American Mafia, Law Enforcement and the RICO Act

Analysis and comments on the law enforcement and American Mafia

Various law reports reveal that the arrival of more than twenty-five million migrants was confirmed in the United States from fiscal 1885 to 1926. Immigrants from Italy alone were approximated to be nearly four million while most of them stemmed from poverty-stricken regions such as Calabria area, Naples and Sicily region. Majority of the groups that became mafias were young contractors found in the mines and construction industry. The other immigrants who entered the United States and formed criminal gangs were the Russians and Jewish who lived in the underprivileged New York regions. However, challenges befell them because their employment visions were limited as they found it difficult to communicate in English (Raab 87).

Lack of funds could not let them move from their arrival points to the planned destinations. This made them prone to the discriminatory acts of the Irish migrants who came to New York before them. As a result, they were impelled to structure their own criminal gangs to guard them from the Irish mafia squad. This finally led to the training of the mafia engineers like Luciano Lucky and Lanskey Meyer, who were the planners of the organized crimes within the American environment (Lunde 159). This ultimately resulted into the structuring of a group called the American mafia.

The mafia found in America had the support of political parties. Without doubt, law enactment agencies and law enforcers played considerable roles in sponsoring organized gangs. For instance, Tammany Hall offered financial support to such criminal groups in order to have them vote in its favor and depress rival parties voters through coercion (Raab 87). This was as a result of the political wrangles that were experienced in America, which led to a law enforcement system that gave protection and offered jobs to organized gangs and the mafia.

The organized criminal groups evaded the law while claiming the lives of innocent American residents. In fact, the mafia group developed a technique such as the Black-Hand, which was used in torturing opposing groups to the point of death. There was no enforced law to deal with such murderers. For example, 110 deaths in Chicago and 424 death threats issued in New York evidenced the evasion of law by the American mafia (Lunde 159).

Law enforcement agencies relaxed and were reported to legalize alcoholism, which encouraged the mafia activities. The criminal groups took advantage of the prohibition laws which allowed restrained drinking in North America by opting to disregard the enacted laws. These organized criminal groups circumvented the enforced laws to make massive earnings through offering illegal liquor. This came as a result of free-flowing alcohol, which increased the number of deaths. Hence, laxity in law enforcement facilitated drug smuggling and alcohol trafficking (Raab 87).

The mafia groups derailed and caused ineffectiveness in law enforcement. Difficulties, various expenses associated with law imposition as well as human expenditure resulted from the intensification of counter-lobby groups that required the prohibitions to cease. These clearly showed that the prohibition of organized gangs brought an end to the activities pioneered the mafia group. Some law enforcers are still believed to have been part of these groups. Yet, no one could come up with penalties for the structured crimes as Blaikie Robert did. After devising the RICO Act, it became easier to attack the mafia since their superiors, consigliore and commanders could be arrested and put on trials. These showed that highly ranked officials were supporting these outlawed groups hence making it extremely complicated to enforce laws on the mafia groups. This was the case when the RICO laws were deemed unsound within a time span of ten years since their enactment (Raab 87).

The mafia leaders became inconspicuous and were unknown outside the law enforcement circles. Such cases resulted because of the changes in the techniques utilized by the mafia leaders to show that they were part of the law enforcement. The mafia engaged in gaming activities to evade tax remittance (Lunde 159). Thus, while mafia groups hardly ceased to operate, such organized-crime groups have received blows from the law enforcement authorities such FBI and governments.

The impacts caused by the RICO Act

It is possible for people to wonder why it could be ground-breaking and important to prohibit activities, which are already considered as crimes by definition. Scholars, however, claim that the adopted procedures could be the reason. The RICO Act defines a solitary crime which commissions a sequence of diverse criminal offenses. That is, the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act tries to avoid several jurisdictional, evidentiary and customary procedural regulations, which often discourage the joint prosecution of detached crimes. The RICO Act, for example, incorporates the Predicate Acts, which might constitute the crime racketeering patterns such as arson, bribery, robbery and murder (Raab 87). These are usually considered to be under the state law violations. Nevertheless, RICO Act permits such crimes to be prosecuted and investigated by the federal court officials.

In cases where criminal gangs or mafias operated in different cities, the committed crimes were supposed to be indicted disjointedly in the centralized court districts where each of the predicate activities took place. Through the RICO Act, these offences can be defined as a single constituent of the racketeering pattern which can be jointly prosecuted. Where the limitation decree prohibits the trial of offenses that were committed sometime back, such criminal offences can often be incorporated in the prolonged racketeering crime patterns. This will be attainable under the RICO Act provided a minimum of one predicate-racketeering activity was carried out within the restriction time (Lunde 159). Therefore, the impacts of defining the RICO Act pattern as a solitary offense has helped in the trial of cases, which involve criminal groups and mafia members.

Before the enactment of the RICO Act, organized crimes were not penalized for the criminal activities they were involved in. The law created by Blaikie resulted into the mafia crackdown. The RICO Act allowed the federal agencies and the government to obtain extra convictions and investigate criminal enterprises. Prior to the introduction and implementation of the RICO Act, the big criminal machinists such as consigliore, captains and bosses who held higher ranks were protected from prosecution (Raab 87). Only the low ranked mafias were implicated and prosecuted. The bigwigs just functioned liberally and facilitated organized crime activities. The RICO Act enabled everybody who took part in entrepreneurial criminal activities to be convicted and prosecuted.

How RICO Act changed the mafia and law enforcement activities

The RICO Act is alleged to be an inventive and divisive centralized penal decree. The RICO Act was adopted as a constituent of the 1970 Organized Crime Control Act. The Act established novel civil grounds for action, revitalized the property forfeiture concept as a strategy for punishing criminals and created various new crimes. In fact, the RICO Act generated volumes of litigations that could be used to curtail the mafia activities and helped in enforcing the existing laws. However, the RICO Act originated as a result of the infiltration and interference of the mafias or organized crimes with the legal institutions (Lunde 159). Initially, organized criminals or the mafias could actively invest in lawful businesses using monies that originated from unlawful activities.

Besides highlighting and making the mafia and organized crime investments an offense, and prohibiting them, the RICO Act drew on the antitrust decree model to allow the business enterprises that were injured by the mafia infiltrations to make civil law suits. The RICO Act also required the mafia to forfeit all the ill-acquired legitimate business interests and permitted the government to divest such interests (Raab 87). The Act prohibited businesses from undertaking the entrepreneurial activities that are in line with human actions, which follow racketeering activity patterns. It is a crime according to the RICO Act for people who operate informal groupings, political or social organizations, labor union, governmental offices and other business enterprises to commit a sequence of crimes using organizations’ resources to enhance the realization of the set goals.

Under the RICO Act, all enterprises are taken into consideration whether illegitimate or legitimate. This implies that under law enforcement, the RICO Act allows law enforcers to prosecute criminal associations or gangs such as the mafias and organized-crime families for carrying out their unlawful affairs. The Act further created new crimes that prosecutors used to prevent the mafia elements from having access into legal businesses. For instance, the legal provisions in the RICO Act prohibit the mafia groups from upholding or gaining interests in enterprises except through purchasing insignificant stock market interests. The law prohibits mafias and organized criminal groups from investing the loans harking proceeds or narcotics profits in legal businesses as well as illegalizing the use of organized criminal strategies like sadism threats to extract business interests from the owners. Finally, the RICO Act prohibits the mafias’ activities intended to scheme and commit other newly organized misdeeds or crimes (Lunde 159).

Works Cited

Lunde, Paul. Organized Crime: The Insider’s Guide to the World’s Most Successful Industry. New York, NY: DK Publishing Inc., 2004. Print.

Raab, Selwyn. Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York City, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2005. Print.

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