Tired of gang activity in your city? Sue the gangsters!

Yesterday the city of Los Angeles sued nine gang leaders who are in prison, alleging that they're still running their criminal enterprises (the gangs, engaged in illegal activity) from behind bars. The lawyers believe this is the first time gang members are being sued for damages related to their crimes.

Los Angeles is hoping to get more than $1 million from the gangsters by seizing property that can be tied to them (cars, homes, etc.). Los Angeles law enforcement is trying to battle the gang problem by bringing criminal charges against gang members, as well getting civil injunctions against gangs which prohibit them from associating with certain people.

On the one hand, I understand the desire to curb gang activity. It's a very important issue that needs a strong response. On the other hand, I really don't see this civil suit putting much of a dent in gang activity. Even without involvement of the men in prison, the gangs will likely still flourish. Besides that... If law enforcement has enough evidence about what's going on with these prisoners and their gangs to bring a civil suit, doesn't that mean they also know enough to put a stop to it? Why not take steps to prevent the prisoners from being involved with their gangs?

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud
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