In June 1978 Fields, the owner of the beneficial interest in
land trusts holding title to several parcels of Chicago real
estate, assigned the beneficial interests to the Bank as security
for a $250,000 note. When Fields later paid the note in full,
Bank had the duty to reassign the beneficial interests but did
not do so.
In November 1979 Fields borrowed the same amount "without
security required or tendered." Nonetheless the note he signed
recited security of "A/B/I."*fn2 At some unspecified later date the
note was re-presented to Fields, with the interest rate changed
from 10 1/2% to 18% without his knowledge or consent.
In June 1980 Bank presented to Fields a $6,500 promissory note
dated May 18, 1979. As to that note Fields has alternative
theories. One is that he never received the money and his
signature on the note was a forgery. Alternatively, if the note
were not a forgery he says its interest rate was also
fraudulently increased from 10 1/2% to 18%.
Fields relied on Bank's representations and paid interest on
both the May 1979 and the November 1979 notes at the 18% rate.
Fields has been damaged by the excessive payment of interest and
the non-reassignment of the beneficial interests.
To invoke RICO Fields claims that Bank used the mail for three
June 13, 1980 letters in furtherance of its scheme to defraud
Fields. Its activities in charging the higher interest rates, in
forging the $6,500 note and in refusing to reassign the
beneficial interests are said to be "fraudulent activities,
corrupt activities and racketeering activities" under the RICO
Nonapplicability of RICO
Fields has a perfectly good state law cause of action.*fn3 But
like the myth of the lemming drawn to the sea, he follows the
unfortunately all-too-prevalent trend of seeking to reshape the
claim into one that can be wrapped in the RICO mantle.
There are a number of respects in which that effort is fatally
flawed, but it is only necessary to discuss one to dispose of the
present motion. This Court need not plow old furrows for that
purpose, for its analysis in Parnes v. Heinold Commodities, Inc.,
539 F. Supp. 199 (N.D.Ill. 1982)*fn4 demonstrates why Fields cannot
succeed here. Consistently with, but without repeating, the
Parnes analysis, the Court determines that under the Complaint:
(1) If Bank is considered the "enterprise" for
Section 1962(c) purposes, Fields has failed to
identify any "person" employed with or associated
with that "enterprise" in participating "in the
conduct of [Bank] affairs through a pattern of
racketeering activity or collection of unlawful
debt." That failure in turn causes Fields' RICO claim
to fail entirely.*fn5
(2) If Fields is viewed as the "enterprise" for
Section 1962(c) purposes, Bank might be considered as
the "person" that so participated in the conduct of
Fields' affairs. But there is no allegation that the
Fields "enterprise" (if any) was engaged in, or that
its activities affected, interstate commerce.*fn6 Again
the RICO claim must fail.
As in Parnes, analysis confirms the illegitimacy of trying to
force a common law fraud claim into the RICO mold. Because there
is no other predicate for federal jurisdiction over Fields'
claim, dismissal of the Complaint must occasion dismissal of this
action as well.