The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. Section 1961 et. seq., is a federal law that allows victims of unlawful organizations to sue for damages. The scope of RICO is far-reaching. It has been used in the areas of organized crime, Catholic sex abuse cases, intentional devaluation of corporate organizations, unlawful political donations, and ponzi schemes.
A RICO claim entails several elements. First, the defendant must have committed two or more acts. Second, there must be a pattern or practice of racketeering activity. A pattern of racketeering activity may be established when the defendant commits a series of related activities over a period of time repeatedly against the same victims. Third, the defendant must directly or indirectly invest in, maintain an interest in, or participate in an enterprise. Section 1961 of the RICO Act defines an enterprise as any individual, partnership, or corporation, associated in fact, even if the association itself is not a legal entity. The enterprise element is construed broadly under the law. Under RICO, a plaintiff need only clearly and concisely characterize the decision-making unit of a group. Fourth, the activities at issue must affect interstate or foreign commerce.
Individuals with a RICO claim must file suit within four years of the injury.
The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience with RICO claims. We have successfully brought claims on behalf of individuals and in class actions. We invite you to contact the firm if you would like additional information regarding RICO claims.