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What is RICO?

Chicago, IL criminal defense attorney Gal Pissetzky talks about what RICO is and the activities that fall under it.

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So RICO is what’s known as RICO, it’s short for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization. Any organization that has illegal activities, from a regular corporation, a Wall Street corporation to gangs, can be prosecuted under the RICO Act. In order to be prosecuted under the RICO Act, the prosecutors have to – there’s different levels and different elements that the government has to prove when it comes to prosecutions of RICO. However, generally the prosecutor has to prove at least two or three separate acts that the corporation is committing that are illegal.

So for example, when you are prosecuting a street gang with RICO, prosecutors usually would show that that gang is dealing with drugs and committing murders. That would be enough to prove a RICO. It depends on, again, what statute section under the RICO act you are being prosecuted under. Sometimes the prosecutor has to prove specifically those acts, and sometimes they can just generally prove certain acts. And when the jury deliberates, they don’t really have to specifically tell or vote on a certain act, they can just in general say yes, we find that the prosecutor proved that at least two acts are illegal.

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