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Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act

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kate kleinkopf

on 7 February 2013

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Transcript of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act

Lindsey Trendler & Kate Kleinkopf Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act Basic Facts AKA RICO Act
Passed in 1970
Drafted by G. Robert Blakely and enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970
Congress controlled by: Democrats
President at the time: Nixon
The President signed the law Relevant
Circumstances Major Provisions Rationale for its passage Other Related Acts & Amendments Overall Effects Bibliography law.cornell.edu
wikipedia.org Significant court cases Key Terms Racketeering Activity: Its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime. {Fun Fact} It has been speculated that the name and acronym were selected in a sly reference to the movie Little Caesar, which featured a notorious gangster named Rico Its primary intent was to deal with organized crime A person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering.
Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count.
The racketeer must forfeit all business gain through a pattern of "racketeering activity."
Individuals harmed by the actions of racketeering can file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
The victim has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. (This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets.) An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
Private parties can sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers". The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant and the enterprise-- the enterprise is the illegal device of the racketeers.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, partly because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a crime syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they either ordered others to do or assisted them in.
It closed a loophole that allowed someone who told a man to murder to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually do it. United States v. Barger
In 1979, the United States federal government went after Sonny Barger and several members and associates of the Oakland charter of the Hells Angels using RICO.The jury acquitted Barger on the RICO charges with a hung jury. NOW v. Scheidler
RICO laws were successfully cited in a suit in which certain parties, including the National Organization for Women, sought damages against pro-life activists who physically block access to abortion clinics.
The Court held that a RICO enterprise does not need an economic motive, and that the Pro-Life Action Network could therefore qualify as a RICO enterprise. A RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court: it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts. Rico helped out with gangs and murder cases at first but later spread to cases on abortion and other issues. It accomplished what it was made for and more Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute
targets large-scale drug traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate drug conspiracies Unlike the RICO Act, which covers a wide range of organized crime enterprises, the CCE statute covers only major narcotics organizations an illegal business or scheme, usually run as part of organized crime
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