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What are the laws against racketeering?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2023 | Federal Offenses |

Racketeering is a term often used for organized criminal enterprises that take illegal measures to operate. Both federal and state laws enforce legal protections against this type of crime.

The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) qualifies crimes as racketeering if they meet the following conditions:

  • Done as part of a criminal organization or enterprise’s operation
  • Their operations impacted interstate or foreign business
  • The accused performed illegal activities as an employee or worker hired by the organization

It means that offenses can come with RICO charges if the violators commit them for the sake of a criminal organization or syndicate.

However, this policy only covers these actions if they follow a pattern, requiring at least two incidents within 10 years. The court will consider the continuity and conduct of the offenses committed before bringing about these charges.

Expansion under state law

South Carolina has expanded provisions covering gang-related offenses in the South Carolina Street Gang and Criminal Enterprise Prevention and Anti-Racketeering Act.

This policy covers criminal gang activity, including:

  • Assault or battery
  • Extortion or blackmail
  • Crimes involving credit cards or other financial transactions
  • Drug offenses
  • Grand larceny and retail theft
  • Obstruction of justice

It also defines racketeering activity as solicitation, coercion or intimidation related to the following incidents:

  • Narcotics and other controlled drugs
  • Kidnapping
  • Employment of minors to participate in illegal activities
  • Harassment
  • Stalking

Even so, the law does not limit racketeering to these offenses. It can also happen in the form of discreet and large-scale white-collar crimes, such as cyber extortion, identity theft and fraud.

The difference between federal and state laws

RICO exists to help eliminate organized crime in the United States. It may target violators, but the state policy expands its provisions to protect local communities prone to dangerous small-scale organized crime and gang activity.