A Summary of the RICO Law

Neal Marder has earned widespread recognition as a leading white-collar defense attorney with a focus on class action litigation and securities fraud cases. He has successfully defended numerous clients, including China-based corporations and individuals. Among his areas of practice, Marder has gained experience in cases involving the well-known RICO law.

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In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, designed to fight the operations of alleged organized crime syndicates. The law permits prosecution, as well as the levying of civil penalties, for any type of racketeering operation conducted in the course of an ongoing set of criminal activities. The racketeering charges may stem from alleged involvement in counterfeiting, money laundering, bribery, unlawful gambling, and a variety of other actions.
Since its origins as a Mafia-fighting tool for law enforcement, RICO has broadened in practice to include prosecution of a number of non-organized crime operations and organizations, including motorcycle gangs, corporations accused of environmental pollution, and protest groups focused on social issues.
To obtain a RICO conviction, the government agency plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant was involved in at least two instances of racketeering activity and additionally maintained direct involvement in one or more criminal actions touching on foreign or domestic interstate commerce.

What Happens in a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit brings together a set of plaintiffs claiming to have received a similar injury from the same business or organization from which they seek to obtain damages. Class action suits take place in the realm of civil, as opposed to criminal, law. Any class action suit must still follow the established rules of civil law in its procedure, even though it may represent hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs.

An attorney may file a class action suit under federal or state law, as applicable. Class action suits must receive certification, with a judge determining whether the case meets the requirements. After certification, defendants may raise objections, and potential plaintiffs may decide to opt out to pursue individual lawsuits. If the parties reach a settlement agreement before trial, they must inform the public of the agreement’s provisions. When class action suits do go to trial, the litigation can proceed for years.

Los Angeles-based attorney Neal Marder has successfully defended numerous corporations in this area of litigation. Among his recent cases is George v. China Automotive Systems Inc., in which he obtained a denial of class certification. That decision received widespread attention due to its status as one of the first-ever securities fraud cases involving a Chinese firm that entered the market in the United States due to a reverse merger transaction.