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The Federal Government Can File A Civil RICO Lawsuit To Seek Equitable Relief

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The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was passed into law in October of 1970. The statute allows federal agencies to pursue both criminal and civil penalties for violation. Federal and state RICO laws also allow private plaintiffs to file a civil lawsuit. Private litigants can sue for “treble damages” in a civil RICO case.

In contrast, the federal government does not pursue treble damages if it brings civil RICO action. Instead, the agencies are empowered to seek “equitable relief.” Here, our West Palm Beach RICO claims lawyers provide an overview of the federal government’s authority to seek equitable relief as part of a civil RICO lawsuit.

Federal RICO Law: Equitable Relief

Under 18 U.S.C. § 1964(a), the federal government and federal agencies are vested with power to enforce the civil RICO statute through equitable relief. In order to obtain equitable relief under the civil RICO statute, the federal government has the burden of proving the following by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • The defendant committed a civil RICO violation; and
  • There is a reasonable likelihood that the defendant will continue to commit such violations in the future without action.

Equitable relief is a court-ordered remedy that differs somewhat from actual damages. While a private party civil RICO plaintiff can seek compensation for treble damages—meaning they have a right to pursue a recovery worth three times their actual losses—the federal government must seek an equitable remedy.

Equitable Relief Comes in Many Forms in a Federal Civil RICO Lawsuit 

When the federal government or a federal agency brings a successful civil RICO lawsuit, it has the option of seeking several different types of equitable relief. Depending on the specific nature of the RICO violation and the circumstances of the case, equitable relief may include any or all of the following remedies:

  • An injunction ordering that the defendant refrains from certain activity;
  • Full financial restitution to any parties affected by the RICO violation;
  • Disgorgement of any and all ill-gotten financial benefits;
  • Divestiture in or dissolution of certain companies; and
  • The appointment of a receivership to manage certain financial matters.

Any business, organization, or individual facing a civil RICO lawsuit from the federal government or a federal agency must take immediate action. If the government can establish civil RICO—which requires a lower burden of proof than criminal RICO liability – there could be serious sanctions in the form of equitable relief.

Call Our Civil RICO Lawyers in West Palm Beach and Miami for Help

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida civil RICO defense attorneys have the specialized legal expertise and real world experience to protect the rights of you and your business. If you are facing civil RICO action from a federal government agency, we are ready to get started on your case today. Call us now for a confidential consultation. We have law offices in West Palm Beach and Miami, from which our civil RICO lawyers represent clients around the region.

Resource:

govinfo.gov/app/details/USCODE-2010-title18/USCODE-2010-title18-partI-chap96-sec1964

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