All RICO cases stem from the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This Act was passed by Congress to eliminate the ill-effects of organized crime on the economy of the United States. Really, it was designed to go after the Mafia. Throughout the 1970s, the intended purpose and the actual use of the act were parallel to each other. The Act’s provisions were rarely used outside of the context of the Mafia and civil claims under RICO were simply not brought to courts.
In the 1980s, however, the creative lawyers of the country figured out that section 1964(c) of the Act, which allows civil claims to be brought against anyone by any person injured in their property or business by reason of a RICO violation, could result in massive financial windfalls for their clients, if they could win. The loophole they found stems from Congress including details for wire fraud and mail fraud as grounds for RICO violations. Those two areas of law had historically included a broad area of violations. The financial windfalls the attorneys figured out was in the form of three times the amount of damages plus attorney or lawyer fees plus all costs incurred during the trial. What started with a few lawyers expanded to include the creativity of lawyers across the country to the point that by the late 1980s, RICO charges were among the most common charges brought to federal courts.
In the 1980s, a RICO charge could arise in almost any context which made the law unpredictable and complicated. Then, the Supreme Court and Congress decided to limit the cases that could be brought under RICO charges. This has resulted in a significant drop in the number of RICO cases brought before the courts.
Because of the large number of cases prosecuted under RICO that involved a lot of creativity on the part of lawyers, it is imperative to enlist the services of an experienced federal criminal lawyer in Clearwater to avoid paying massive amounts in damages to your accuser. Contact the Clearwater Federal RICO attorneys of the Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, PLLC to ensure that you don’t become the source of someone’s financial windfall.