/ January 7, 2009

Supreme Court Will Soon Change The Scope Of The RICO Act Prosecutions

Before the Supreme Court is Boyle v. United States, a case that will affect the scope of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). Specifically, the case will impact the ability of law enforcement to prosecute individuals under the RICO Act. The RICO Act deals with crimes associated with mail, wire and bank fraud, as well as extortion.
Here is some background on the case:
A jury convicted Edmund Boyle of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy under the RICO Act, and sentenced him to 151 months in prison for his participation in a string of bank robberies. Boyle appealed his conviction to the Second Circuit, arguing that the United States misinterpreted the scope of an “enterprise” under RICO.
Boyle argued that RICO did not apply because the United States could not prove that the group of bank robbers was an enterprise if it could not prove the group had a formal, ascertainable structure.
To rebut, the United States argued that the individuals were an enterprise and that they did not need to prove a formal structure existed under RICO.
The Second Circuit affirmed the conviction. The Supreme Court granted Boyle’s petition to determine a three-way circuit split over what constitutes an enterprise under the RICO statute.

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