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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149583 Find in a Library
Title: Outgunning the Mob
Journal: ABA (American Bar Association) Journal  Volume:80  Dated:(March 1994)  Pages:60-65
Author(s): G J Wallance
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 6
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes how G. Robert Blakey, the author of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), persuaded an FBI agent and a U.S. attorney to use RICO to destroy five New York Mafia crime families.
Abstract: Although RICO was enacted in 1970 to provide law enforcement with a more effective means to fight organized crime, neither law enforcement agents nor prosecutors structured their investigations and prosecutions so as to use the tools provided by RICO. RICO essentially attacks organizations that engage in a pattern of illegal activity. All who participate in the organization's activities violate RICO. RICO's penalties are draconian, including 20 years in prison and forfeiture of the enterprise's illicit profits and the offenders' interests in the enterprise. In an effort to get Federal agents to use RICO's strategy of attacking criminal organizations, Blakey conducted workshops and seminars to instruct FBI agents and U.S. attorneys in how RICO should be used. He met with strong resistance or indifference based in a reluctance to change the accustomed way of conducting criminal investigations that focused on the criminal acts of individuals rather than organizations. Finally, FBI agent Jim Kossler heard Blakey's message and reorganized the structure and operations of the FBI's investigations of organized crime families in the New York area to obtain the kind of evidence required under RICO, using authorized wiretaps. Richard Guay, an assistant in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York, worked with the FBI to obtain approval from a Federal judge to wiretap five Mafia families. This article describes the details of the investigation and trial outcomes that set the pattern for subsequent organized-crime investigations.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Court procedures; Organized crime; Police policies and procedures; Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act
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