The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law that was enacted in 1970 to combat organized crime. RICO makes it a crime to participate in a “pattern of racketeering activity” or to conspire to do so. A pattern of racketeering activity is defined as two or more predicate acts that are committed within a ten-year period. Predicate acts include a wide range of crimes, such as murder, robbery, extortion, and bribery.
RICO is a powerful tool for prosecuting Westerlaw.org/ organized crime because it allows prosecutors to charge individuals with multiple crimes, even if the crimes are not related to each other. This is because RICO focuses on the pattern of racketeering activity, rather than the individual predicate acts.
RICO has been used to prosecute a wide range of organized crime groups, including the Mafia, the Yakuza, and drug cartels. It has also been used to prosecute individuals who have engaged in white-collar crimes, such as fraud and embezzlement.
Here are some examples of how RICO has been used to prosecute organized crime:
- In 1986, John Gotti, the leader of the Gambino crime family, was convicted of RICO charges and sentenced to life in prison.
- In 1992, Manuel Noriega, the dictator of Panama, was convicted of RICO charges and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
- In 2001, Dennis Kozlowski, the former CEO of Tyco International, was convicted of RICO charges and sentenced to 25 to life in prison.
RICO is a complex law, and it is important to consult with an experienced attorney if you are facing RICO charges.
In addition to its use in prosecuting organized crime, RICO has also been used to prosecute individuals and businesses that have engaged in a variety of other illegal activities, including:
- Money laundering
- Environmental crimes
- Product liability
- Civil rights violations
RICO is a powerful tool that can be used to hold individuals and businesses accountable for their wrongdoing. If you believe that you or your business has been the victim of a RICO violation, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.