Civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act

Civil RICO Litigation Attorneys in Philadelphia

Recovering Damages for Victims of Racketeering & Extortion

Originally enacted to combat organized criminal groups such as the Mafia, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act continues to help fight organized crime in the US. However, RICO has substantially been applied in public and private civil suits against violators, as it contains broad provisions concerning fraud protection, commercial fraud, bribery, official corruption, and security violations. As such, private individuals whose businesses or properties were harmed by a criminal organization may file a lawsuit and recover damages.

How Can a Civil RICO Lawyer Help?

Weisberg Law is backed by 20+ years of experience and a track record for thousands of cases handled, giving you a much-needed advantage during this challenging time. If your business or property suffered at the hands of a criminal organization, such as a corporation or bank, you may have a RICO claim. After evaluating your situation, our Philadelphia civil RICO lawyers can explain your next steps so you have a clear grasp of how your claim could play out. From there, we will represent your best interests, strategically negotiate for a favorable outcome, and guide you every step of the way. No stone will be left unturned.

Contact us at (610) 550-8042 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and get started!

What Does RICO Stand For?

The term RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. The RICO act was passed into law in 1970 to help law enforcement better fight organized crime. It established new prohibitions and provided enhanced sanctions for dealing with criminal organizations.

What is a RICO Charge?

A RICO charge involves criminal activity that is tied to an organization. It essentially allows all individuals involved in a corrupt organization to be prosecuted. 

Listed below are common examples of RICO charges:

  • Counterfeiting
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Fraud
  • Money Laundering

What Is Civil RICO?

Anyone can bring a civil RICO suit if they were injured by a violation of the RICO Act. A person may receive treble damages if their case wins. Treble damages are similar to punitive damages, in that they are meant to dissuade others from committing the same crimes, but they are capped at three times the compensatory damages.

Statute of Limitations for Civil RICO

The claim must be made within 4 years from the date when the victim discovers that they have been damaged by a criminal act or when it should have been discovered.

Elements of a Successful RICO Case

To succeed in a Civil RICO case, you must be able to prove that a criminal act was committed and is considered to be a RICO crime. Additionally, you must be able to show that there is a pattern of criminal activity -- there should be a pattern of at least two crimes and they must be related in some way. For example, the same crime happened to the same victims, using the same method, or it has happened more than once within a year.

If you were injured by a criminal act under RICO, contact Weisberg Law today. Our civil RICO lawyers in Philadelphia can determine if you have a case and help you understand your options.

Start a free initial consultation with a civil RICO lawyer in Philadelphia today at Weisberg Law. Reach out to us online or call (610) 550-8042.

Elements of a Civil RICO Action

Civil RICO claims allow plaintiffs to hold defendants such as corporations and banks accountable for their criminal actions, even if they were never convicted for crimes under RICO. Unlike in a criminal RICO action, a RICO lawsuit requires civil plaintiffs to meet the “preponderance of evidence” standard, the lowest standard of proof. The preponderance of evidence standard requires the plaintiff to prove that their claim is true more likely than not, giving them the upper hand in civil RICO claims altogether.

With this in mind, you should know the 7 basic elements of a RICO claim below:

  1. only 'persons' can sue or be sued;
  2. the plaintiff must show that the defendant participated in a 'pattern of racketeering activity;'
  3. the 'pattern' must consist of at least two acts of racketeering committed within 10 years of each other, with at least one act occurring after the effective date of the statute;
  4. the existence of an 'enterprise' which is the instrument or the target of racketeering activity is required;
  5. the enterprise must engage in or affect interstate commerce;
  6. the plaintiff must allege and prove injury to their business or property; and
  7. the plaintiff must demonstrate that their injuries resulted from a pattern of racketeering activity.

What Is Racketeering Activity?

It’s important to know what “racketeering activity” encompasses because the success of your RICO claim heavily relies upon the existence and impact of the defendant’s pattern of racketeering activity. As you can see from the elements of a RICO claim above, “a pattern of racketeering activity” is a key component of your claim. So, you should know what it entails.

Racketeering activity includes an extensive list of state and federal crimes, which include but are not limited to:

State Crimes

  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Gambling
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Bribery
  • Extortion
  • Dealing in obscene matter
  • Drug crimes

Federal crimes

  • Bribery
  • Fraud
  • Gambling
  • Money laundering
  • Financial and economic crimes
  • Obstructing justice or a criminal investigation
  • Murder for hire
  • Sexual exploitation of children

What Happens if My RICO Claim Is Successful?

If successful in your RICO claim, you will be awarded treble damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation costs. “Treble damages” mean three times the amount of damages caused by the defendant. As you can see, you can reap significant benefits if your lawyer successfully prosecutes your RICO claim.

Your Path to Peace of Mind Starts Here

While no amount of money can truly compensate you for the burdens, stress, and pain you suffered from another party’s RICO violations, we encourage you to reach out to learn if you have a valid claim under RICO. Our civil RICO attorneys represent clients throughout Philadelphia and have achieved countless favorable verdicts along the way. If you have a claim, our team will go above and beyond to help minimize the negative impacts of your case and maximize your compensation.

To discuss your situation and learn your legal options, get in touch with us online or at (610) 550-8042!

Civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act

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