Home » Resources » Dictionary » Terms

Definition - What does racketeering mean?

Racketeering generally describes a crime that is related to an act of fraud, violence, theft, extortion, or coercion when conducted as part of a criminal enterprise. Initially, the term racket referred specifically to those crimes that involved offering to alleviate a problem that was caused by the very criminal offering to solve it. In other words, a protection scheme in which an area criminal organization would offer to protect a shop owner from robberies for which the organization was responsible. One engaged in racketeering was responsible for running a ?racket.? Thought to have initially been coined in 1927, the words ?racket? and ?racketeering? have expanded in meaning to encompass a wide range of crimes involving intimidation and fraud. In its present form, racketeering is most often referred to in the context of federal and state anti-racketeering laws such as RICO.

SureHire explains racketeering

Federal law defines racketeering as any number of state and federal criminal offenses. The term was initially defined in 1970 with the drafting of the first federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). This RICO statute targeted felony acts of violence, coercion, and extortion associated with organized crime. Subsequent amendments to the act and court decisions expanded the initial definition of racketeering to its present state.

Over one hundred state and federal criminal offenses are now considered as acts of racketeering . Under the current RICO act, racketeering includes select acts terrorism, mail and securities fraud, embezzlement of union funds, human trafficking, narcotics dealing, counterfeiting, interstate theft, cigarette smuggling and many more.

The managers and executives of a corporation that engages in bribery, illegal hiring practices, retaliatory conduct, or other unsavory activities may be prosecuted both civilly and criminally for racketeering.

Subscribe to SureNews!

Get your Reasonable Suspicion Checklist! Join our community and get access to more resources like this! Emails are sent monthly, so no need to worry, we will not fill up your inbox.