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Racketeering Activity

The provisions of RICO provide civil and criminal liability for persons engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity.  To allege a RICO violation, a plaintiff or the prosecution must articulate a pattern of racketeering activity, i.e., predicate acts. Examples of predicate acts include state felonies punishable by imprisonment of more than a year such as murder, kidnapping, gambling or extortion, as well as more than thirty federal crimes, such as drug offenses, obstruction of justice, obscenity, and mail, wire, bankruptcy, and securities fraud.  The claim must include the allegation of at least two racketeering acts. When fraud is the predicate act, a plaintiff must satisfy the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).  Specifically, Rule 9(b) states “a party must state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake.”  Pursuant to Rule 9(b), a plaintiff alleging fraud must state the circumstances of the alleged fraud with sufficient particularity to place the defendant on notice of the precise misconduct with which it is charged.  In order to satisfy this standard, the plaintiff must plead or allege the date, time and place of the alleged fraud or otherwise inject precision or some measure of substantiation into a fraud allegation.  To set out a prima facie showing of a civil RICO violation under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), a plaintiff must have been injured by ‘racketeering activity’. ‘Racketeering activity’ is defined as a violation of certain enumerated statutes – commonly known as ‘predicate acts’ – in 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1).  The term ‘racketeering activity’ is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1) to include a long list of state and federal crimes.

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