf, citing ongoing investigations into RICO, MANN act, money laundering, wire fraud, interference with child custody, tampering with evidence and obstruction — which led some of us to believe that there really was an active Federal investigation going on and perhaps a Federal grand jury had been convened. As Texas Bluesman pointed out in a recent post, Ranger Long refused to answer Piccaretta’s interview/deposition questions on the grounds that he may be called as a witness in a Federal grand jury — again leading many of us to believe that there was activity taking place on the Federal level.
Since then, however, we’ve heard nothing.
Two Federal criminal statutes that are often mentioned in connection with the FLDS activities are RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq) and the MANN act (aka United States White-Slave Traffic Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2421 et seq). Since there seems to be quite a bit of interest in this topic, let’s look at the text of the Federal statutes to see exactly what we’re talking about to aid in our discussions.
RICO – 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq
§ 1962. Prohibited activities
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal within the meaning of section 2, title 18, United States Code, to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce. A purchase of securities on the open market for purposes of investment, and without the intention of controlling or participating in the control of the issuer, or of assisting another to do so, shall not be unlawful under this subsection if the securities of the issuer held by the purchaser, the members of his immediate family, and his or their accomplices in any pattern or racketeering activity or the collection of an unlawful debt after such purchase do not amount in the aggregate to one percent of the outstanding securities of any one class, and do not confer, either in law or in fact, the power to elect one or more directors of the issuer.
MANN Act – 18 USC § 2421
2421 Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
2422 (a) Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
2423 (a) Transportation With Intent To Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.— A person who knowingly transports an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, with intent that the individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 10 years or for life.
(b) Travel With Intent To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct.— A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(c) Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct in Foreign Places.— Any United States citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who travels in foreign commerce, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(d) Ancillary Offenses.— Whoever, for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, arranges, induces, procures, or facilitates the travel of a person knowing that such a person is traveling in interstate commerce or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(e) Attempt and Conspiracy.— Whoever attempts or conspires to violate subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d) shall be punishable in the same manner as a completed violation of that subsection.
(f) Definition.— As used in this section, the term “illicit sexual conduct” means
(1) a sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
(2) any commercial sex act (as defined in section 1591) with a person under 18 years of age.
(g) Defense.— In a prosecution under this section based on illicit sexual conduct as defined in subsection (f)(2), it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant reasonably believed that the person with whom the defendant engaged in the commercial sex act had attained the age of 18 years.
2424 (a) Whoever keeps, maintains, controls, supports, or harbors in any house or place for the purpose of prostitution, or for any other immoral purpose, any individual, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the individual is an alien, shall file with the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization a statement in writing setting forth the name of such individual, the place at which that individual is kept, and all facts as to the date of that individual’s entry into the United States, the port through which that individual entered, that individual’s age, nationality, and parentage, and concerning that individual’s procuration to come to this country within the knowledge of such person; andWhoever fails within five business days after commencing to keep, maintain, control, support, or harbor in any house or place for the purpose of prostitution, or for any other immoral purpose, any alien individual to file such statement concerning such alien individual with the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization; orWhoever knowingly and willfully states falsely or fails to disclose in such statement any fact within that person’s knowledge or belief with reference to the age, nationality, or parentage of any such alien individual, or concerning that individual’s procuration to come to this country—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.
(b) In any prosecution brought under this section, if it appears that any such statement required is not on file in the office of the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, the person whose duty it is to file such statement shall be presumed to have failed to file said statement, unless such person or persons shall prove otherwise. No person shall be excused from furnishing the statement, as required by this section, on the ground or for the reason that the statement so required by that person, or the information therein contained, might tend to criminate that person or subject that person to a penalty or forfeiture, but no information contained in the statement or any evidence which is directly or indirectly derived from such information may be used against any person making such statement in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement or otherwise failing to comply with this section.
2425 Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, knowingly initiates the transmission of the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or electronic mail address of another individual, knowing that such other individual has not attained the age of 16 years, with the intent to entice, encourage, offer, or solicit any person to engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
2428 (a) In General.— The court, in imposing sentence on any person convicted of a violation of this chapter, shall order, in addition to any other sentence imposed and irrespective of any provision of State law, that such person shall forfeit to the United States—(1) such person’s interest in any property, real or personal, that was used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of such violation; and(2) any property, real or personal, constituting or derived from any proceeds that such person obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of such violation.(A) Any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of any violation of this chapter.(B) Any property, real or personal, that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to any violation of this chapter.
(2) Applicability of chapter 46.— The provisions of chapter 46 of this title relating to civil forfeitures shall apply to any seizure or civil forfeiture under this subsection.