The 60-page indictment was unsealed Monday but not immediately released.
Attorney Steven Gruel, who represents Pellicano, said the indictment detailed 105 counts against his client. In addition to racketeering, he was charged with unauthorized computer access, interception of wire communications and possession of a wiretapping device.
Gruel briefly made a copy of the indictment available to The Associated Press. It said the private detective "paid bribes to corrupt public officials."
Pellicano and his associates, including a former Los Angeles police officer, allegedly wiretapped Sylvester Stallone and accessed secret records on comedians Garry Shandling and Kevin Nealson along with a New York Times reporter and another reporter, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Officers with the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments accessed confidential records and provided information to Pellicano, the indictment said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Hillman set an April 4 trial date.
Pellicano, 61, has worked for a galaxy of Hollywood stars, including Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Stallone. High-profile lawyers and agents also have enlisted Pellicano's services.
Prosecutors haven't disclosed if any famous names might be tied to the investigation. Pellicano has said he would protect his clients' confidentiality.
Pellicano was released Friday from a federal prison after completing a 2½-year sentence for possessing illegal weapons, prison spokeswoman Pam Jones said. He was transferred to San Bernardino County Jail.
"I think he was hoping to get out of jail and was ... annoyed with an indictment that coincides with his release from federal prison," Gruel said. "It seems to be an odd coincidence."
The investigation has led to some arrests. Sandra Carradine, 58, ex-wife of actor Keith Carradine, pleaded guilty to two counts of perjury. Former Beverly Hills police officer Craig Stevens, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and four counts of unauthorized access of protected computers to commit fraud.
Both are scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
Robert Pfeifer, former president of Hollywood Records, also has been arrested in connection with the case, his attorney Leonard Sharenow said. Although charges against the 50-year-old music industry executive weren't immediately revealed, Sharenow said Pfeifer hired Pellicano in 2000 in a dispute with a former employer.
Sharenow said he and Pfeifer met with federal prosecutors in 2004 and "thought we answered all their questions."
Pellicano's troubles began in 2002 when, prosecutors claim, he hired Alexander Proctor to threaten Anita Busch, then a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, who was working on a story about actor Steven Seagal and possible links to the Mafia.
Proctor allegedly placed a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on Busch's car and made a bullet-sized hole in the windshield. He also left a sign with the word "stop," court documents show.
Three weeks ago, Pellicano's former girlfriend, Sandra Will Carradine, and a former Beverly Hills police officer, Craig Stevens, pleaded guilty to federal charges of lying about the detective's use of wiretaps and other illegal tactics, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Pellicano and Proctor each face one count of making criminal threats and one count of conspiracy but neither has entered a plea. Proctor is serving a 10-year prison term in Illinois on unrelated drug charges.