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Racketeering, Georgia RICO and Complex Civil Litigation

Practice Lead Contact: Steve Hill

We are a leading Atlanta RICO law firm. We take racketeering cases in state and federal courts to trial. With our experience and track record of success, we are the ones you want fighting for you in these types of cases.

If you find yourself in the midst of questionable financial activity, you must act to protect your interests. The stakes could be higher than you can imagine. If you are in a situation where you need assistance understanding these complex issues, you should contact us and set up a consultation.

Today, many cases – not just organized crime — may fall under RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations) including:

Larceny, Embezzlement and Theft

Violent Crimes in aid of Racketeering

Bribery and Other Financial Crimes

Theft or Labor or Services

Mail and Wire Fraud


Health Care Fraud

Investment Scams

Selling and Receiving Stolen Property

Our understanding of RICO doesn’t come from reading about it in a book. We have tried these cases to judges and juries alike. We have represented plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving alleged violations of RICO, and its Georgia state law counterpart (Georgia RICO), and we are skilled at understanding the differences between the federal and state RICO laws when it comes to advancing our clients’ best interests.

Recent representative matters:

Steve Hill, Blake Frye and John Mahaffey successfully defended Compass Golf, its owner and its affiliates in a series of motions for emergency relief stemming from federal RICO charges brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by a lender.  Upon being retained, HKW attorneys filed three motions to dismiss and briefs responding to each of the emergency motions, and then successfully argued against the emergency motions in court, leading to the denial of all motions, and causing the judge to comment in open court that she viewed the RICO case as weak.

Steve Hill and Blake Frye tried a two-week RICO case before Judge Richard Story in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia wherein we defended the founder of Moe’s Southwest Grill and Moe’s itself against over 50 franchisees claiming that our clients had engaged in an unlawful kickback scheme with food suppliers. The case attracted nationwide interest from the franchising and restaurant industries. Judge Story decided the case in our favor and awarded our clients over $980,000 in attorney’s fees and costs at the conclusion of the case. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decision exonerating our clients in this matter in full. To read more about this case, click on the links below:




Steve Hill has also successfully handled a dispute stemming from allegations that a chief executive officer of a health care company bribed a hospital executive. The complex nature of this dispute involved two different state court lawsuits brought in Tennessee, an inquiry by the United States Attorney, and a week-long private arbitration which forced a favorable settlement of all issues in all pending cases.

Steve Hill and Julie Burke won a RICO jury trial on behalf of a wireless company victimized by a pattern of product orders for which no payment was made. A Gwinnett County jury found that the serial non-payment amounted to a pattern of racketing activity – theft by deception and theft by conversion — and also found that the corporate veil was pierced, meaning that the owner of the defendant company was individually liable for all damages awarded. The jury also awarded attorney’s fees to our client. Under Georgia RICO, the trial judge then tripled the jury’s damages award.

Steve Hill and Julie Burke used Georgia RICO in a federal lawsuit to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and benefits owed to seventeen former employees of a failing company from the senior executives and owners of the company.

A RICO victim has the right to seek actual damages suffered, plus attorney’s fees and punitive damages. He or she is further entitled to three times the actual losses. Therefore, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, the stakes in these cases are often very high, making it important that you choose an experienced lawyer who knows how to win RICO cases.

Our team also handles cases involving other allegations of corruption, abuse of trust, and similar charges. We understand the gravity of these matters, and take the trust our clients place in us very seriously. Our experience teaches us that many of these cases can and should be resolved early and discretely. However, when that is not possible and a trial is imminent, we have a proven track record of success.