One need not be a member of the Mafia or even have Cosa Nostra ties in order to be charged with RICO violations. The proliferation of derivative crimes, in combination with all these laws and regulations, has produced a prosecutors paradise. In tracing the development of RICO, we find that the law was little more than a bait-and-switch statute that has had little or no effect in stopping or inhibiting the crimesmurder, rape, robbery, and so forththat most concerned the public in 1970. Although the act can be used against protesters, courts and prosecutors are less likely to use it for that purpose than they have in the past. The idea for the acronym RICO came from the character Rico played by Edward G. Robinson in the 1930s gangster movie Little Caesar. In legal terminology, these underlying crimes are referred to as the predicate acts required by the RICO statute. The best-known Wall Street cases were the prosecutions of Michael Milken, the financial entrepreneur who played a leading role in promoting the high-risk, highyield securities known as junk bonds, and his firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. RICO Laws [electronic resource]. Puerto Rico Laws Ann. It is hardly surprising that in such a political climate the law and order issue resonated with all the viable candidates, from Kennedy to Nixon to third-party candidate George C. Wallace (White 1969). Because the firm went bankrupt soon after the raid, the foreigners who put up the investments lost most of their money. RICO (18 U.S.C. Appellate courts overturned these guilty verdicts in the summer of 1991, but not before Princeton Newport went out of business. In Alexander v. United States (1993), the Court ruled that RICO forfeiture laws did not violate the First Amendment. Conspicuously absent from RICO is any required mental state: violation of RICO does not require intent, recklessness, willfulness, or even knowledge on the part of the accused. A bombshell report from the Public Credit Comprehensive Audit Commission (PCCAC) of Puerto Rico was released this week. Fischel, however, strongly disputes the governments contention that Milkens guilty pleasmade under extreme duress after government prosecutors threatened to indict members of his familyproved that, in the words of Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard Breeden, he stood at the center of a network of manipulation, fraud, and deceit. Fischel writes: Breedens statement could not have been more wrong. Leaving the offices a shambles, the agents packed most of the records, computers, and other items of the business into fifteen waiting trucks, effectively putting the company out of business (Timmerman 2000). A good law has several essential attributes: It is clear; it addresses itself to a specific and clearly defined form of illicit conduct; it prescribes a remedy or punishment proportionate to the damage done by the offense. Of such a person, former U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson once declared: Any prosecutor who risks his day-to-day professional name for fair dealing to build up statistics of success has a perverted sense of practical values as well as defects of character (qtd. . 24, §2411(c) Web Search; Possession of any item used for the cultivation, distribution, or inhalation/ingestion of marijuana is a felony and is punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 or a fixed term of 3 years imprisonment. . The Over-criminalization of Social and Economic Conduct. Reported murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies, and burglaries, all increased rapidly, relative to population, from 1960 to 1970. By definition, the truly wrongful acts in RICO are already criminalized under other statutes. (2003, 23). Although it is difficult to know if they would have fared better had they been able to secure the legal representation of their choice, the fact remains that because of the RICO law, they could not defend themselves adequately against the governments charges. Such abuse of prosecutorial discretion aids politically motivated or vindictive prosecutions and produces concomitant suffering and injustice for the victimized defendants. Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as governor of Puerto Rico on August 2. (Standard practice in the industry at that time was for the firms to make a phantom loan to immigrants, with the loan forgiven after five years. Rudy Guilianis prosecution of Michael Milken and other Wall Street luminaries in the 1980sthe springboard from which Guiliani rose to become first the mayor of New York City and ultimately a popular public speaker collecting $75,000 per speechinvolved some of the early attempts to expand criminal RICO provisions to prosecute private business figures who clearly were not mafiosi. 2. Without RICO, a defendant may still be charged with committing or conspiring to commit the underlying crime. Volume 9 Number 1 â¢ Thus did two northern Virginia business owners, men with no ties to organized crime, find themselves in the RICO dock facing possible twenty-five-year prison sentences for offenses that at one time would have made them simply defendants in a civil law suit. Because the owner’s conviction for the sale of several obscene products was deemed a pattern … Summer 2004, This James OConnor and James Geisler, founders and principle owners of the business, soon were indicted in federal court for conspiracy, immigration and visa fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, income tax violations, bankruptcy fraud, and mail fraud. As Roche and Cohn (2000) write, the early results were disappointing until after 1993, when an INS administrator ruled that an investor need put up only $125,000, the balance being provided by a note from the firm handling the investors visa application. Although Wall Street Journal news reporters such as James Stewart and Laurie Cohen served as virtual mouthpieces for Guiliani and his assistants, the editorial page staff of that same newspaper defended many of the Wall Street traders who found themselves in the governments crosshairs. Civil Liberties Defense Center, April 24, 2014. 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