Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act RICO Law & Legal Definition


The Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law allowing the federal government to place in trusteeship organizations which are convicted of being dominated by racketeers or organized crime.

A person injured as a result of a RICO violation can recover treble damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees. In order to prove a RICO violation, the person must be able to show that he or she was injured by a person associated with an “enterprise” that has been engaging in a “pattern of racketeering,” which consists of at least two “predicate acts” during a ten-year period. The list of “predicate acts” includes securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud but does not include commodity fraud. In some circumstances, however, conduct involving futures transactions may constitute mail fraud or wire fraud. The legal requirements for proving a RICO violation are complex and vary from circuit to circuit.

A conspirator must intend to further an endeavor which, if completed, would satisfy all of the elements of a substantive RICO offense, but it suffices that he adopt the goal of furthering or facilitating the RICO endeavor. He may do so in any number of ways short of agreeing to undertake all of the acts necessary for the crime's completion. One can be a conspirator by agreeing to facilitate only some of the acts leading to the substantive offense. It makes no difference that the substantive offence under subsection (c) requires two or more predicate acts.