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What Is the RICO Act?

RICO is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act which has been implemented as a federal law. This law has been enacted in order to give extended penalties in the trails of organized criminal acts. The RICO Act belongs to Chapter 96 of Title 18 present in the U.S. Code in which the law deals with crimes and criminal procedure.

However, RICO Act was intended to be used against the acts of Mafia and others who are engaged in organized crimes. Therefore, the RICO has been used on prosecution of all types of criminal activity. Dating back to history, the RICO Act was designed to serve as a part of Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. This act was sponsored by Senator John Little McClellan and was drafted by G. Robert Blakey during that time. After drafting the act, it was then signed into law by Richard Nixon, the President, on October 15, 1970.


The RICO Act was very powerful due to which it was brought into law where the criminal can be charged with racketeering such as illegal drug sales, bribery, extortion, murder, loan sharking, and prostitution. However, the law also enforces that the person would be charged with racketeering if he/she commits two out of 27 federal and 8 state crimes under the United States legislation and that too within 10 years of duration.

This law enables the government to get the power on criminals and to continue the criminal prosecution. The law can imprison the leader of organized crime no matter whether he/she is personally committed even a single part of racketeering. Still, the person is the part of criminal enterprise and so the law involves him/her in to the prosecution. RICO set its benchmark in charging criminal penalties to those who are guilty for racketeering activity. People who are convicted are charged with fine or as long as 20 years of imprisonment.

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