Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)
When you are either pursuing a claim or defending a claim in a business litigation matter, the application of the RICO statutes must be considered. When most people think of RICO, they think of the Federal Government prosecuting mob bosses. However, the statutes apply to civil litigation and can prove a party a tremendous advantage.
Michael C. Daniel, a former Department of Justice Attorney, has been handling business litigation in Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia in excess of 31 years and has extensive experience in pursuing and defending RICO claims in the civil litigation context.
RICO claims significantly increase damages in a traditional business litigation scenario. Under the statute, a party is entitled to treble damage and attorney fees. Mr. Daniel states, “RICO claims are frequently available to business litigants, particularly in fraud, conversion and computer theft matters.”
Mr. Daniel’s Associate, Daniel Woodrum, has a strong business background, having received his degree from the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia. Also, Mr. Woodrum has represented criminal defendants in criminal tax cases in the United States District Courts.
If you have a civil business litigation matter, we encourage you to allow us to review your case for the pursuit or defense of any civil RICO claim.
More about Mr. Daniel:
Michael was the youngest of four boys. His father, Robert H. “Harry” Daniel was a factory worker at the Armstrong Cork Company in Macon, Georgia for 40 years. Michael’s mother Claire, was a homemaker initially, but to improve the family’s economic position she started working odd jobs and eventually took a position as anadministrative assistant at C&S Bank in Macon, where she worked for more than 30 years. Michael grew up in an 816 square foot home in a factory neighborhood in Macon. “When you grow up with a family of 6 in a home that small you survive by doing two things: 1) scheduling your bathroom visits and 2) spending a lot of time outdoors.”
Michael’s Mom grew up as the daughter of a sharecropper in Dublin, Georgia. Her father moved to Thomaston, Georgia to take a position with the Martha Mill. Michael’s Dad grew up as the son of cotton mill workers in Thomaston. As the requirement to work in the Mill was a 10th grade education, no one saw the need for additional education past the 10th grade. As a result, most of the Daniel family did not graduate high school.
Harry was the oldest boy of a family of six. At age 16, his Dad (Michael’s Granddad) passed away from a heart attack and Harry took a job at the mill to become the primary financial support of his family.
“As I got older, I started noticing how tight nit my Dad’s brothers and sisters were. There was a great respect and adulation by my aunts and uncles toward Harry. It dawned on me that he had filled the role of a father figure for the family.”
Harry was deferred from the Korean War because he was the primary earner for the family. Because of this Harry always had a deep, heartfelt sense of gratitude for those that served. Michael recalls his Dad always going to the extra mile to support the troops and always had a bumper sticker in support of service members. “Dad’s patriotism and my brother’s (Rick) service gave me a sense of duty to our country, which caused me to join the Air Force out of law school. I had the great privilege to serve as a Judge Advocate General in the Air Force for 20 years (4 active duty)”
Harry’s brother-in-law had served in the war and had preference for jobs at Warner Robins Air Force Base and was employed there. Because of this, Harry moved the family to Macon following the Korean War. Harry’s sister called him and told him that Armstrong had some “high paying” jobs opening up. Harry took a position and worked as a fireman in the mill. The plant manufactured ceiling tiles. Harry worked rotating shifts, one week 7-3; the next week 3-11 and the next week 11-7. As a fireman, if the ceiling dryer caught fire, he was responsible for extinguishing the fire and pulling the tile out of the dryers. “Dad always came home with the smell of pulp on him, but when there was a fire, he came home exhausted like he had spent the day in a burning house… I cannot put in words the sacrifice my Dad made for his family”
Michael’s neighborhood was full of kids. Because of this, sports were the prominent activity. There were enough kids to field two pick-up baseball teams. The kids would always be playing baseball, football or basketball at the nearby elementary school, Joseph N. Neel. Michael developed some skills in sports and played running back for Mount De Sales High School. “I visited Presbyterian College and they talked to me about a partial athletic scholarship. When I considered the part I had to pay, going to play college ball was cost prohibitive. It was time to hang up the cleats and focus on academics.”
Because of their modest upbringing Harry and Claire believed strongly in education and the importance of work ethic and drive. Mount De Sales High School was the better school in Macon and Harry and Claire wanted to send the kids, but the cost was prohibitive. For them to afford the cost of tuition, Harry started trampoline business on the side. Michael says that this business caused him to become very close with his Dad. During the Fall and Christmas seasons, Michael would spend hours with his Dad, manually cutting pipe and hand painting trampolines. “Every time I smell paint or gasoline it takes me back to those days.” Some of Michael’s best memories were delivering trampolines. He says the deliveries would go all through the Christmas week and into the early morning hours of Christmas day. “I remember those rides with my Dad after the last delivery heading home at 2 or 3 in the morning on Christmas day, in the warm cab of the truck, no one on the road, quiet, bone tired, but content that we had made memories for a lot of children.” While the money was used for tuition, Michael says at the end of every season after putting in 100s of hours of work, his Dad would whip out a crisp $20.00 bill with a big smile and present it to him. “At the time, I would think you’re kidding, right… I did realize the purpose of the business and accepted the payment with a smile.”
Michael believes his Mom emphasized education and achievement, and provided love and incredible life advice, but his Dad gave him the work ethic. “Together they made a great team.” Michael’s mother still lives in Macon at age 83 and is thriving.
Michael carried the work ethic into college, paying his way through college by working at a Kroger grocery store in East Macon. While living at home with free room and board, Michael was able to pay for all of his tuition to earn his degree from Mercer, and save up enough money to pay for his legal education, with the exception of a modest student loan.
We will stop the biography here as we wanted to give you a glimpse into Michael’s background as a youth. Michael, loves and is very proud of his brothers, Rick (a retired Chief Master Sergeant), Robert (an accomplished musician) and Mark (the Chief Assistant District Attorney in the Tawaliga Circuit in Georgia).
Michael is married to the love of his life, Echo Daniel (1984). They have raised a daughter Claire (High School Star Student and Honor Student at the University of Georgia) and Ben (Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of Georgia and Medical School candidate).
“My Dad and Mom led the American dream. They went from a share cropper’s daughter and mill worker’s son to the middle class. They always pushed us to be successful, saying they wanted our lives to be better than their life. My goal in my life is to give my children the opportunity to have a better life than mine.”
More about Mr. Woodrum
Daniel S. Woodrum is an Associate with Prior, Daniel, & Wiltshire. Daniel is a native of the town of Millen, Georgia. Daniel graduated from Bulloch Academy in Statesboro, Georgia, before attending college at the University of Georgia. At the University of Georgia, Daniel studied marketing in the Terry College of Business and received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with honors. After graduating from college, Daniel attended the University Of Georgia School Of Law and earned a Juris Doctorate.
Daniel is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and is admitted to practice in all courts of the state of Georgia. This includes the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Superior Courts of the state of Georgia, and the State Courts of Georgia.
Daniel is also a member of the Bar for the following United States Courts:
- United States Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- United States Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- United States Court for the Southern District of Georgia
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States Tax Court
- United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia
After becoming a member of the Bar, Daniel began his practice of law in Statesboro, Georgia, and the surrounding areas. During this time, he was able to litigate cases for private individuals and businesses in the United States Courts for the Southern District of Georgia, Superior Courts for the State of Georgia as well as other smaller courts.
During his time practicing in Statesboro, Daniel also was named the Solicitor for the City of Millen, Georgia, and performed those prosecutorial duties until he joined Prior, Daniel, & Wiltshire in the Fall of 2014.
Since joining Prior, Daniel, & Wiltshire, Daniel has focused on representation of clients for tax matters, business litigation, and bankruptcy.
When not working on his clients’ cases, Daniel enjoys playing tennis, basketball, and following University of Georgia athletics.
“Michael represented me on a very complex dispute with a business partner. He handled the matter in an economical and professional manner. I was particularly impressed with the way he communicated with me throughout the process. He is an attorney that truly cares about his client’s well-being.” – J.A. – Atlanta
“Michael Daniel represented me on a wrongful seizure of $940,313.00 of my company’s working capital by the Internal Revenue Service. He was able to get an expedited hearing before the Federal Court and obtain the return of all but $50,000.00 of the proceeds. His skill and expertise was critical in saving my business.” – Andre Clyde, CEO Clyde Armory – Athens