Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (Rico)

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The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was an article of federal legislation enacted as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, designed to combat organized crime in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled that RICO was not limited to organized crime, but could also be applied to legitimate businesses. RICO prohibits any person from using income received from a crime or a racketeering activity, and also applies to any unlawful, direct or indirect, racketeering activity. The purpose of RICO was to remove organized crime from the legitimate business community.

The RICO statute has been increasingly used in the context of organized labor prosecutions. One such case was the federal indictment of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, where the Second Circuit Court found sufficient evidence to support a finding under RICO that a Teamster employee was associated with an organized crime figure and was subject to discipline. In another labor-related case, the United States vs. Carson, the government brought action against a former union officer under RICO, alleging that the officer committed racketeering acts that benefited organized crime. This charge was dismissed by the Second Circuit Court because the action allegedly occurred too far in the past to prosecute.

All RICO convictions require the government to prove that the defendant, based on two or more acts of racketeering activity, directly invested in, maintained an interest in, or participated in a criminal enterprise that affected either interstate or foreign commerce.