To many people in California, it may seem that there has been an increase in the number of white collar criminal cases across the nation. Certainly, there have been numerous high-profile cases that have played out across a variety of venues in the last few years. However, it is important to take a look at the nature of some of these cases to get the full picture of what might be happening.
According to data from the Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse, the number of civil cases involving charges based on the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law grew from 693 in 2017 to 1,405 in 2018. Forbes reports that the RICO law, originally put into effect in 1970 to go after leaders and members of organized crime, has seen its reason for existence evolve. More and more today, this law is being used to go after civil, not criminal, charges for white collar offenses.
The Department of Justice explains that in order for a person to be found guilty of charges under RICO, the prosecution must prove multiple things. Each must be proven based on the criminal standard which is beyond a reasonable doubt. Among these factor that must be proven include the existence of the alleged entity and the entity's involvement in interstate business.
Conviction of a crime under RICO also requires proof that the defendant was associated with the entity and engaged in two or more actions that can be considered racketeering in a manner showing a pattern of such behavior or activity.