U.S. District Court Upholds Indictment Alleging U.S.-Based RICO Violation, Even Though Scheme Implemented Via Servers Located in Russia

The World in U.S. Courts: Summer 2014 - Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)

United States v. Frederick Thomas, U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, May 1, 2014

Defendant Frank Thomas was indicted for criminal RICO violations, and he moved to dismiss on a number of grounds, including that servers apparently instrumental to the alleged violation were located in Russia. The District Court in Nevada cited precedent that addressed the geographic scope of RICO in terms of the location of the alleged “racketeering activity,” and found such activity in the U.S. through allegations that the defendants operated throughout the U.S. in connection with a scheme to manufacture and sell counterfeit U.S. drivers’ licenses and “access devices” owned and used by U.S. financial institutions. Thus, while defendants utilized the Internet and servers (wherever located), the Court concluded that the indictment was properly based on allegations of U.S. racketeering activity.

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