RICO Charges

Above Photo:  (L-R) Michael David Lopez, Jan Carlos Lopez, and Carlos Ernesto Lopez, Jr. are suspected of running a local theft ring and are in custody in the Hall County Jail.  Photo – Hall County Sheriff’s Office

GAINESVILLE — The Hall County Sheriff’s Office assisted by multiple agencies were able to break up a local theft ring run by one family following a months-long investigation.

Three members of one family were found to be violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and were arrested between June 3 and August 18, 2020.  The case against the suspects and their subsequent arrests was a collaborative effort by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division – Property Section, Braselton Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, and Oakwood Police Department. 

Between April and June 2020, Carlos Ernesto Lopez Jr., 19, of Gainesville, Jan Carlos Lopez, 22, of Oakwood, and Michael David Lopez, 32, of Gainesville, are suspected of committing numerous entering auto and general thefts.  The thefts occurred in Oakwood, Flowery Branch, and Chestnut Mountain.

Deputies with Hall County picked up the first of the theft ring, Michael Lopez on June 3 after he stole an SUV in the 3000 block of Gilleland Circle on the same day as his arrest.  The SUV, valued at more than $10,000 was recovered by law enforcement on the same day the crime occurred.  

Michael, who is the uncle of Carlos and cousin to Jan was charged with two counts of entering auto, criminal trespass, and violation of the RICO Act.  He has remained in the Hall County Jail since his June 3 arrest.

On June 9, the Sheriff’s Office Warrants Unit took Carlos Lopez, Jr. into custody on June 9 at his home.  In the same SUV theft from Gilleland Circle, investigators determined that Carlos was involved and warrants for computer trespass and theft by taking were issued.  The computer trespass charge stems from Carlos deleting a program off of a computer that was stolen in the crime.

Carlos has remained in the Hall County Jail since his June 9 arrest on charges of second-degree burglary, 10 counts of entering auto, criminal trespass, and violating the RICO Act.

Carlos and Michael’s cousin, Jan Lopez was arrested on August 18 at his residence by the Warrants Unit on charges of nine counts of entering auto and violating the RICO Act.  He remains in the Hall County Jail.

The cases involving the three family members remain under investigation and additional charges could be forthcoming.  Additional charges were filed against the trio by Gainesville, Braselton, and Oakwood Police Departments for crimes that took place in their jurisdictions.  

— Staff Reports


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