Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Racketeering is a Serious and Illegal Practice


There are individuals who want to make money quickly through illegal business practices. Sometimes these activities fall under the category of racketeering. Racketeering involves organized groups or organizations that operate illegal businesses called "rackets." Also, organized crime organizations may use legitimate companies to embezzle funds through racketeering. Often, illegal businesses organize large groups to keep the law-breaking operation profitable and under cover. These illegal activities may include extortion, loan sharking, bribery, or obstruction of justice. The effects of racketeering in corporate business can be far-reaching and involve a variety of white collar crimes that affect CEOs, shareholders, and even employees.   

Racketeering is often associated with organized crime that may include:

  • Gambling

  • Import or sale of illegal drugs

  • Prostitution or sex trafficking rings

  • Illegal weapon trafficking

  • Counterfeiting

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was passed by Congress in 1970 to keep people from engaging in racketeering activities. The federal law prosecutes individuals involved in illegal business practices and organized crimes. Many times, an individual accused or charged with racketeering uses his authority or influence to illegally persuade others to get involved in the criminal activities. RICO is complex, and you should hire an experienced criminal justice attorney who can explain the law and how it affects your particular case. Under RICO, a person can be prosecuted for racketeering when he/she is:

  • A person who owns or operates a business involved racketeering

  • A person associated with a business involved in racketeering

  • A person or organization that continuously performs illegal activities associated with racketeering

If you have been a victim of a racketeering organization, you should call law enforcement and report the crime. If the evidence warrants, law enforcement will forward your case to the Attorney General's office to prosecute the organization that committed the racketeering violation. The RICO Act enables a victim who was impacted by the activities of a racketeering group to file a civil lawsuit. On the other hand, if you have been accused of a RICO violation, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and defenses.

The federal RICO Act is used to punish racketeering crimes and activities in the Commonwealth. To convict someone in Massachusetts of racketeering, it is not required to prove the individual performed an illegal act him of herself.  It only has to be proven that the individual owned or managed a criminal organization and the organization regularly performed an illegal act.

A crime that is associated with organized crime, such as racketeering or a RICO offense can have a devastating outcome. It is considered to be one of the most serious crimes involving financial violations. Racketeering, or conspiring to commit racketeering, is a felony in the first degree. Perpetrators may have to pay hefty fines and can receive a sentence of 30 years in prison.

If you are accused of a RICO violation or racketeering, the consequences may be life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that may help reduce your punishment. He can explain your rights and provide personalized legal services in your case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.