The Andres Lopez Law Firm

What exactly is racketeering?

A previous post on this blog talked about how one business was suing another organization, a competitor, under federal anti-racketeering laws. The point of that post was that the Florida businesses have every right to expect that their competitors will play by the rules when contending for a larger share of the market. If organizations do not live up to their basic responsibility to follow the law, those businesses that are law abiding can use the civil court to hold their competitors accountable.

Traditionally, racketeering described the illegal activities of street gangs and organized criminal enterprises like the Mafia. These groups would often engage in various types of crime, often violent, in order to intimidate and force people in to paying for services they did not really need, such as protection payments in order to avoid violence at the hands of a gang.

However, the idea behind any racket is to skirt the law in order to create an economic need that does not exist. Usually, the business that created the racket will also profit. An example of a non-criminal racket will be a concession stand that sells spicy hot chili for a fair price but then sells water for $10 a bottle.

In this respect, seemingly legitimate corporations have also frequently been on the receiving end of racketeering allegations, as any type of illegal activity can serve as a basis for a racketeering plot.

For example, one major business recently had to pay $250 million to settle racketeering allegations after it was discovered that the company had skirted campaign laws when funding the re-election of a judge that the business thought would rule in the company's favor.

In another ongoing case, the manufacturers of opioids are now facing racketeering allegations on accusations that they also manufactured the addiction crisis this country is now facing.

If a business in South Florida suspects that a competitor is gaming the system, legal options may be available.

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