The RICO conspiracy laws make it a crime to conspire to violate any of the three provisions of the RICO act that are articulated in 18 U.S.C. section 1962(a), (b), and (c). In order to establish a conspiracy, the government must prove the defendant knowingly agreed that a conspirator would violate one of the sections of the act.
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In Salinas v. the United States, 522 U.S. 52, 61-66 (1997) the Supreme Court of the United States resolved a split between the circuits and held there is no requirement that the defendant himself or herself committed or agreed to commit the predicate acts. Instead, a conspirator must intend to further an endeavor that if it were completed would satisfy the elements of the criminal offense. There is no need for the government to prove that each conspirator explicitly agreed with every other conspirator to commit the substantive offense. Instead, it is only required that the defendant know the general nature of the conspiracy.
Under the reasoning of Salinas every circuit in this issue has concluded the defendant may be guilty of a conspiracy to violate RICO laws even if he is not among the people who could commit the substantive offense. It is only needed for the defendant to knowingly agree to facilitate the scheme that if it were completed would constitute a substantive violation of RICO by at least one conspirator who would participate in the operation or management of the enterprise.
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An overt act is not required in order to prove a RICO conspiracy. For this reason, RICO conspiracies are more comprehensive than the general conspiracy of section 371. Conspiracy offenses may constitute the predicate racketeering acts alleging conspiracy. A RICO conspiracy is not a conspiracy to commit the alleged predicate act, it is just a conspiracy to participate in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
If you have been charged with being a member of the conspiracy to violate federal law a skilled Denver federal conspiracy attorney is essential. Get in touch with experienced Boulder federal conspiracy defense attorney Jason Savela by calling (720) 821-1001.