Although the RICO Act, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, was created in order to target the Mafia and other criminal organizations, it has become a commonly used federal crime. Racketeering activity no longer means that crime syndicates are involved. Any individual or participant in an enterprise can be charged with racketeering based on various circumstances and violations of federal law.
What is racketeering?
Today, RICO can prosecute any member of an enterprise for racketeering if the organization has committed any two of 35 crimes within a 10 year period, regardless of affiliations to organized crime. Some of the crimes defined as racketeering activity by 18 U.S.C. Section 1961 can include: any number of white collar crimes, such as tax fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering, various forms of federal drug crimes, robbery, theft, extortion, bribery and others.