The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Law is a federal law that was
enacted for the purpose of fighting organized crime in the U.S. In Los Angeles, law
enforcers used RICO to hold the leader of Mexican mafia group, “Black Angels”, criminally
responsible for drug trafficking and related crimes in Ontario.
While RICO was originally used to prosecute mafia and mob groups that dominated the
crime scene in different states, this law is now more widely used for going after individuals
and groups that were not initially contemplated by the law, as well as for white collar
crimes and political corruption.
RICO punishable activities
RICO punishes racketeering activities such as:
- Illegal gambling
- Money laundering
- Drug trafficking
Nature of RICO charge
RICO allows both criminal and civil lawsuits for acts performed as part of an ongoing
criminal organization. As a criminal charge, RICO defendants can face penalties such as
imprisonment for up to 20 years and forfeiture of ill-gotten gains. Individuals who suffer
economic or property injury as a result of a RICO activity may also file a civil case for
If you or your company is the subject of a RICO investigation or charge, you could also
experience the overwhelming burden of thorough reviews of financial records and reports,
computer activities, and other company files and searches and seizures.
A RICO civil suit also allows a party to obtain treble damages for injury arising from a
Proving RICO in court
RICO is a complex law with stringent requirements for a defendant’s conviction.
Prosecution must be able to prove basic elements such as:
- Pattern of criminal activity consisting of at least 2 instances of racketeering activity
- An investment, interest or participation in a criminal enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce
RICO, however, can be used inappropriately – against legitimate businesses and
associations. If you or your business is under investigation for RICO acts, seeking the
advice and assistance of a criminal defense attorney is highly important.
In metropolitan Los Angeles, the law office of Larry M. Bakman has years of valuable
experience representing clients in RICO investigations at federal and state levels. As a
former prosecutor, Larry Bakman has the unique ability to anticipate the usual strategies of
government attorneys and to prepare the appropriate defense.