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Commonly Asked Questions
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
“RICO” stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. § 1961), a law that increases the severity of penalties for crimes committed in conjunction with organized crime. The law defines 35 offenses as constituting racketeering, including gambling, murder, kidnapping, arson, drug dealing, bribery, mail and wire fraud to name a few. These crimes are known as “predicate” offenses. To charge under RICO, at least two predicate crimes within 10 years must have been committed through the enterprise.
Under the law, the meaning of racketeering activity is defined by statute. As currently amended it includes:
- Any violation of state statutes against gambling, murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, robbery, bribery, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in the Controlled Substances Act);
- Any act of bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, fraud, dealing in obscene matter, obstruction of justice, slavery, racketeering, gambling, money laundering, commission of murder-for-hire, and several other offenses covered under the Federal criminal code (Title 18);
- Embezzlement of union funds;
- Bankruptcy fraud or securities fraud;
- Drug trafficking; long-term and elaborate drug networks can also be prosecuted using the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute;
- Criminal copyright infringement;
- Money laundering and related offenses;
- Bringing in, aiding or assisting aliens in illegally entering the country (if the action was for financial gain);
- Acts of terrorism.
If you believe that you are under investigation for RICO/money laundering charges, or if you have been subpoenaed before a grand jury, contact Marc Neff for a confidential consultation by phone at (215) 563-9800 or email Marc@nefflawoffices.com.