Racket (crime)(Redirected from Racketeering)
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A racket is a planned or organized criminal act, usually in which the criminal act is a form of business or a way to regularly, or briefly but repeatedly, earn illegal or extorted money. A racket is often a repeated or continuous criminal operation.
Originally, and often still specifically, a racket was a criminal act in which the perpetrator or perpetrators offer a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a non-existent problem, or a service that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party. The most common example of a racket is the "protection racket". The racket itself promises to protect the target business or person from dangerous individuals in the neighborhood; then either collects their money or causes the damages to the business until the owner pays. The racket exists as both the problem and its solution and is used as a method of extortion.
However, the term "racket" has expanded in definition and may be used less strictly to refer to any illegal organized crime operation, including those that do not necessarily involve fraudulent practices. For example, "racket" may be used to refer to the "numbers racket" or the "drug racket", neither of which generally or explicitly involve fraud or deception with regards to the intended clientele.
Racketeering is most often associated with organized crime, and the term was coined by the Employers' Association of Chicago in June 1927 in a statement about the influence of organized crime in the Teamsters union.
Various examples of common racketeering activities include, but are not limited to:
- A protection racket is a form of extortion whereby racketeers offer to "protect" property from damage in exchange for a fee, while also being responsible, in part or in whole, for the property damage.
- A fencing racket is where stolen goods are (indirectly) sold back to their original owner.
- A numbers racket is any unauthorised lottery or illegal gambling operation.
- Money laundering and other creative accounting practices that are misused in ways to disguise sources of illegal funds.
- Bribery; bribing police, politicians, and judges and other people if done to benefit crime groups.
- Burglary and Home invasions
- Mostly-extreme cases of academic dishonesty, such as in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal
- Loan sharking, when misused; the distribution of unregulated, "under-the-table" loans given on terms which are unlikely to ever be paid back
- Manufacturing and distributing counterfeit products
- Copyright infringement
- Credit card fraud
- Identity theft
- Cheque fraud ("paper hanging")
- Check kiting
- Computer crimes if committed for financial gain.
- Health care fraud
- Insurance fraud
- Drug trafficking
- Prostitution (brothels, escort services, and massage parlors)
- Human trafficking
- People smuggling
- Tax evasion
- Arms trafficking
- Truck hijacking (hijacking the load off the trucks)
- Car hijacking
- Cigarette smuggling
- Mail and wire fraud
- Securities fraud (Penny stock scams)
- Bank fraud if done to benefit crime groups
- Mortgage fraud
- Witness tampering
- Bid rigging, often construction kickbacks to organized crime groups that rig the bid to benefit themselves.
- Assault to beat up victims of crime groups.
- Skimming (fraud)
- Skimming (casinos)
- Fraudulent waste management operations
- Auto theft
- Operating chop shops
- Commercial sexual exploitation of children
- Bank robbery and Armour Car heists
- Jewelry and gems store heists
- Labor unions (labor racketeering)
- Pornography if done to benefit crime groups.
- Match fixing
- Strip clubs; some crime groups own strip clubs also.
- Police corruption
- Child molestation
- Acts of Terrorism if done for racketeering purposes
On October 15, 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–1968), commonly referred to as the "RICO Act", became United States law. The RICO Act allowed law enforcement to charge a person or group of people with racketeering, defined as committing multiple violations of certain varieties within a ten-year period. The purpose of the RICO Act was stated as "the elimination of the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce". S.Rep. No. 617, 91st Cong., 1st Sess. 76 (1968). However, the statute is sufficiently broad to encompass illegal activities relating to any enterprise affecting interstate or foreign commerce.
Section 1961(10) of Title 18 provides that the Attorney General of the United States may designate any department or agency to conduct investigations authorized by the RICO statute and such department or agency may use the investigative provisions of the statute or the investigative power of such department or agency otherwise conferred by law. Absent a specific designation by the Attorney General, jurisdiction to conduct investigations for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1962 lies with the agency having jurisdiction over the violations constituting the pattern of racketeering activity listed in 18 U.S.C. § 1961.
In the US, civil racketeering laws are also used in federal and state courts.
- "Racketeering". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- David Witwer, "'The Most Racketeer-Ridden Union in America': The Problem of Corruption in the Teamsters Union During the 1930s", in Corrupt Histories, Emmanuel Kreike and William Chester Jordan, eds., University of Rochester Press, 2004. ISBN 1-58046-173-5
- "Organized Crime and Racketeering". Usdoj.gov. Retrieved 2012-02-18.