Publication Date

Spring 4-5-2016


Helms School of Government


Accounting; Criminal Justice


Civil RICO, Terrorism Financiers, Problem, Solution, Copyright, Foreign Sovereigns, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, Mafia, Legislation


Civil Law | Commercial Law | Comparative and Foreign Law | Criminal Law | Law and Society | Legislation | Other Business | Supreme Court of the United States


The civil application of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) has been misapplied by the lower courts, but the statute can be improved by incorporating elements that will make the statute a better tool for justice. It is evident from examining the procedural limitations of the statute and important case law that the securities fraud gap, terrorism financing, and difficulties for indirect victims are three critical subjects that need to be addressed by enhancing RICO. Flaws and shortcomings of the RICO statute have led to inconsistencies in court rulings. The expansive language of RICO can be limited to reduce the culpability of foreign sovereigns and violators of personal use copyright infringement. Upon a survey of seven possible solutions, this thesis determines that the best solution would be for Congress to amend the law. The creators of RICO could refine and clarify the language and implement the features necessary to broaden RICO so it can fulfill its maximum potential. Data was collected by reviewing research, case statistics, academic journals, and court cases.