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LOS ANGELES (AP) - California prosecutors say two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos of themselves trying to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood have been charged with 15 felonies.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges Tuesday against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. The two operate the California-based Center for Medical Progress.
The allegations say the pair filmed 14 people without their consent between October 2013 and July 2015, most of them in San Francisco and Los Angeles counties. They were also charged with criminal conspiracy.
Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise". Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."
When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he or she has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)). In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers. A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.
RICO laws were successfully cited in NOW v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 114 S. Ct. 798, 127 L.Ed. 2d 99 (1994), a suit in which certain parties, including the National Organization for Women, sought damages and an injunction against pro-life activists who physically block access to abortion clinics. The Court held that a RICO enterprise does not need an economic motive, and that the Pro-Life Action Network could therefore qualify as a RICO enterprise. The Court remanded for consideration of whether PLAN committed the requisite acts in a pattern of racketeering activity.
originally posted by: dawnstar
a reply to: bobs_uruncle
So, I should be able to pretend I am operating a business that I am not, go and fill out the forms to get the business licenses and such, send out fake advertisements, create a bogus website, fake ids, and then pretend I am trying to buy something....illegally... and film the people I am making the proposition to, edit the films so that it makes the people look like they are biting on my illegal proposition??
okay, think I'll move to colorado, create a bogus site making it out to be a pot producer, send out ads offering medical pot to sell, and then film those that respond to those ads and make it out that they are admitting that the doctor's prescription was bought from a not so honest doctor.... and turn in the names of all those that respond along with their doctors over to the feds for prosecution!