Pinch on the Pimps

Pimps aren't generally known by their given names, and the 14 alleged flesh peddlers arrested in Atlanta last January were no exception. Law-enforcement officers hauled in "Playboy," "Worm" and "Poochie," among others. But while the suspects were busy being charged with 226 federal crimes in one of the biggest strikes ever against purveyors of underage prostitutes, they were most curious about a name most of them had never heard before. "Who," they asked, "is RICO?"

RICO isn't a person but a law — the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It is most frequently used to combat organized crime,...

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