Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Statute – What is the RICO Act?


Aktenzeichen! Juristische Information

Berlin based DR. Schulte and Partner Rechtsanwälte mbB concentrate on assisting our clients preventing fraud and scams. Especially in investment related business relationships and contracts potential customers are supposed to take special care. In Germany as well as in the United States and every other capitalist Nation, the methods are similar.

As an example, here is what the US Department of Justice has issued a description of the current legal situation (http://www.justice.gov/usam/usam-9-110000-organized-crime-and-racketeering#9-110.010):

On October 15, 1970, the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 became law. Title IX of the Act is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Statute (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968), commonly referred to as the „RICO“ statute. The purpose of the RICO statute is „the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce.“ S.Rep. No. 617, 91st Cong., 1st Sess. 76 (1969). However, the statute is sufficiently broad to encompass illegal activities relating to any enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

Section 1961(10) of Title 18 provides that the Attorney General may designate any department or agency to conduct investigations authorized by the RICO statute and such department or agency may use the investigative provisions of the statute or the investigative power of such department or agency otherwise conferred by law. Absent a specific designation by the Attorney General, jurisdiction to conduct investigations for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1962 lies with the agency having jurisdiction over the violations constituting the pattern of racketeering activity listed in 18 U.S.C. § 1961.

The review and approval function for all RICO matters has been centralized within the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Criminal Division. To commence the review process, the final draft of the proposed indictment or information and a RICO prosecution memorandum shall be forwarded to the Organized Crime and Gang Section. Separate approval is required for superseding indictments or indictments based upon a previously approved information. Attorneys are encouraged to seek guidance from the Organized Crime and Gang Section by telephone prior to the time an investigation is undertaken and well before a final indictment and prosecution memorandum are submitted for review. Guidance on preparing the RICO prosecution memorandum is in the Criminal Resource Manual at 2071 et seq.
RICO reviews are handled on a first-in-first-out basis. Accordingly, the submitting attorney must allocate sufficient lead time to permit review, revision, conferences, and the scheduling of the grand jury. Unless there is a backlog, 15 working days is usually sufficient. The review process will not be dispensed with because a grand jury, which is about to expire, has been scheduled to meet to return a RICO indictment. Therefore, submitting attorneys are cautioned to budget their time and to await receipt of approval before scheduling the presentation of the indictment to a grand jury.

If modifications in the indictment are required, they must be made by the submitting attorney before the indictment is returned by the grand jury. Once the modifications have been made and the indictment has been returned, a copy of the indictment filed with the clerk of the court shall be forwarded to Organized Crime and Gang Section. If, however, it is determined that the RICO count is inappropriate, the submitting attorney will be advised of the Section’s disapproval of the proposed indictment. The submitting attorney may wish to redraft the indictment based upon the Section’s review and submit a revised indictment and/or prosecution memorandum at a later date.

Für unsere deutschen Mandanten gibt es hier eine kurze Zusammenfassung:

Dr. Schulte und sein Team sind international tätig. Zur Aufklärung und Beschreibung der Rechtslage in anderen Ländern im Vergleich zum deutschen Rechtssystem geht es diesmal um den sog. „RICO Act“, also die Rechtsprechung in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika in Bezug auf die kriminelle Geschäftsführung und die damit verbundene organisierte Kriminalität.  Wir sind dabei sowohl innerhalb als auch außerhalb Deutschlands tätig. Als ein Beispiel für die amerikanische Rechtslage zitieren wir hier aus einer offiziellen Darstellung des U.S. Justizministeriums.


Dr. Thomas Schulte und Team

Der Beitrag schildert die Sach- und Rechtslage zum Zeitpunkt der Erstellung. Internetpublikationen können nur einen ersten Hinweis geben und keine Rechtsberatung ersetzen.

Ein Beitrag aus unserer Reihe "So ist das Recht - rechtswissenschaftliche Publikationen von Dr. Schulte Rechtsanwalt" registriert bei DEUTSCHE NATIONALBIBLIOTHEK: ISSN 2363-6718
20. Jahrgang - Nr. 1691 vom 3. September 2015 - Erscheinungsweise: täglich - wöchentlich

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