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CRM 500-999

956. RICO Prosecutions—18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68

"Although it took some time before federal prosecutors began to use RICO expansively, it is now widely used against many types of crime, including white collar crime." O. Obermaier and R. Morvillo, White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses, § 11.03, at 11-6 (Rel. 2, 1991). RICO's prohibited activities are provided at 18 U.S.C. § 1962. Violations of either Section 1341 or 1343 or both may be used by prosecutors as the predicate acts necessary to establish a RICO violation. See 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1)(B) ("racketeering activity" defined to include "any act which is indictable under . . . . section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud) . . . .").

If the other requisite elements of a RICO violation can be established, a defendant who has committed the predicate acts of mail or wire fraud may be subjected to more severe sanctions than those imposed for a mail or wire fraud conviction. For example, the United States Sentencing Guidelines provide that the minimum base offense level for unlawful conduct relating to a RICO conviction is 19. U.S.S.G. § 2E1.1. In addition, the government may seek civil (18 U.S.C. § 1964) or criminal (18 U.S.C. § 1963(a)(1)-(3)) forfeiture of assets. "Courts have generally held that RICO criminal forfeiture is mandatory upon the defendant's conviction." O. Obermaier and R. Morvillo, §  11.05, at 11-22 (citing cases from the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits). The property subject to forfeiture includes "real property" and "tangible and intangible personal property." See § 1963(b).

For Department policy relating to RICO prosecutions see JM 9-110.000, et seq.

[cited in JM 9-43.100]