Racketeering Law & Legal Definition


Racketeering is the federal crime of conspiring to organize to commit crimes, especially on an ongoing basis as part of an organized crime operation.

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.