Sedima, S.P.R.L. (plaintiff) was a Belgian corporation that entered into a joint venture with Imrex Company, Inc. (defendant) to sell electronic components. Sedima came to believe that Imrex was cheating Sedima out of proceeds through fraud. Sedima filed suit against Imrex with claims of unjust enrichment, conversion, and breach of contract, fiduciary duty, and a constructive trust. Sedima also filed three counts under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act civil-suit provisions based on alleged mail and wire fraud. The district court dismissed the RICO counts for failure to state a claim. Sedima appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the lower court ruling, holding that the civil provisions of the RICO statute could only be applied against defendants who had been convicted of criminal charges, and if the alleged injury arose from racketeering activity. The Supreme Court granted Sedima’s petition for writ of certiorari.