Monday, January 18, 2010

 

Santa, I know it's late but I really, really want a RICO law and can't wait until next December. Please? Just send it to the People of British Columbia, OK?

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What is RICO?

From (U.S.) Legal Base 

RICO stands for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and came about as a response to difficulty of prosecuting organized crime. Because law enforcement officers were largely unable to implicate organized crime bosses in the larger crimes, such as loan sharking or extortion, [U.S.]Congress passed a new law, RICO, which basically punishes people based on their status as someone who engages in unsavory or illegal business practices. In other words, RICO allows prosecutors to convict someone not for one specific crime, but for engaging in a series, or a pattern, of illegal activities. The exact nature of RICO is complex and too difficult to pin down in a summary of the law (in fact, many lawyers don't understand the law).

From Wikipedia [keeping in mind, this is U.S. law]:


Summary

Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $250,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."

RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such an enterprise to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages.


When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he or she has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.[4]
There is also a provision for private parties to sue. A "person damaged in his business or property" can sue one or more "racketeers." The plaintiff must prove the existence of a "criminal enterprise." The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise. A civil RICO action, like many lawsuits based on federal law, can be filed in state or federal court.[5]
Both the federal and civil components allow for the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas."[4]
The time before RICO was signed into law (October 15, 1970), was referred to as "The Golden Age" by those involved in organized crime. The term "The Golden Age" can be found on any of the multitude of "Mob Speak" glossaries on the internet.

[BC Mary says ... didn't Gordo Himself announce his reign as The Golden Era?]


RICO offenses

Under the law, racketeering activity means:

Any violation of state statutes against gambling, murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, robbery, bribery, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in the Controlled Substances Act);

Any act of bribery, counterfeiting, theft, embezzlement, fraud, dealing in obscene matter, obstruction of justice, slavery, racketeering, gambling, money laundering, commission of murder-for-hire, and several other offenses covered under the Federal criminal code (Title 18);

Embezzlement of union funds;
Bankruptcy fraud or securities fraud;
Drug trafficking; long-term and elaborate drug networks can also be prosecuted using the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute;
Money laundering and related offenses;
Bringing in, aiding or assisting aliens in illegally entering the country (if the action was for financial gain);
Acts of terrorism.
Pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.

The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to follow the continuity-plus-relationship test in order to determine whether the facts of a specific case give rise to an established pattern. Predicate acts are related if they "have the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events." (H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.) Continuity is both a closed and open ended concept, referring to either a closed period of conduct, or to past conduct that by its nature projects into the future with a threat of repetition.

[BC Mary says: haven't I said repeatedly that the tainted sale of BC Rail was the template? And that the BCRail Case is our best chance of finding out what happened again and again, after that: BC Hydro, BC Ferries, and more ...]


Where RICO laws might be applied

Although some of the RICO predicate acts are extortion and blackmail, one of the most successful applications of the RICO laws has been the ability to indict or sanction individuals for their behavior and actions committed against witnesses and victims in alleged retaliation or retribution for cooperating with federal law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

Violations of the RICO laws can be alleged civil lawsuit cases or for criminal charges. In these instances charges can be brought against individuals or corporations in retaliation for said individuals or corporations working with law enforcement. Further, charges can also be brought against individuals or corporations who have sued or filed criminal charges against a defendant.
Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) laws can be applied in an attempt to curb alleged abuses of the legal system by individuals or corporations who utilize the courts as a weapon to retaliate against whistle blowers, victims, or to silence another's speech. RICO could be alleged if it can be shown that lawyers and/or their clients conspired and collaborated to concoct fictitious legal complaints solely in retribution and retaliation for themselves having been brought before the courts.

Although the RICO laws may cover drug trafficking crimes in addition to other more traditional RICO predicate acts such as extortion, blackmail, and racketeering, large-scale and organized drug networks are now commonly prosecuted under the Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute, also known as the "Kingpin Statute". The CCE laws target only traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate conspiracies; whereas the RICO law can be charged for a variety of organized criminal behavior.[6]


[edit]Famous cases

[edit]Hells Angels Motorcycle Club
In 1979, the United States federal government went after Sonny Barger and several members and associates of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angels using RICO. InUnited States v. Barger, the prosecution team attempted to demonstrate a pattern of behavior to convict Barger and other members of the club of RICO offenses related to guns and illegal drugs. The jury acquitted Barger on the RICO charges with a hung jury on the predicate acts: "There was no proof it was part of club policy, and as much as they tried, the government could not come up with any incriminating minutes from any of our meetings mentioning drugs and guns".[7][8].

[edit]Frank Tieri
On November 21, 1980, Genovese crime family boss Frank "Funzi" Tieri was the first Mafia boss to be convicted under the RICO Act.


[edit]Catholic sex abuse cases
In some jurisdictions, RICO suits have been filed against abusive Catholic dioceses, using racketeering laws to prosecute the seemingly untouchable higher-ups in theepiscopacy. A Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims didn't amount to criminal racketeering. Certain lawyers and abuse advocates[who?] have openly wondered why a similar suit was not filed against archbishop Bernard Law, who escaped prosecution by going into exile in Vatican City.[9][10]

[edit]Key West PD
In June 1984, the Key West Police Department in Monroe County, Florida was declared a criminal enterprise under the Federal RICO statutes after a lengthy United States Department of Justice investigation. Several high-ranking officers of the department, including Deputy Police Chief Raymond Cassamayor, were arrested on federal charges of running a protection racket for illegal cocaine smugglers.[11] At trial, a witness testified he routinely delivered bags of cocaine to the Deputy Chief's office at City Hall.[12]

[edit]Michael Milken
On March 29, 1989, financier Michael Milken was indicted on 98 counts of racketeering and fraud relating to an investigation into insider trading and other offenses. Milken was accused of using a wide-ranging network of contacts to manipulate stock and bond prices. It was one of the first occasions that a RICO indictment was brought against an individual with no ties to organized crime. Milken pled guilty to six lesser offenses rather than face spending the rest of his life in prison.
On September 7, 1988, Milken's employer, Drexel Burnham Lambert, was also threatened with a RICO indictment under the legal doctrine that corporations are responsible for their employees' crimes. Drexel avoided RICO charges by pleading no contest to lesser felonies. While many sources say that Drexel pleaded guilty, in truth the firm only admitted it was "not in a position to dispute the allegations." If Drexel had been indicted, it would have had to post a performance bond of up to $1 billion to avoid having its assets frozen. This would have taken precedence over all of the firm's other obligations—including the loans that provided 96 percent of its capital. If the bond ever had to be paid, its shareholders would have been practically wiped out. Since banks will not extend credit to a firm indicted under RICO, an indictment would have likely put Drexel out of business.[13]

[edit]Major League Baseball
In 2002, the former minority owners of the Montreal Expos baseball team filed charges under the RICO Act against Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, claiming that Selig and Loria deliberately conspired to devalue the team for personal benefit in preparation for a move.[14] If found liable, Major League Baseball could have been found liable for up to $300 million in punitive damages. The case lasted for two years, successfully stalling the Expos' move to Washington or contraction during that time. It was eventually sent to arbitration where the arbiters ruled in favor of Major League Baseball,[15] permitting the move to Washington to take place.
   {Big snip} ...

International equivalents to RICO

The US RICO legislation has other equivalents in the rest of the world. In spite of Interpol having a standardized definition of RICO-like crimes, the interpretation and national implementation in legislation (and enforcement) widely varies. Most nations do cooperate with the US on RICO enforcement only where their own related laws are specifically broken, but this is in line with the Interpol protocols for such matters.

By nation, alphabetically
In Australia the Australian Crime Commission has powers based on similar legislation and regulations. New Zealand has a similar arrangement and commission.
In Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions enforce rules and regulations that cumulatively are equivalent to RICO.

Without other nations enforcing similar legislation to RICO many cross border RICO cases would not be possible. In the overall body of RICO cases that went to trial, at least 50% have had some non-US enforcement component to them. It must be noted that the offshoring of money away from the US finance system as part racketeering (and especially money laundering) is typically a major contributing factor.  (Snip, snip, snip}

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Comments:
Adding more laws will make no difference whats so ever, particularly, as those who are presently in power to enforce and apply the present laws are them selves corrupted.
Corruption is contagious, eventually it will go full circle.
 
Hey, I know that song, HP. It goes something like this:

Life's a bitch ... and then we die!

accompanied by moans and handwringing.

Nudge, nudge ... you're not helping! Because, yes, corruption IS contagious. We gotta DO something constructive. OK?
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I read a book many years ago about the 20 & 30s, and their gangsters. One of the most famous, Al Capone was asked by the press of the day (Like our press, muzzled)... "Why don't you run for Governor? He answered, as gordo would, "Why should I, my friends are doing a great job". Yes bring on the "RICO" laws, and take him down. It seems that most of the liberals are afraid of gordo, and this is very sad. Between, womanizing, fathering more kids, drinking, and raping the province, he is way to busy. Time for him to retire in the jail of his choice.
 
A very intersting read BC Mary.
We know that there's no justice in Canada, question is, why? We know that BC, has a problem with SouhEast Asian crimesters. We know that, US justice bites! I recall the raid on the legislature was headed up by an American. Which means BC/Canada outsourced the investigation.? Could be good, in the means of justice,and may explain the dirty thirty club.May not be so good, if they're fence sitting.
 
getting rico laws or riding of the constitution will do no good. what we need is an Elected Judicial system. And Manditory minimums and privatisation of the penal system.
 
dmc:

You say: I recall the raid on the legislature was headed up by an American. Which means BC/Canada outsourced the investigation?

Hulllo???

Either you are mistaken, or, you know something we don't know!!

To whom are you referring?
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Gee Whiz, is that you again ... wanting to sell jobs to people overseas who are willing to work as prison guards over Canadian jails? Like, franchising freedom?

I'm gonna have to do something about this. Just let me think of all the things you need to know ...

and how best to introduce them to you. It may take a while.
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Did you notice this, towards the end of that? -

In Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions enforce rules and regulations that cumulatively are equivalent to RICO.

In other words, the tools are available. Just not the will.
 
BC Mary, what is your problem?

I am talking about SAVING money, not shipping jobs offshore.

There is no way housing a prisoner should cost 70K per annum. But it does, and until the Govt gets out of the Penitentiary business, it always will. I would rather spend the money on an extra elementary school teachers than house bad biys in state run make-work projects for jail guards and adiminstrators.

But if we cannot privatise, why not offshore outsource prisoners? What is so offensive about that?

I betcha BC Mary drives an import.

I betcha BC Mary's cloths come from china, Mexico, or Taiwan, Central America.

So how come BC Mary is okay with all her consumer purchases coming from offshore, but just not her prisoners?

What make them so special, so valuable that only the Govt can attend to their needs, the same govt many argue is corrupt, self-serving, incompetant? Or is BC Mary just talking out of both sides of her mouth?

Huh?
 
Skookum1,

Darn right, I saw it ... but somehow, it didn't seem to have its act together.

And I've watched the feeble attempts to seize property ... in fact, didn't the H.A. lose their Nanaimo Club House?

But I've seen nothing in our Canadian news which consolidates and gives the perception of a FORCEFUL LAW to which people must pay some attention. Nothing.

Given the situation in BC these days, I think we don't have time to wallow in "rules and regulations tht cumulatively are equivalent to RICO."

What kills me, though, is imagining our Opposition Justice Critic -- Fermit the Krog -- trying to steel himself to the task of putting forward such legislation. Would he? Could he?

And should he? Well yes, ... it should be a downright beneficial exercise in good clean citizenship.
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Gee Whiz,

Kindly rein in your rhetoric because this is meant to be a civil discussion.

And the topic is BC Rail, not BC Mary.

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This is a wonderful post Mary,and incredibly relevent to the investigation I am working on right now. Thank you for this.
 
Laila,

You go, Girl ...

and go All Who Care about this province!

The International Press corps is coming to Vancouver soon and they'll be looking for local colour. Oh yeah, colour. Well, we've got plenty of that, all right.

I say again: You go, Girl.
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