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What is RICO?

Navigation:  Home > Legal Questions > What is RICO?


RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and came about as a response to difficulty of prosecuting organized crime. Because law enforcement officers were largely unable to implicate organized crime bosses in the larger crimes, such as loan sharking or extortion, Congress passed a new law, RICO, which basically punishes people based on their status as someone who engages in unsavory or illegal business practices. In other words, RICO allows prosecutors to convict someone not for one specific crime, but for engaging in a series, or a pattern, of illegal activities. The exact nature of RICO is complex and too difficult to pin down in a summary of the law (in fact, many lawyers don't understand the law).

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