RICO or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the federal law that allows the prosecution of criminal acts performed by individuals as part of a mob or criminal organization, is used to fight against organized crime and its adverse effects on legitimate business activities. The law states that “It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering", a statement that is easily misinterpreted by those not familiar with the intricacies of the law.
The reason for this confusion arises because, according to the rules of RICO, any individual who has been proven to belong to a criminal organization is liable for prosecution just by association. This means that if any member of said organization has been found guilty of a serious offense like murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery or bribery, other persons who are known to belong to the same organization can be prosecuted for a pattern of crimes (two or more of 8 state crimes and 16 federal crimes) that have been found to be the organization’s handiwork, even if they are not directly or indirectly responsible for the crime that the defendant has been found guilty of.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
From the RICO Blog