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Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

What does racketeering typically consist of?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2020 | Firm News

When someone accuses you of using funds from honest and legitimate businesses to pay for illegal actions, it may be overwhelming. 

The Racketeering Influenced and Corruptions Act, also known as RICO, prohibits usage or extortion of money for these reasons. 


According to FindLaw, many common situations involving racketeering include drug trafficking or counterfeiting. Embezzlement and extortion, which are crimes involving appropriating money or demanding money from others in order to pay for illegal activities, are illegal under RICO. Prostitution and drug trafficking also fall under the category of racketeering. 


In modern times, it may be a bit harder to pinpoint where the line is between traditional organized crime and white collar crime. Actions such as diverting money to pay into a illegitimate business or even digitally extorting funds are more common but equally illegal. 

Protection rackets are when someone holds information or data hostage in order to collect a sum of money. Installing malware onto a user’s computer and demanding a ransom in order to access the computer also falls under the definition of racketeering. 

Laws and standards 

In prior years, it was harder to arrest those at the center of these incidents, due to their indirect involvement in the crime itself. Nowadays, both lower level members and those in charge and heavily involved in these plans may have charges brought against them as well. 

In order to fit the definition of racketeering, you must have been in charge of an illegal organization. This is not limited to crime rings, but also includes more commonplace scenarios, such as protestors outside an abortion clinic. Learning more about whether or not your actions constitute racketeering can help you determine how to defend yourself.