Despite its purpose to “eliminat[e] … the infiltration of organized crime and racketeering into legitimate organizations operating in interstate commerce,” the broad language and civil remedy provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO)[FOOTNOTE 1] have long been applied outside the context of organized crime. Thus, legitimate businesses accused of fraudulent activity have to deal with the possibility of both criminal prosecution and the added burden of a private civil RICO treble damage action, frequently based on underlying allegations of mail fraud and wire fraud. A case argued last month in the U.S. Supreme Court, Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indemnity Co.,[FOOTNOTE 2] presents the Court with an issue that could restrict the application of RICO’s civil provisions when companies are accused of crime.


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