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The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose RICO defense lawyers, RICO cases, RICO Act, racketeering, RICO claimsLuLaRoe, the popular multilevel marketer of colorful women’s clothing, has recently come under attack for the quality of its products and its business practices, and is consequently now facing a federal lawsuit in California, reports CBS News. The lawsuit alleges that the company violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), among various other laws, and duped people into becoming “LuLaRoe consultants” (i.e. nonemployee distributors) with the false promise that they could earn full-time pay for only part-time work. But what exactly is the RICO Act?

RICO cases such as this one involving LuLaRoe pop up in the news from time to time but rarely do news outlets go into much detail about the RICO Act itself. Therefore, for your convenience, a brief overview of the RICO act is provided below.

The History of the RICO Act

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is contained in title 18 of the U.S. Code sections 1961-1968 and was passed in 1970 in an effort to combat organized crime in the United States. When the RICO Act was first passed it was aimed primarily at curbing Mafia crime but over the years has been expanded so that it can be used to go after a wide variety of organizations sponsoring crime. In order to do this the RICO Act establishes severe consequences for those who engage in a pattern of racketeering as a member of a criminal organization via several key provisions.

Key Provisions of the RICO Act

18 U.S. Code § 1962 lists the various activities that are prohibited under the RICO Act in detail, but arguably the most central provisions state that it is illegal to receive income from a pattern of racketeering activity in which the offender participated as a principal. Code section 18 U.S. Code § 1961 then goes on to list the various activities that qualify as “racketeering activity” under the RICO Act and notes that in this context a “pattern” of racketeering activity requires at least two qualifying racketeering acts to have occurred within a 10 year period.

Penalties and Remedies

RICO claims can be filed either in criminal court on behalf of the government or in civil court by private individuals; therefore, the Act provides for both criminal and civil punishments for violators. These punishments include but are not limited to:

  • Criminal Penalties: Up to 20 years in prison (or life in prison if the penalty for the underlying racketeering activity includes life imprisonment) and/or a fine of up to twice the proceeds obtained from the illegal activity.
  • Civil Remedies: A fine of up to three times the plaintiff’s losses.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If you have been accused of committing a RICO Act crime in California, the passionate San Jose RICO defense lawyers of Jachimowicz Law Group would be happy to review your case and discuss your legal options with you during a free initial consultation. To find out what our experienced criminal defense firm can do for you, contact our office today.

Source:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lularoe-is-accused-of-being-pyramid-scheme/

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