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To establish liability under any subsection of section 1962, a plaintiff or the prosecution must allege the existence of an enterprise.  An enterprise may be an illegitimate enterprise, such as a Mafia family, or a wholly legitimate enterprise, such as a corporation. Although an enterprise can be a legal entity, such as a partnership, corporation or association, it can also be an individual or simply a relatively loose-knit group of people or legal entities. Therefore, an “enterprise” includes any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.  A RICO enterprise is an entity made up of a group of persons associated together for the common purpose of engaging in a course of conduct.  United States v. Turkette, 452 U.S. 576, 582 (U.S. 1981).  To establish the existence of an enterprise, a plaintiff or the prosecution must prove that (1) the enterprise is an ongoing organization with some sort of framework or superstructure for making or carrying out decisions; (2) the members of the enterprise function as a continuing unit with established duties; and (3) the enterprise must be separate and apart from the pattern of activity in which it engages. Where a plaintiff or the prosecution identifies the “entities it believed were the enterprises that had been marshaled against it,” a plaintiff or the prosecution sufficiently alleges the existence of an enterprise. Most courts accept any informal group as an enterprise when the group possesses three characteristics: some continuity of structure and personnel; a common or shared purpose; and an ascertainable structure distinct from that inherent in the pattern of racketeering. Diamonds Plus, Inc. v. Kolber, 960 F.2d 765, 769-770 (8th Cir. Ark. 1992)

Inside Enterprise