When Do Acts Involving Fraudulant Investiment Activities Be Considered Racketeering ?
In State v. Lucas, 600 So. 2d 1093 (Fla. 1992), the court determined that predicate acts involving a series of fraudulent investment-related activities met the continuity requirement of the pattern of racketeering element when those acts were perpetrated over a six-month period.
Specifically, we concluded that the fraudulent activities in Lucas conformed to the concept of "open-ended" continuity discussed in H.J., Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co., 492 U.S. 229, 106 L. Ed. 2d 195, 109 S. Ct. 2893 (1989) because the only thing that prevented the enterprise from perpetrating subsequent fraudulent acts was the arrest of some of its key members.
Since the organization had performed predicate acts in the past and posed a real threat of executing similar predicate acts in the future, a pattern of racketeering was established. See Lucas, 600 So. 2d at 1095-96.
The court noted in Lucas that "the lack of a threat of continuity of racketeering activity cannot be asserted merely by showing a fortuitous interruption of that activity such as by an arrest, indictment or guilty verdict." Lucas, 600 So. 2d at 1095 (quoting United States v. Busacca, 936 F.2d 232, 238 (6th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 985, 116 L. Ed. 2d 619, 112 S. Ct. 595 (1991)).
Therefore, Lugo's arrest did not obviate the threat of continued criminal activity by the enterprise with which he was associated.
The court further stated in Lucas the possibility that the related fraudulent activities occurring over a six-month period could meet the concept of "closed- end" continuity described in H.J., Inc., i.e., that those activities showed the requisite continuity of particular criminal activity because they constituted "a series of related predicates extending over a substantial period of time." Lucas, 600 So. 2d at 1094 (quoting H.J., Inc., 492 U.S. at 241-43).