There has been a rise in civil RICO litigation in recent years. Under the federal RICO Act and the Arizona RICO Act, an individual or business that suffered losses due to criminal racketeering can seek justice and compensation. Additional compensation is available in a civil RICO claim—but it is more difficult to prove liability. Federal and state courts have consistently ruled that there are important distinctions between RICO violations and fraud.
Three Reasons Why Civil RICO Claims are Different than Ordinary Business Fraud Claims
- A Plaintiff Must Prove the Existence of an Enterprise
An enterprise is a required element of a civil RICO claim. A plaintiff in a federal civil RICO lawsuit or a state civil RICO lawsuit must prove that the defendant(s) carried out the racketeering activity as part of a formal or informal enterprise. If someone defrauds you in their individual capacity, that is not a civil RICO violation. No enterprise exists. You must establish some form of enterprise.
2. A Plaintiff Must Establish a Pattern of Racketeering Activity
Federal and state civil RICO laws also require plaintiffs to prove a pattern of racketeering activity. In effect, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant(s), as part of an enterprise, carried out a pattern of similar illicit activities to commit fraud. Without a pattern of racketeering, a civil RICO claim will be dismissed.
3. A Plaintiff Can Seek Treble Damages and Attorneys’ Fees
Although it is more challenging for plaintiffs to prove a civil RICO violation than other types of fraud, it has significant advantages. Most notably, a successful plaintiff in civil RICO litigation can recover additional compensation. They may be entitled to treble damages (damages of three times their actual losses) and full reimbursement of reasonable attorneys’ fees.
You May Have a Business or Consumer Fraud Claim
There are several different causes of action that can be used to pursue fraud in Arizona. You may have a common-law fraud claim, a statutory Consumer Fraud Claim, a claim under the Arizona deceptive trade practices law, or a claim under another state or federal law. Even if your claim falls short of racketeering activity, that does not mean that you are denied the opportunity to seek justice, accountability, and financial relief. An experienced Arizona Business attorney can help you determine the best option.
Contact a Business Litigation Attorney in Phoenix Today
At the Anthony Law Group, we have 25 years of experience helping clients navigate the complexities of business fraud law including RICO actions. Our attorney, Stephen Anthony, is available as a resource if you have any questions or concerns about possible RICO violations or business fraud in general. Give us a call now or connect us directly online to arrange a strictly confidential case review.