Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law designed to combat organized crime in the United States. The law was passed in 1970 and was meant to be the “ultimate hitman” in mob prosecutions. Today, individuals or organizations can still use the RICO Act to file civil claims against racketeering activities performed as an ongoing criminal enterprise.
If your business or property suffers at the hands of a criminal organization, such as a corporation or bank, you may have a RICO claim.
Which Activities Qualify Under RICO Claims?
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act continues to help attack organized crime in the US, although it was originally enacted to combat organized criminal groups like the Mafia. RICO can be applied in public and private civil suits against violators, and it contains broad provisions on violations regarding consumer protection, commercial fraud, bribery, official corruption, and security violations.
RICO claims often involve “a pattern of racketeering activity” that breaks either state or federal crimes such as murder, bribery, fraud, money laundering, extortion, kidnapping, and more. The criminal RICO statute provides prison terms of 20 years and severe financial penalties.
What Is Needed to Prove a RICO Claim?
Anyone can bring a civil suit if they have been injured by a RICO violation, and if they win, they will receive treble damages. To succeed in a RICO claim, a plaintiff must prove the following:
- Criminal Activity: You must demonstrate that the individual or organization committed one of the RICO crimes, which include a broad range of crimes, such as blackmail and wire fraud. If you bring a claim on a fraud basis, the court will apply strict scrutiny.
- Pattern of Criminal Activity: To have a successful RICO claim you must prove that there is a pattern of criminal activity – of at least two or more crimes. A pattern requires the crimes to be related in some way (or continuous), meaning it was conducted over at least a year.
- Within the Statute of Limitations: The Supreme Court held that RICO has a five-year statute of limitations. Therefore, you must file a claim at least five years before discovering the criminal activity.
What Can I Recover from a RICO Claim?
If you win your RICO claim, you will be awarded treble damages, attorney fees, and litigation costs. “Treble damages” mean three times the amount of damages caused by the defendant.
Since the stakes are high in a RICO claim, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to help you through the complexities of these cases. An experienced attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve after being affected by organized crime in your organization.
Experienced RICO Claim Attorney
You may have a RICO claim if your business or property suffered at the hands of a criminal organization. Our civil RICO attorneys represent clients throughout Philadelphia and have achieved countless favorable verdicts along the way. Given the nature of our practice, we emphasize the importance of close communication and accessibility at all times. We strive to respond to clients as quickly as possible. Get in touch with our team to learn more about how we can help you.
Contact Weisberg Law today at (610) 550-8042 to schedule a consultation!