The RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act is a complicated legal statute used in Mississippi and other states, usually in organized crime cases. In many RICO cases, extortion, fraud, bribery or violence is committed by or linked to criminal organizations.
To prove a RICO case, prosecutors have to show that there is a pattern of illegal activity. They also have to prove that the criminal acts were part of the organization or enterprise controlled by the individuals who benefited from or engaged in the crimes.
RICO is a serious federal crime that can bring very serious penalties. In most RICO cases, the threat of violence or violent crime is involved.
The RICO Act purpose
The RICO Act has federal jurisdiction, allowing its application in foreign and interstate criminal cases. The purpose of the RICO Act is to prosecute federal crimes like mail fraud, collecting illegal gambling debts and security fraud. It is also used in other white-collar enterprising crimes.
Defining an enterprise
For crimes to fall under the umbrella of RICO, an enterprise must be involved. An enterprise can be a partnership of any type. It could be an association or a corporation that links to criminal and profit activity. RICO charges could apply to legal entities, including clubs, private entities, a union or just a group of people.
Possible penalties associated with a RICO conviction include prison sentences, payment of restitution to the victims, probation, major fines, forfeiture of assets and other negative consequences. Even if no violent crimes get connected to a RICO charge, a person could still face long-term prison sentences.
The RICO Act is complicated. However, it has been used and will likely continue to be used successfully in prosecuting criminal organizations.