March 14, 2016 Articles

Pleading a "Pattern of Racketeering Activity" under State and Federal Statutes

Is the government's requirement of "continuity" needed to establish a racketeering pattern?

By Alicia M. Bendana

Let’s face it: Racketeering claims have a certain appeal for victims of commercial fraud. Such claims offer expanded remedies, including treble damages and attorney fees; an expanded scope that allows plaintiffs to expose professionals’ involvement in fraudulent schemes; and statutes of limitations that often exceed those governing the underlying tort claims. Although most state racketeering laws were modeled on the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, some states’ laws deviate from, and are more specific than, the federal law. The differences in these statutes can often mean the survival of a plaintiff’s claim under the state racketeering law instead of its demise under the federal law.

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