RICO as defined by the Government
Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
RICO was part of a package known as the
Control Act of 1970 and was proposed by Notre Dame University
Law School Professor, Robert Blakey. The same concept was
put forth decades earlier in the 1930's by Tom Dewey. It is
worthy to note that Mr. Blakey was an aid to Robert Kennedy
and wrote the RICO law as a fitting tribute to Kennedy's
hatred of the so called "Mafia" who also happened to be
his father's Italian American partners in crime. Huh, go figure!
A pattern of racketeering is two or more violations within a ten year period of state and federal laws. This means be careful next time someone at works asks you to engage in the next football pool or after hours Bingo.
RICO changed the focus from prosecuting individual criminals to prosecuting individuals who committed crimes which benefited "corrupt" organizations -such as crime families. RICO, a powerful tool for the government and a threat to our civil rights. Civil Liberties groups and Coalitions were vehemently opposed to the concept of RICO as a flagrant violation of the Constitution and our 1st amendment rights.
Defining Racketeering is "iffy" at best. RICO is based on two concepts: Racketeering and establishing a "criminal enterprise" A criminal enterprise was any group "associated in fact" whose members committed crimes for group purposes. A racketeering pattern was two or more violations of state and federal laws regarding murder, kidnapping, hijacking, extortion, fraud and several other crimes. Putting it in layman's terms, if you are convicted of a crime and you choose to socialize with other people also convicted of crime, regardless of how many years spent in jail, the two of you can be sent back to jail for being seen in the same place together. This is why the FBI are seen frequenting restaurants, nightclubs weddings and even funerals where they may "suspect" mobsters are hanging out. A violation of rights? YOU be the judge.
It's intent to protect legitimate business from illegal infiltration by Organized Crime wanting to take over through the use of extortion to use as fronts for illegal activity. Unfortunately the Justice Department and FBI took this to mean an ease on wiretapping and electronic surveillance restrictions.
By seizing assets the FBI and other Justice Department agencies have enabled themselves to act at their own discretion and of course to their own gain. Don't think it doesn't happen. They can pad their own pocketbooks and add to their so-called government budgets using their own resources. Now you tell me who is running an Organized Crime operation? FORFEITURE includes seizure of EVERYTHING! If you marry someone and they are implicated in a RICO sting YOU could lose everything YOU have. AND it happens.
If the prosecution wants to accuse someone of being a "boss" "capo" during a bail hearing to prejudice a case they can do so. This is what happened to John A. Gotti, John Gotti's son who was recently sentenced to 77 months. The prosecution called him the "acting boss" and when it was and is advantagous in other cases can and did refer to others, such as Nicholas Corozzo to obtain a conviction during his 1996 and '97 indictments. Even IHOP can distinguish their employees of the month. This reminds me of children on the playground being confronted by a teacher after a misdeed. "He Did it!" "No, She did it!" That is what RICO has reduced the FBI and Justice Department to. Desperate, finger pointing, "can't wait till this high profile case is over and I can write a book about it", GQ wannabees!
Over the past 16 years several FBI agents have used extortion, taking bribes, even dealing in narcotics through connections made as an Federal Agent. When a former FBI agent is released from Prison is he/she allowed to socialize with other FBI agents? Jerome Sullivan, the wayward FBI agent who had put in 25 years of service to Uncle Sam also developed a gambling problem. A gambling problem to the tune of $400,000.00! Place your bets! Seems Sullivan was the SAC in charge of a number of cases from which the money had been seized. In court testimony the FBI swears they knew of his problems and that he had embezzled the money to feed his gambling addiction, lied to save his ass, yet his bad judgment had no affect on these investigations.
Penalties: The penalties for a RICO conviction can be up to 20 years and $25,000 in fines on EACH COUNT. AND check this out. If they find $5,000 in your safety deposit box or under your mattress, seize it and you are found NOT GUILTY in court, the government DOES NOT have to give the money back to you.
Most law abiding citizens are not aware of RICO or that the penalty for a RICO conviction can be up to twenty years in prison for each count. A person convicted under RICO could actually do more time for the RICO portion than the actual crime committed. Another RICO provision enabled prosecutors to charge crimes for which a defendant had already been convicted and punished in state court. The logic behind this loophole is that you have punished the criminal but NOT the CRIMINAL ENTERPRISEORGANIZATION as a whole.
GOTTI and RICO
This statue was not good news for Gotti. Yes, Gotti had prior convictions for attempted manslaughter and hijacking. And yes he did his time for those convictions housed in a federal facility. And yet the prosecution could not resist the temptation to use the RICO act as a way of convicting Gotti for racketeering and supposedly running a criminal enterprise. After being busted for drugs and under pressure from the FBI, Armond Dellacroce admitted to the existence of a criminal enterprise and referred to the Gambino Family and Bergin Crew. McBratney Murder
Diane Giacalone, the U.S. attorney preparing the federal racketeering case against Gotti would further her paranoia with the idea that John Gotti was intimidating witnesses in this case the same way she had insisted he intimidated Romual Piecyk on a previous case. This false allegation was all she needed to convince a judge to revoke Gotti's bail and send him back to prison to await his court date on RICO charges nearly ten months later. Through an informant who turned out to be a disgruntled ex girlfriend (not me of course) of one of Gotti's friends, Bruce Mouw, who was heading up the FBI's campaign against Gotti, thought he'd found proof that Gotti's associates had paid one of the jurors to throw the case. In spite of this "Get Gotti" campaign unfairly waged against the reputed mafia boss, John Gotti managed to beat the government's case thanks to his lawyer Bruce Cutler Months later, John Gotti a celebrated hero, Robin Hood of sorts praised and revered by his neighbours for his annual 4th of July parties which complete with fire works, free food, free t-shirts and with Gotti himself picking up the tab for this feast in Ozone Park . Mr. Gotti is not the first so called Mob Boss to be accused of Racketeering and prosecuted under the RICO statute. Here is a list of a few other victims:
Paul Castellano Funzi Tieri (the 1st Rico Case) in 1981 Boss of the so-called Genovese family. Sentenced to 10 years he died before serving out his term. Tony Salerno and
Vincent Gigante also sentenced under RICO. Sadly Tony Salerno died in prison.
CarlosMarcello of New Orleans. Buffalino of Pittston, PA, Dominic Brooklier his son Anthony, an excellent high profile attorney from Los Angeles, has faced problems of his own recently after being targeted.
Balisteiri of Milwaukee,
Angelo Lonardo of Cleveland,
Smaldone of Denver, Russotti of Rochester, Scarfo of Philadelphia, Rastelli and Langella of New York City,
In March 1983, Nick Civella was paroled from the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He was going home to die. Civella was surrounded by family members when he passed away, but was unable to speak. Next came Anthony Corallo (Luchesse) and Carmine Persico (Colombo) who are each serving 100 years on RICO charges. Mr. Persico is making the best while in minimum security at Lompoc, CA. and while he may play drums in a prison rock band, he can't go on tour or buy a slurpee at 7-11. Lompoc Four Rock Band
From the Office Football Pool And think before you buy a square for the next football pool. You are engaging in Racketeering and could have your Christmas Bonus confiscated.
Convinced Rico is unconstitutional? Write your congressman or Senator. One sheet of paper, a pen, envelope and $.34 stamp. AND YOU HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE! GOD BLESS AMERICA!