The basics of racketeering

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2021 | White Collar Crimes |

White-collar crimes in New York refer to several nonviolent crimes related to commercial finance and business committed for monetary gain. Some examples of white-collar crimes include mortgage fraud, embezzlement, forgery and ID theft. Many of these crimes are committed by individuals, but racketeering commonly involves multiple people.

Racketeering definition

The origins of racketeering started with the Mafia bosses of the 1920s who wanted to protect Sicily from invaders. The name derives from the “rackets”, or illegal business created by the group for monetary gain. Some early forms of “rackets” also involved offering small business protection from dangerous people in the area for money.

Cyber extortion, another form of racketeering, which involves hacking data, has increased. The offender may hack data and ask for money in exchange for restoring the data. Credit card fraud is another form of racketeering in which criminals gather PIN codes using card scanners. A fencing racket involves a middle party buying stolen goods below market value and reselling them at higher prices.


In 1970, Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to curtail racketeering and charge offenders for crimes committed within a 10-year period. Law enforcement can file charges against all members of the racket at once, and prosecutors may seize the assets of the defendant under the law.

The U.S. Department of Justice sets guidelines that the government must follow to prove racketeering beyond a reasonable doubt. It must prove the crime existed, the defendant had been employed by the organization and committed more than one crime, and the crime impacted commerce. Racketeering crimes commonly get prosecuted at the federal or state level, and the FBI commonly gets involved in investigating federal crimes.

Getting charged with white-collar crimes commonly results in stiff fines and jail time, which can impact the defendant’s future. A person charged with racketeering needs a good defense team for assistance.

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