Racketeering (RICO) cases

A popular tool of business litigators is the federal racketeering law (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.  RICO was originally passed to permit recovery for the activities of organized crime, but Congress drafted it sufficiently broadly to apply to many business disputes.

Federal judges are hostile to RICO claims because RICO permits plaintiffs relatively mundane pieces of business litigation to bring their actions in federal court.  But plaintiffs love RICO because it permits recovery of three times the actual loss, and the recovery of attorneys fee.  But it’s one of the most intellectually difficult claims to make.

Pattern of Racketeering Activity.  RICO provides a laundry list of crimes and requires that a plaintiff allege a pattern of such crimes, consisting of two or more such times within a ten-year period.  Many of the crimes on the list are violent crimes, and not apt to arise in a business context.  But some are white collar crimes: wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, and obstruction of justice.  Call Tom O’Connell to discuss your case.