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65 Notre Dame L. Rev. 873 (1989-1990)


The past twenty years witnessed a sea change in the way that organized crime is investigated, prosecuted, and sanctioned, both criminally and civilly. RICO allowed the law to catch up with the rest of society. In the twentieth century, organizations, not people, control the important elements of society such as: government, commerce and labor. Until the passage of RICO, organizations as such were seldom the fcus of the law-outside of, perhaps, the antitrust statutes. This is no longer true.

RICO, however, is not limited to the activities of traditional Mafia families. It does not matter to a racketeering victim what type of organization steals his money, a crime family or a family bank. Accordingly, Congress passed a statute in 1970 that encompassed the activities of both legitimate and illegitimate organizations. RICO also provided for innovative criminal and civil sanctions. Forfeiture, injunctions, triple damages, and counsels' fees all work to enhance the sanction of the wrongdoer and recovery for the wronged.

This Symposium provided an opportunity to look ahead at some of the key issues we must face in life with RICO as it enters its third decade. Before taking that look, this Foreword will provide a brief background on the development and the concepts of RICO.


Reprinted with permission of the Notre Dame Law Review.

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