Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO)

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Congressional act passed in 1970 that was established to increase civil penalties and criminal punishment for acts of organized crime by criminal organization such as the Mafia. The act is considered an extension of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, which was established to allow the government to better prosecute criminal organizations. RICO outlines how many and what type of crimes an individual must have committed to be charged with racketeering. During the 1970s and 1980s RICO was mainly used in the prosecution of individuals associated with the Mafia, but presently the act is applied to a variety of different segments including both individuals and businesses.


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