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33 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1345 (1995-1996)


In March 1993, accountants, attorneys and other professionals—who generally view RICO with suspicion—breathed a sigh of relief when they read the Washington Post: "People who lose money in thrifts and other businesses that go belly up because of wrongdoing can no longer use [RICO] to sue lawyers, accountants, or other advisers who played key roles in the enterprise." Unfortunately, this terse description of the Supreme Court's decision issued the previous day in Reves v. Ernst & Young may persuade professionals that they dropped an anchor in a tranquil safe-harbor, far from an exposure to the perils of the private enforcement provisions of RICO that authorize the recovery of treble damages and counsel fees for engaging in certain kinds of commercial frauds. The last chapter on the ultimate impact of the Supreme Court's decision, however, is not yet written. In fact, a careful analysis of the Court's opinion in the context of well-settled areas of criminal jurisprudence indicates that Reves' impact should be far more nuanced; it should not result in creating a safe-harbor for errant professionals.


Reprinted with permission of American Criminal Law Review.

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