Law: The Thermonuclear Statute

A weapon that clobbers the underworld gives business a headache

The studio apartment in Boston's North End was an unlikely headquarters for a multimillion-dollar business. No grand entrance, no smiling receptionist. But it was in that nondescript room that leaders of the Angiulo crime family, the city's predominant underworld dynasty, met regularly to plan the fortunes of an evil empire fed by murder, gambling and loan sharking. Often their plotting turned to what they considered a vexing subject: how to avoid the reach of a unique federal law called RICO, which not only targets Mob leaders but can also dismantle their whole illegal enterprise. "Remember that word 'enterprise,' " Family Boss...

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