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State and Local Governments' Use of the Treble Damages Remedy Under Civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) - A Means of Redressing the Economic Effects of Unlawful Conduct

NCJ Number
Baylor Law Review Volume: 35 Issue: 1 Dated: (Winter 1983) Pages: 1-24
F D Tannenbaum; S F Molo
Date Published
24 pages
State and local governments should make prudent use of the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and its treble damage provision because of practical economic and political considerations.
Civil RICO may be used to attack political and business corruption and to some extent, organized crime. However, above all, RICO provides State and local governments and agencies an additional method of fulfilling their constitutional, statutory, and moral duty to protect their citizens. Among the alleged activities for which treble damage actions have been brought by governmental entities are fraudulent operation of a major insurance carrier, fraudulent corporate reorganization of a public utility, bid-rigging by public officials, and bribery by a major foreign cable company. The article addresses the public advantages of State and local government using civil RICO and discusses several frequently asked questions concerning the statute's interpretation and application. Finally, it addresses problems which might arise from the indiscriminate use of civil RICO by State and local authorities. A total of 131 notes are provided.