RICO was originally enacted in the 1970s to deal with mafia dealings. Later on the application become more widespread and now includes businesses, enterprises and even government institutions. According to RICO law, a person who is a member of an enterprise or group and has involved in two of the 35 offenses mentioned in parameters within ten years period can be charged with RICO. Of these 35 crimes, 25 are federal crimes and 8 are state ones.
Punishment for anyone implicated in RICO laws can extend up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $25000. These punishments are per count which means that for every crime. In addition to these, the racketeer will have to give up all the gains he made through the racketeering activity.
If a person has been harmed due to the racketeering of a criminal, he has the option of filing a law suit against him. If he is successful, he can collect an compensation three times that of the actual damages. This can be done for both state level offenses and federal level ones.
The 35 crimes include gambling, arson, bribery, extortion, prostitution, counterfeiting and drug dealing. Terrorism and aiding aliens enter the country are also included. Corporate crimes like embezzlement, money laundering, bankruptcy or securities fraud are also included. Previously, a person who hired another man to do his dirty could not be implicated because he never actually did it. Under RICO, this person could be brought to justice as well for hiring and aiding crimes. What initially started as an anti-mafia initiative has now covered the whole corporate sector as well. Anyone involved in any two of these crimes within a time frame of ten years can be brought to RICO.