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What Is Extortion?
Extortion is the crime of wrongfully obtaining property by means of oral or written threats. Typical examples include:
- Threating to physically harm the victim or someone else close to the victim
- Threats to damage the victim’s property
- Threats to ruin the victim’s reputation – also called blackmail
Extortion is more broadly defined than robbery; the threats need not be immediate. Instead, they can be threats of some future harm. Also, the property doesn’t need to be taken at the time that the threat is made, it can be obtained later.
What Are Possible Consequences of Extortion?
Extortion is a felony offense in all states and carries severe consequences. In addition, if the extortion interferes with interstate commerce, the crime becomes a federal offence. A person convicted of extortion can face a variety of penalties, including:
Probation is typically not available in extortion cases unless the extortion was only attempted and was unsuccessful.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Accused of Extortion?
What Should I Do as a Victim of Extortion?
If you believe you are being extorted, call the police. If there is sufficient evidence of extortion, the police will forward your case to the local district attorney's office. A deputy district attorney from that office will prosecute the extorter and possibly obtain restitution for you.
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Last Modified: 08-13-2014 11:58 AM PDT
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