Antioch Law Journal

Article Title

Civil RICO Under Fire: Will White Collar Criminals Be Exempted?


Mark P. Cohen


On October 3, 1985, representatives of a coalition of over twenty public interest and consumer groups' marched in front of the Washington, D.C. law offices of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering 2 holding aloft a banner reading "Corporate Criminals Must Pay" and chanting "Put your clients away, let RICO stay." Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering was singled out as the spearhead of the business lobby seeking, in the coalition's view, to vitiate the effective civil provisions of the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" ("RICO"),3 in particular, its treble damage remedy. The goal of RICO, set out in the "Statement of Findings andPurpose" of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, is "to seek the eradication of organized crime by strengthening the legal tools in the evidence gathering process, by establishing new penal prohibitions, and by providing enhanced sanctions and new remedies to deal with the unlawful activities of those engaged in organized crime."