Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

  1. made criminal “enterprise,” or illicit activity that is run like a business, illegal and applied harsh penalties to those engaged in it. RICO and later amendments include provisions against fraud, corruption, violence, and activity in furtherance of human trafficking and slavery. It allows federal prosecutors broad powers to attack organized crime elements or other groups involved in certain “patterns” of illicit conduct. It has been used successfully against a wide variety of offenders, and many states have modeled laws on its provisions.