What is Extortion?


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Extortion is an act to gain an unfair advantage through coercion (coercion means forcing someone to do something he is not willing to in a threatening way). As per the law of almost every country, extortion is a crime and counted as a robbery.

In simple words, when somebody takes the illegal benefit of the position he owns by involving coercion, it is committing extortion.

In many cases, when people surround you, somebody may come in front and starts to for unjustified and unfair demands in a polite tone.

For example, suppose you have started a new society store, and some cop comes to you and asks you to pay you something. Extortionist usually tries to give because if you want to run a business without any problem, you need to pay him something on a monthly or weekly basis.

If you do not fulfill his demand, then you’ll have to face the consequences. This person simply tries to tell in exact words or in hidden code words that if you want to survive in that particular area, you do not have other options instead to befriend him. That was just an illustrated scenario. Situations can be different, but it is how innocent people get extorted for no good reason.

In most cases, an average person is not much aware of his rights or doesn’t know how to take any legal action when the extortionist gave the message in unclear words.

An extorted person may get confused and hopeless here that an extortionist may manipulate if he tries to report him. Most times, people are not sure that extortion is a crime?

Forcing or threatening someone to pay something is clear extortion. The one who demands or threatens deserves to be punished according to Federal law and every state’s law. This crime is used to cover only the actions taken by a government or public officials. But now, it applies to the efforts of private citizens also.

What are the types of extortion?

To know your rights, have a look at the details here.

Threats

Extortion is a kind of a threat. Under California’s law, if a person is guilty of committing extortion by threatening the victim or another person, accuse the crime’s victim or any other disgraceful conduct, or expose a secret.

A person may make a threat in writing, verbally, or even in non-verbal gestures. In the majority of the states, just making a threat is sufficient to qualify as a crime.

Intent

When someone makes a threat with some specific intention to force somebody to give something like money, property, or any other thing, intents are not based on the dependent’s statement but on the facts and circumstances around the threat.

Fear

When someone attempts extortion or makes a threat, the threat should be able to grow fear in the victim. That can be based on anything such as economic loss, deportation, or fear of violence.

Anything which may cause the victim to hand over the property or money is clear extortion. If a victim doesn’t feel fear, that would still count in extortion, as the extortionist had an intention to threaten the accused.

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What is the Punishment of Extortion?

Most times, crime is penalized as a felony offense. Felony is one severe category of crimes. In this, the subject may be imprisoned for at least one year.

But in some states, this crime is known as a misdemeanor, and extortionist has to pay lower fines or spend less time in jail.

Punishments of Extortion, maybe these.

Fines

If somebody is caught as guilty of extortion, he may be charged to pay fines up to $10,000 or less or more.

Restitution

The guilty person often has to pay restitution to the victim person. The state may charge a pay fine from the accused of committing extortion.

At the same time, restitution is supposed to be paid to the victim of extortion. Restitution is paid to the victim for the trauma or stress he had to go through as a punishment.

Incarceration

The accused person may be imprisoned for committing such a crime. Imprisonment can be as long as up to fifteen years for an individual.

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Probation

The state’s courts may also order for Probation Sentence to the accused person once proved to be guilty. Courts often use a probation sentence when somebody fails to attempt extortion or fails to get something in the form of money or property from the victim. The punishment for probation usually is around ten to twelve months.

It may also include a fine with a probation sentence. It also requires the accused person to comply with all of the court’s terms, like not contacting the victim again and continuing with his own everyday life without bothering others.

If the extortionist fails to comply with the court’s order, it may take him to prison and spend time on imprisonment.

Most of the time, people confuse extortion with blackmail. There is no doubt that extortion and blackmail are both indecent and criminal acts. But blackmail is not precisely the same as extortion. If we talk about extortion vs. blackmail, blackmail involves a clear threat. In extortion, the accused uses coercion when demanding something from the victim.

Most times, the extortionist is very careful in threatening the victim that they do not leave any evidence. Those who are guilty of performing such shameful acts are smart enough to take care of the matters like somebody else who may listen to their conversation. In these situations, victim often gets stressed about how to prove extortion.

Some of the smart techniques, maybe if you get a call from an extortionist, record those calls as proof to be used later. In most cases, extortionists know about this trick.

They do not come into this trap; in that situation, just take someone close to you in confidence and tell him to secretly shoot when the extortionist comes while acting as a stranger.

Difference between Blackmail and Extortion

Do not confuse extortion with blackmail. For a clear understanding, read the details about both acts here.

Extortion

Extortion is a crime that is counted as a theft crime where the extortionist uses coercion to obtain money or property. Extortion is committed in the form of a threat of violence.

The victim may get a threat that if he doesn’t do as per the extortionist’s demand. He may have to face extreme consequences such as property destruction, or family members may be harmed, etc.

Before implementing criminal statutes, the extortion act counted as an ordinary crime that only public and government officials committed—many states sentence a demeanor or a felony as a punishment for extortion.

It usually involves a public official who refuses to perform his duty without getting money for that. It is similar to asking for a bribe where a civil service person demands helping a citizen with something. For example, an SHO of the area refuses to issue a character certificate to a citizen who wants to move abroad without getting money.

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Blackmail

Blackmail is somehow similar to extortion, but it is usually classified as a theft crime or as a latency. It involves threatening as prohibited conduct. Blackmail doesn’t include violent threats to a person or his property.

When accused, it threatens to disclose any embarrassing information that may damage the victim’s reputation in the society or in front of someone. Blackmailer doesn’t have anything to do with the personal acts of the victim. But he tends to benefit from somebody’s personal lacking.

Suppose the victim refuses to pay anything to the extortionist. In that case, he may face consequences that may affect his professional career, social or personal relationships.

Even though the victim has some weak points from which the blackmailer tries to get the benefit, it doesn’t mean that the blackmailer will not get punished by the state for committing such a crime.

Conclusion

Extortion is basically an act of violence where somebody illegally or undeserving demands money, property, or services from the victim.

Extortionist holds no right to make such demands nor is the victim liable to fulfill his commands. Extortion can be committed by public and government officials who charge money to perform their duties which they are supposed to be doing without charging a penny. CWP

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