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RICO Tool Kit: How to hold Washington accountable using the Racketeer Influence & Corrupt Organizations Act

17 June 2013 6 Comments

Frustrated by corruption coming out Washington?

What stopped the mob? The Racketeer Influence & Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). What will hold politicians on both sides of the aisle accountable? RICO.

Under statue 18 USC § 1961 crimes under RICO include everything from extortion, obstruction of justice, obstruction of a criminal investigation, and witness tampering or witness retaliation, to kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter and financial institution fraud.

According to Civil RICO: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 and 1968. A Manual for Federal Attorneys published in 2007:

To obtain civil equitable relief under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(a), the United States must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that: (1) a defendant committed or intended to commit a RICO violation by establishing the same elements as in a criminal RICO case, except that criminal intent is not required; and (2) that there is a reasonable likelihood that the defendant will commit a violation in the future.

Civil RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).

Americans who have been targeted by the IRS should also consider “Section 1983 Actions against the Deprivation of Constitutional Rights under Color of State Law.” This also includes “Monetary Damages against Federal Officials in Their Personal Capacities.” More on this below.

To begin, this great summation called Civil RICO: Points to Remember, by Paul Andrew Mitchell, provides a succinct breakdown of RICO with corresponding sourcing. One of the objectives of civil RICO, for example, is to turn victims into prosecutors, “private attorneys general,” dedicated to eliminating racketeering activity. That’s you! Remember racketeering— is the act of engaging in criminal activity as a structured group. The structured group is now government agencies.

Keep in mind RICO has already been successfully used against corrupt politicians like the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick and his childhood friend Bobby Ferguson. Under the RICO statute, they were convicted on March 11, 2013 of using his office to run a criminal organization to extort bribes in exchange for city contracts. Don’t waver. It can be done.

We’ve also seen how RICO was effectively used against Wall Street. In 1989, for instance, junk bond king, Michael Milken was indicted under RICO. To avoid the harsh criminal RICO penalties, Milken pled guilty to six lesser, non-RICO, securities fraud offenses. Instead of possibly going to prison for life, he served 22 months in jail and paid $1.1 billion in damages. $200 million went to criminal fines and $900 million to civil suits.


Civil RICO Lawsuit Tool Kit

First this American University Law Review report called, Using the Master’s Tools: Fighting Persistent Police Misconduct with Civil RICO, by Steven P. Ragland, will show you how RICO was fruitfully used to root out corrupt policemen in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). This example can be applied to corrupt officials at the IRS and other agencies where corruption exists. Substitute the bad cops with the corrupt government workers, LAPD with the government agency in question and off you go.

The Federal Civil Rights Laws from the Columbia Law School will provide you with a myriad of information including a course outline that will show you how: 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 – Civil Remedy for Deprivation of Rights and RICO: Civil Remedies for Conspiracies to Deprive Rights may be applied.

The good news with civil RICO is “that no criminal convictions are necessary to win a civil case under the act. The plaintiff need only show, by a Preponderance of Evidence, that it is more likely than not that the ongoing criminal enterprise occurred. As a result RICO has been used in all types of civil cases to allege wrongdoing. By contrast, a criminal RICO case must be proved Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.”

In criminal RICO cases, if the defendant invocates their Fifth Amendment (Privilege against Self-Incrimination), the judge and jury are prohibited from drawing an adverse inference. This is not the case in civil RICO suits.

Moreover, civil RICO can begin at the local and State level. If crimes are revealed during the discovery process they can then be merged with others and taken to the criminal RICO level. If you find yourself in that situation read the RICO Manual that Federal Prosecutors use.

For contrast, this case provides an example of what not to do including addressing the issue of statute of limitations. In short, RICO requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, establishing a pattern which occurred within ten years after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.

Civil RICO suits have the potential of uniting and empowering citizens. They are a non-violent, successful option to expose, put a stop to, obtain justice and clean up Washington.

To those who have been affected, see also, Section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant).