What is Racketeering?
Racketeering is a criminal act committed either in state or federal level.
The crime of Racketeering occurs when a person makes use of a threat to obtain personal benefits.
It is also popularly known as blackmail or crime of extortion.
On TV you see the news that two people were arrested for extorting a trader.
Against them, the police say there is evidence of cash collections, which were acquired through threats made to the victim’s family. Such situation is called racketeering.
The person who commits such crime is a racketeer and the crime itself is called a racket.
That is, if the required amount was not paid, the person would be at risk of death.
As the Penal Code defines, the crime of extortion exists when someone seeks to gain some kind of advantage from another person through violence or serious threat.
It is important to note that this advantage does not always need to be financial. It can also be when forcing the victim to do something, like sex, for example.
It is worth mentioning that the crime of racketeering relies on the cooperation of the victim, who is willing to do what the criminal requires in order not to suffer the consequences imposed by him.
According to law, the offense can result in 4 to 10 years in prison for the perpetrator.
Racketeering through kidnapping
This is a very common crime. It occurs when a person kidnaps someone and demands something in return for their release.
It is racketeering through kidnapping, since the racketeer aims to take advantage of the situation through threats or violence.
For this type of crime, the Penal Code provides for higher penalties, which can reach 30 years of imprisonment if the abductee dies.
Difference between racketeering and theft
Many people cannot differentiate between racketeering and theft, since in both types of crime there is one person threatening another in exchange for advantages.
The big difference is:
- in racketeering, the victim is conniving, as in the case of a lightning kidnapping.
- In order not to be killed, the person uses his debit card and types the numbers in the ATM so that the money can be withdrawn and delivered to the kidnapper. There is collaboration.
In theft, the victim does not have that option. Usually, through violence, he has an object taken by force, such as a wallet or a watch, for example.
The crime of racketeering is very similar to theft.
The difference between them is that, in the theft, the victim’s cooperation does not matter: the criminal could always achieve his goal (take the thing) without the victim cooperating.
For example, if so-and-so points the gun at someone and demands his wallet, he is stealing, since he has the possibility to get the wallet even if the victim does not cooperate (for example, if he kills him, he will be able to get the wallet).
In racketeering, on the other hand, the criminal only succeeds in subtracting someone else’s thing if the victim cooperates. For example, in the case of withdrawals from ATMs.
Since the criminal does not know the victim’s password, he will not be able to take the money if the victim does not cooperate.
In racketeering, the victim is forced to do something he doesn’t want to do (or stop doing something he wants to do) because the criminal is threatening him or because he is, in some way, violating him.
If he does not cooperate with the racketeer, he may even suffer serious consequences (for example, being killed), but the criminal will not achieve his purpose: to take his good.
Effects of racketeering on states
In August 20, 2918, for example, Latin America is one of the regions most affected by racketeering in the world.
The economic power and influence of criminal groups that expand with corruption undermines the authority of the state and the rule of law, causes enormous damage to the economy, and increases rates of violence.
As a consequence, in recent years the region “has become one of the most violent regions in the world.
Racketeering in some states tends to be linked exclusively to drug trafficking.
However, beyond drug trafficking, crime manifests itself in multiple ways, such as trafficking in people, arms, ammunition and explosives, natural resources, smuggling and money laundering, which is complemented by the rest of the crimes.
In fact, racketeering is the most economically powerful illegal activity in the world, making it the main financial engine of criminal organizations.
According to a report by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the dimensions of racketeering are extremely difficult to quantify, in part because they can come from the development of illegal activities that in many situations appear legal.
Nevertheless, “Illicit money tends to integrate into a country’s financial and economic structure through racketeering, which hurts development and the financial and business sectors themselves.
But racketeering also deteriorates the country’s image, which ends up negatively affecting financial investments.
Another consequence of crime is social deterioration, which in turn encourages the emergence of new illegal activities, and the creation of a criminal infrastructure that allows the development of other illegal activities, which further strengthens structures criminal.
Countries that Have Been Affected by Racketeering
Latin America has been particularly affected by racketeering, to the point that Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, El Salvador and Colombia are among the 13 countries with the highest racketeering in the world, according to the report of the investigation group of data, Verisk Maplecroft.
At the opposite extreme, the countries of the region least affected by this scourge are Chile, Cuba and Uruguay.
One of the critical aspects of the persecution of racketeering is the difficulty in stopping it.
In fact, the penal systems show some structural distortion, because subordinate criminals are punished much more efficiently and not the heads of organizations, which according to the report “strengthens the stereotypical image of a poor or violent criminal, slowly and bureaucracy leaving the high organized criminals.
On the other hand, the government sector is also affected due to pressures and threats to its officials to collaborate with racketeering, as well as the private sector that is exposed to extortion.