racketeering | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Policing

Racketeering refers to a pattern of illegal activity such as bribery, extortion, fraud, or other criminal offenses committed by a structured group or organization, often for financial gain.

Racketeering, also known as organized crime, is a complex criminal activity that typically involves multiple criminal acts committed by a group or organization. The purpose of racketeering is often to generate profit through illegal means, such as money laundering, fraud, extortion, and other illegal activities. Racketeering can involve a wide range of illegal activities, from street-level crimes to large-scale corruption of government officials.

In the United States, racketeering is often associated with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). This federal law was enacted in 1970 to combat organized crime and provides severe penalties for individuals or groups involved in racketeering activities. Under RICO, individuals can be charged with racketeering if they are found to have committed at least two of the listed criminal offenses within a 10-year period.

The penalties for racketeering can be severe, including fines, imprisonment, and the forfeiture of assets obtained through illegal means. In addition, individuals who are convicted of racketeering may face civil lawsuits and may be required to pay damages to the victims of their illegal activities.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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