Why the Talk of Racketeering?

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Racketeering Monroe County TN Vote Buying Investigation 2017There’s a reasonable possibility the word “racketeering” will be a word of interest in coming days. It’s seldom used in small towns but appears for the most part in cities and urban areas where crimes and gang members proliferate.

Racketeering – it has a ring. It’s used to describe “organized crime.”

For the record, racketeering is a criminal activity best defined in 18 US Code 1961 as “any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical.” For simplicity’s sake, racketeering is the “act offering a dishonest service, or a ‘racket,’ to solve a problem that wouldn’t otherwise exist without the organization offering the service.”

Picture a “group” of individuals slashing tires of business owners at night and returning the next day and offering protection against the “culprits” who cut the tires. It fits the definition because with out the organization’s slashing of the tires in the first place, the demand for “protection” would be nonexistent.

RICO is another term. It comes from the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (and law) of 1970, which permits law enforcement to charge “persons” or “groups” with racketeering. It gives prosecutors the option to seize property and assets and prevent transfer of funds and property.

According to USLegal.com, vote buying and voter fraud can fall under the RICO Act. “Any reward given to a person voting in a particular way or for not voting can be called vote buying. Vote buying is a corrupt election practice.”

The practice of vote buying is banned in the United States. It is a threat to the conduct of fair elections. It is an offense when any person knowingly or willfully provides false information or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his, or her, false registration to vote or pays or offers or accepts payment either to register
to vote or to vote.

“This provision is applicable to general, specific, and primary elections.

Organized vote buying, voter fraud, and conspiracy with regard to voter fraud can be considered “organized crime” and can be investigated and prosecuted by the RICO Act.

Each count of racketeering is punishable by up to twenty years in federal prison. It can even be punishable by life imprisonment in some cases. Courts can impose a fine of up to twice the defendants’ illegal profits and in many cases the fines stretch to $25,000 per count.

Racketeering is a first degree felony. It’s not a gift anyone would want, but it’s one that keeps on giving.

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