On The Eve Of Fraud Trial, Judge Dismisses Civil RICO Claim Against Alex Rodriguez
MLB all-star has been locked in a long, complex business fraud dispute with his former brother-in-law Constantine Scurtis. The conflict stems over the breakdown of their real estate partnership. Mr. Rodriguez had been facing a civil RICO claim. However, on the eve of the trial, that claim has been tossed out by the judge. The Real Deal reports that the Miami-based judge called the civil RICO claim “completely fanciful.” Here, our Miami RICO claims attorneys provide a more detailed explanation of why the Florida judge dismissed the civil RICO claim against the former MLB star.
Business Partnership Dispute Leads to Fraud, Embezzlement Allegations
Beginning in 2008, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Scurtis had a gradual breakdown of their business partnership. Mr. Scurtis alleges that he was improperly pushed out of his stake in ACREI, the real estate investment company that they formed. Mr. Scurtis filed a 59-part civil fraud lawsuit against the former MLB star—alleging everything from insurance fraud to embezzlement. As the plaintiff in the case, Mr. Scurtis is seeking seven figures worth of financial compensation for damages that he allegedly sustained due to misconduct on the part of his former brother-in-law.
A Civil RICO Claim (Racketeering) Was Added to the Lawsuit in Early 2021
Earlier this year, Mr. Scurtis added a civil RICO claim to his business fraud lawsuit. By doing so, he dramatically increased the potential liability exposure that the former MLB slugger was facing in this lawsuit. Through a successful state or federal civil racketeering claim, a plaintiff can seek treble damages—meaning they may be eligible to recover compensation worth three times their actual out-of-pocket losses. This makes RICO a potential powerful remedy for plaintiffs defrauded through organized racketeering activity.
Civil RICO Claim Dismissed for Failure to State Claim
The RICO claim will no longer be a part of the trial. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman has tossed out the civil RICO lawsuit for a failure to state a claim. For a civil RICO claim to make it to trial, a plaintiff must provide evidence proving that:
- The defendant was involved in a pattern of racketeering activity/conduct; and
- The defendant carried out the racketeering activity as part of an enterprise.
To be clear, Mr. Rodriguez has not prevailed on the merits of the case. The civil fraud trial is still scheduled to begin on November 15th, 2021. However, as the civil RICO claim has been dismissed, the total potential liability exposure has dropped substantially.
Get Help From a Civil RICO Defense Lawyer in South Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida civil RICO defense attorneys are skilled, results-oriented advocates for our clients. With a deep understanding of the complex rules and regulations that govern federal and state civil RICO claims, we will protect your rights. Call us now for a strictly private appointment with a top-rated civil RICO lawyer. From our legal offices located in Miami and West Palm Beach, we defend civil RICO claims throughout all of South Florida.