Definition of RICO
stands for Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations and the civil
and criminal penalties are set forth in 18 U.S.C. 1963 through 18
U.S.C. 1965. RICO is
generally a violation of these Federal statutes which define RICO,
provide for civil and criminal actions based on RICO and set the
RICO is not as complicated as people make it.
RICO has received a bad name and is not much favored by the
court's because everybody wants to sue for RICO because it sounds
menacing, however not that many actions are really RICO.
you have and action for RICO, it
is easy to see
must be an enterprise, or association of individuals or
Think of it as an enterprising
group of individuals and you will remember
what it stands for.
It is the fact that the enterprise operates in an organized
manner that allows it to cause such damage.
Plan - There must be some common objective of the enterprise, a
scheme or artifice to defraud.
The definition of the common plan sets the
stage for defining the bad acts (predicate acts) that
cause the enterprise to
be liable, i.e. acts that help achieve the objective of the
Acts - This is a fancy
word for identifying the acts of the members of the enterprise that
are of the type that allows the federal government to
regulate in this fashion.
The most common of these acts are "mail fraud" -
"wire fraud" - "bank fraud"
"pension plan fraud."
The list of predicate acts is set forth in the definition
For example, if the U.S. mails are used to help further the
common plan of
conducting a gambling operation, predicate act of mail fraud
is used would
be where a criminal mails a letter to the victim, seeking to
collect a gambling
debt. The use of
the U.S. mails US mails to help commit a fraud is the
predicate ACT. Although
the statute only requires two predicate acts in a ten
year period preceding the action, there
are requirements that there is a risk
of continued ongoing harm
In summary, RICO is an organization.