The RICO Act sets criminal penalties for racketeering activities. People convicted under this Act can receive fines of up to $5 million or face up to 20 years in prison. In rare instances, defendants can also receive life sentences if the violation was for a crime that carries a life sentence limit. This is why it is important to know what the RICO Act covers so that you can avoid getting caught up in it.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was created in 1970 to fight organized crime. It was initially intended to take down the Mafia and other criminal groups. However, it took a few years for prosecutors to actually enforce the Act. Before, prosecutors were unable to prosecute the masterminds of these organizations for their crimes. However, since the RICO Act’s implementation, prosecutors have successfully prosecuted crimes related to drug trafficking, mail fraud, and other forms of criminal activity.
In many cases, the RICO Act provides a civil suit component for victims of organized crime. These victims include families of victims, employers who were extorted, and loan shark debtors. If the victims are able to prove their involvement in an organized crime, they can sue the leader to recover their losses. The convicted criminal must pay triple the damages, pay all costs of the lawsuit, and surrender any profits from the crime.