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RICO may help

Posted by ianal on January 15, 2003 at 19:02:29

In Reply to: Re: Questions FGs need to ask themselves posted by MG on January 15, 2003 at 04:41:27:

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961-68 could prove to be a useful tool against The Family. There is a history of it being used with widely varying degress of success against groups such as Amway, Scientology, ISKON (Hare Krisha), the Nation of Yahweh, and the Moonies. It can be used by both federal prosecutors and by individuals in civil suits. It can be used against any organization or group that actually exists even if the organization is not legally registered or its members deny the organization exists or claim they were acting indepedently. For example, it was used against cocaine trafficking organizations even though these groups did not go to the trouble of legally registering themselves as such. One interesting source of info is Jeffrey Grell's "RICO Notebook" at I've also included a link below from a relevant section of the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Attorney Manual. I would suggest anyone seriously interested in this do their own research as number one, I am not a lawyer and have no legal training and thus could be overlooking something important due to my own ignorance and inexperience, and number two, this is probably not the best place for a comprehensive outline and analysis of RICO act usage.

Personally, I disagree with certain overbroad applications of RICO and the increasingly expanded definitions of its scope. However, in this case it would be entirely apropriate if it could be used successfully. A successful RICO action would seriously disrupt the Family and its leadership hierarchy, drain its financial reserves, disrupt its communications and collection systems and decrease member committment. Some may question this assessment of its potential impact but now that most of the top leaders are in the U.S. or nearby, it would have a significant impact.

Of course using RICO is very complex and would definitely require attorneys with a lot of knowledge and experience in this area. Not to mention it would likely require a significant investment of time and money without any realistic chance of collecting anything more than expenses and a symbolic monetary amount. It would also require individuals willing to expose themselves to what would likely be a traumatic, difficult and lengthy process. I'm not sure anyone here (especially the first generation) has the right to expect someone to submit to the potentially traumatic ordeal of actively participating in such a legal action.