United States v. Bagaric

706 F.2d 42 (2d Cir. 1983)



An indictment need only track the language of the statute and, if necessary to apprise the defendant of the nature of the accusation against him, and to state time and place in approximate terms.


Defendants, Milan Bagaric, Mile Markich, Ante Ljubas, Vinko Logarusic, Ranko Primorac and Drago Sudar, were members of a Croatian terrorist group that perpetrated an international extortion scheme against moderate Croatians. They were also supporters of the Yugoslavian government that resorted to multiple acts of violence against those not sympathetic to their cause. Bagaric, Markich, Ljubas, Logarusic, Primorac, and Sudar were charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"). Count One charged conspiracy to violate the racketeering statute, and Count Two alleged a substantive violation. Trial commenced on February 16, 1982, and continued for thirteen weeks. On May 15, after approximately six days of deliberations, the jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts against Ljubas, Markich, Primorac, and Bagaric. Sudar was convicted of the single conspiracy count on which he was tried. Logarusic was convicted of conspiracy and acquitted on the substantive offense. Thereafter, defendants appealed the judgments, contending that the government failed to prove an economic dimension sufficient to bring them within the language and intention of RICO. 


Was the government required to prove an economic dimension in order to secure a conviction under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)?




The Court held that that the government was not required to prove an ultimate or overriding financial motive to secure a RICO conviction. The offenses RICO proscribed were mainly activities punishable irrespective of motives for performance. While mens rea had to be proved, there was no additional scienter requirement. The enterprise, for purposes of RICO, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1962(4), was shown as a group of individuals associated in fact, and their economic purpose, pursuant to § 1962, could have been proved through either the enterprise or the proof of predicate acts. The Court concluded that the individual defendants' claimed errors of prosecutorial misconduct, jury charges, sufficiency of the indictments, and failure to conduct separate trials, were without merit.

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