RICO laws brought to bear in wireless case - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

RICO laws brought to bear in wireless case

July 31, 2007

Albany --  One of two Albany businessmen charged in a major racketeering case is out of jail, while the other remains in jail after a judge set bond for both men.  

Christopher Weaver posted his $59,500 bond and was released from the Dougherty County Jail. Jimbo Adams remains behind bars on a $49,500  bond. The two face 37 counts of theft, criminal conspiracy to commit theft, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization or RICO charges.

Prosecutors say while Adams was Vice President of Alltel he approved fraudulent bills for service from Weaver's business On-Site Wireless and the two shared in profits of nearly a half million dollars for more than four years.

According to District Attorney Ken Hodges, for nearly seven years Jimbo Adams and Christopher Weaver profited from their arrangement. "We've shut down all of their known bank accounts, we're shutting down other known bank accounts, we're seizing all of their property," said Hodges. 

Hodges says it serves as a warning for others that his office will come down hard on crime whether it's stealing with a pen or with a gun. "We will go after anyone regardless of color, gender, or criteria who perpetrate crime here in Dougherty County."

It's the same case in Lee County, where Sheriff Harold Breeden's office busted six suspects at the top of a marijuana growing operation. "If you think of it as a pyramid there's not as many big guys obviously, just like in a corporation there's not as many bosses as underlings. So there are more street dealers, that's why you catch more," said Col. Duane Sapp.

While it may appear as if their focus has changed, it remains the same, preventing crime and enforcing the laws. "It's not that we target one over the other we operate on whatever information we get," said Sapp.

Information in Dougherty County could lead the District Attorney's office to target another fraudulent employee. "A large corporation that has a division here in Albany called me about a $20,000 theft that there was some issue about whether they just wanted to handle it, internally or not, well, once they brought it to my attention it's not going to be handled internally we're going to handle it because there was a violation of the law," said Hodges. 

Just like in Adams and Weaver's case justice will be just as swift. In Weaver's case, because of the RICO charges, the District Attorney's office seized his company, On-Site Wireless. An independent receiver, overseen by the D.A., has taken over its operations.

RICO charges require two or more acts or a particular crime. The crimes are typically thefts, but could include drug related crimes or homicide. RICO convictions can also enhance sentences against the offenders and offer prosecutors civil means to go after assets gained by the suspects and try to recover them for the state, victim, or both.

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