Defense for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) in business litigation requires acumen in criminal and civil law, strategies, and trial experience. Civil RICO lawsuits usually embroil a legal entity while criminal RICO cases involve individual defendants. A plaintiff files a civil RICO lawsuit and a government prosecutor files criminal RICO cases.
RICO business litigation
Penalties for criminal RICO cases are severe as a person can be imprisoned for 20 years and fined $25,000 for each racketeering act. Forfeiture of all assets and interests gained as a result of the racketeering activity is enforced. Note that the courts do not impose rigorous tracing of illegal income or gains; only a sufficient link between financial data and the enterprise.
Common racketeering acts in white collar RICO business litigation:
- Mail Fraud
- Wire Fraud
- Banking and finance tax
- Money Laundering
Even if a racketeering act is not proven, a RICO conspiracy can be claimed by the plaintiff’s lawyers. However, to win a RICO conspiracy lawsuit an overt act to advance the conspiracy must be proven.
RICO commonly includes elements of fraud:
- Injury to the plaintiff
- Plaintiff relied on defendant’s actions, misrepresentations, or omissions
- Defendant induced plaintiff by way of material misrepresentations or omissions
- Defendant believed or knew the misrepresentations were false
- Defendant made misrepresentations or omissions of material fact
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