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View Full Version : What is "racketeering" and why is it a distinct crime?


Shagnasty
06-19-2003, 02:35 PM
Racketeering has always seemed like a really weird thing to charge someone with to me.

Dictionary.com give the definition of racketeering as:
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rack∑et∑eer ( P ) Pronunciation Key (rk-tÓr)
n.
A person who commits crimes such as extortion, loansharking, bribery, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities.
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Aren't these all distinct crimes already. It sounds like they are just charging someone with "Um, real bad mafia type stuff and being a naughty, naughty person."

My question is why is racketeering a formal charge rather than a general description of behavior and why don't they just charge someone with the actual illegal activities engaged in rather than this vague description.

MC Master of Ceremonies
06-19-2003, 02:38 PM
Racteering is basically organised crime.

Bricker
06-19-2003, 02:42 PM
Extortion is a crime. Bribery is a crime. Loansharking is a crime.

But it's a separate and distinct crime to participate in an enterprise that organizes these crimes. In other words, when you take part in a group that manages and perpetrates these types of crimes, you are commiting the separate crime of racketeering.

A single instance of extortion is not a federal crime. A single instance of bribery, assuming it's not of a federal offical or something along those lines, is not a federal crime. But the enterprise that manages and controls a pattern of such crimes IS a federal crime.

- Rick