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Legislative History of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) (From Techniques in the Investigation and Prosecution of Organized Crime - Materials on RICO, P 58-105, 1980, G. Robert Blakey, ed. - See NCJ-78839)

NCJ Number
T D Mann
Date Published
48 pages
The legislative history, content, purpose, and scope of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) are discussed.
RICO was enacted in 1970 as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act. The roots of RICO, however, extend as far back as 1950, when the problem of criminal infiltration of legitimate business was documented. In the 1960's, antitrust laws were used to attack this criminal activity in business. The extent of the problem motivated Congress to develop direct criminal legislation to combat patterned infiltration of legitimate business by 'organized' and 'nonorganized' criminal activity. RICO is the result of the assimilation of several strong Senate bills modified by the House of Representatives. RICO proscribes (1) the use of income or proceeds from a pattern of racketeering activity by a principal in the commission of that activity to acquire an interest or establish an enterprise engaged in interstate commerce, (2) the acquisition of any enterprise engaged in interstate commerce through a pattern of racketeering activity, (3) the operation of an enterprise engaged in interstate commerce through a pattern of racketeering activity, and (4) conspiracy to commit any of the above prohibitions. Violations of these prohibitions may be restrained by district courts through the issuance of orders of divestment, prohibitions on business activities, and orders of dissolution or reorganization. Unrestrained violations may be punished by fine, imprisonment, and criminal forfeiture of the offender's interest in the enterprise. Civil treble damage actions may also be obtained by the victims of RICO violations. RICO makes provision for nationwide venue and service of process, expedition of Government civil actions, and civil investigative demands. A total of 108 footnotes are listed. (Author summary modified)