Joshua Hill

Date of Award


Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Leslie G. Wiser Jr.

First Reader

Bret Kloos

Second Reader

Bret Kloos


Through sensationalism, the mafia stereotype, and past commissions’ recommendations Congress enacted the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The Act itself was meant to eradicate organized crime while protecting legitimate businesses from their illegitimate counterparts. Unfortunately, the civil Act’s innate flaws have caused an overwhelming number of civil cases to flood the legal system, the majority of which have focused on private organizations and corporations, instead of Organized Crime (Pierson 2013). Civil RICO’s exploitation can be traced to its treble damages clause, – which was included in the Act to provide “an effective deterrent to further expansion of organized crime’s economic power” – the Statute’s broad language and the United States Supreme Court’s holdings in key cases. This thesis will start with an overview of the legislation leading up to the introduction of the RICO Act and the legislation’s overall effect on the Act itself. From there, this paper will highlight the Act’s deeply seated flaws and show how the civil portion of the Act took advantage of these weaknesses through both statistical analysis and past court cases. The RICO Act was intended as a weapon to combat organized crime’s infiltration across the United States; instead it has blossomed Hill, 4 into commercial litigation outside the scope of its original purpose (Coppola and DeMarco 2012).

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© 2017, Joshua Hill

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