The RICO Act and Organized Crime

According to (Scheb & Scheb, 2011) organized crimes includes offenses that individuals or groups of people commit with an attempt to gain political influence by virtue of corruption or graft. Woodiwiss (2015) points that organized crime activities include smuggling, extortion (racketeering) and fraud. The threat that organized crime posed was sounded through the 1960 presidential crime commission and congressional hearings. This was responded with the 1970 enactment into of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act).

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            The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) is more powerful than the then existing conspiracy law. According to (Paoli, 2014) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) provides the federal investigators and prosecutors with a strong anti-organized crime weapon. The RICO Act outlaws racketeering activities and use of proceeds of such an activity and unlawful debt to gain an interest in an enterprise. The act also makes it a federal crime to have an interest in an enterprise by the virtue of commission of a pattern of criminal activity or through a collection of unlawful debt. It is also a federal crime under the act to participate in conducting an enterprise activity through racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debts.    

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The RICO Act has been employed successfully in prosecution of several organized crime activities. The act was used in the prosecution of Interbank Group of Herndon, Virginia. According to (Anderson & Jackson, 2004) James O’Connor and James Geisler, who were the founders and principal owners of the company, were indicted for immigration and visa fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering among other crimes. The act has also been used in prosecution of Edmond Boyle of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and subsequent imprisonment for 151 months in jail for his involvement in bank robberies (Sergi, 2017). Keeping an organized crime unit in place is important since the increase in globalization has increased the threats the organized crime pose to individuals, organizations and the economy. Having such a unit in place ensures not only such a crime can be fought but it also ensures organized crime activities can be tracked and busted before they occur.

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