NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Developments In "Rico" Law

March 2, 2000

RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. 1961-68), "was originally designed to root organized crime out of legitimate businesses. Instead, it has produced an avalanche of litigation against entirely legitimate businesses," says Greg P. Joseph, author of "Civil Rico:A Definitive Guide, Second Edition."

The new book, published by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation ( is designed to provide a concise and readable analysis of the major legal issues arising in civil actions litigated under the RICO.

Since the release of the first edition of the book in 1992, the Supreme Court has delivered several RICO opinions and the courts of appeals have rendered scores more. Also, the U.S. Congress has amended both the RICO Act and significant predicate act statutes.

According to Joseph, the courts wrestle with one fundamental problem: When a statute such as RICO is broadly worded in order to prevent loopholes, there is a danger of its being applied to situations absurdly remote from the concerns of the statute's framers. However, a too stinting reading could restrict intended criminal applications.

Source: News release, "Latest Developments In The Rico Act Detailed In 2nd Edition Of Comprehensive Guide," February 25, 2000, American Bar Association.


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