Federal Civil RICO Claims: RICO Conspiracy Lawsuits
Racketeering is illegal. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act is a federal law that prohibits racketeering. Florida has its own state RICO law. Notably, these statutes have both criminal and civil elements. A person, business, or organization that suffered financial harm due to racketeering activity can file a lawsuit directly against the responsible party or parties. Federal RICO law also allows plaintiffs to hold defendants liable for damages caused by a RICO conspiracy. Here, our Miami RICO claims attorney highlights the key things to understand about RICO conspiracy claims.
The Statute: It is Unlawful to Conspire to Commit a RICO Offense
Under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 1962(D)), it is illegal to conspire to commit a RICO violation. In effect, this means that any party that engages in a conspiracy to commit fraud or other criminal misconduct through illicit racketeering activity can be held liable. Once again, there is a civil element to this particular part of the statute. A plaintiff could file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for damages related to a RICO conspiracy.
The Two Key Elements of a Civil RICO Conspiracy Claim
To bring a successful federal civil RICO conspiracy claim against a defendant, a plaintiff must meet all of the required elements of the statute. Specifically, a plaintiff in a civil RICO conspiracy lawsuit must prove the following two things:
- The defendant entered an agreement to participate in an enterprise to commit a pattern of racketeering activity; and
- The defendant entered an agreement for one party—potentially not the defendant itself—to engage in a minimum of racketeering acts.
For a civil RICO conspiracy claim, there must be some form of agreement. However, the agreement does not necessarily need to be formalized or even written down at all. Technically, a well-understood verbal agreement to engage in racketeering could be sufficient to establish liability.
Note: A civil RICO conspiracy may allow a plaintiff to impose liability on a defendant that engaged in a conspiracy to commit racketeering activity without actually committing a racketeering violation itself.
A Plaintiff Must Show Injury to Bring a Civil RICO Claim for a Conspiracy
One of the core challenges with civil RICO conspiracy claims is that the plaintiffs need to show actual injury in order to be eligible to recover financial compensation. Without actual harm—usually in the form of some type of non-speculative financial damages—there is no path to recover through a civil RICO conspiracy lawsuit.
Get Help From a Miami Civil RICO Claims Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida civil RICO lawyers have the skills, knowledge, and legal expertise to represent clients in federal and state claims. If you have any questions about federal RICO conspiracies and civil RICO liability, we are here as a resource. Contact us today to set up your completely private, no obligation case evaluation. With law office locations in Miami, Wellington, and West Palm Beach, we provide civil RICO legal services throughout South Florida.