You have likely heard about the mob or gangsters. These may seem like old-fashioned terms because the mob as it was once active in the United States is no longer the threat that it once was. The reason for this is largely due to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
The U.S. Department of Justice explains RICO was put into place to stop organized crime. Specifically, it pertains to an organized group of individuals who commit crimes for the good of the overall organization.
To violate RICO, the court must find that you were an employee of an organized crime organization committing criminal activity at least two times that interfered with interstate commerce. It is very specific in that you need to commit racketeering activities at least twice to establish a pattern of criminal activity. There must be proof that you intended to continue the activity.
RICO seeks to go after those who are lifetime criminals in an organization that is funding and encouraging such activity. You do not have to be a leader in the organization. You do not even have to know others within the organization. The act of simply carrying out the work, which means criminal activity, of the organization is enough to qualify you under RICO for charges.
While the mob may not be as active as it once was in the U.S., there are still organizations that fall under the definition of criminal enterprise in RICO. The organization may be using a front, such as a corporation. However, the activities it conducts are illegal and equate to racketeering.