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In law, extortion is a criminal offense. It is obtaining money, property, or service from a person or institution, through coercion. This may be by threat to a victim, to their property or family. It may also be by false claim (such as claiming to be a public official).[1] Another form of extortion is offering a business owner "protection". For example, to keep the business free from vandalism or burglary.[2] In all states of the United States extortion is a felony.[2]

Extortion may be in person, by telephone, mail, e-mail, text message or any form of wireless communication. If the extortion involves any form of interstate commerce, it may be a federal crime.[2] It may involve the threat of hacking.[3]

Extortion, like robbery and blackmail, are crimes that involve obtaining property by illegal means.[4] The most serious of the three is robbery because it usually involves violence against the victim. Blackmail is a form of extortion. The threat is usually making damaging or embarrassing information public if demands are not met.[2] The legal definition of extortion varies from one jurisdiction to another. In some states, extortion is only charged against public officials while the same act committed by a private individual is charged as blackmail.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Extortion". NOLO. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Extortion". FindLaw. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  3. "New extortion scam aimed at banks in the European Union". Dell SecureWorks, Inc. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  4. James Minick (14 June 2013). "Robbery, Extortion, and Blackmail Offenses". Minik Law. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  5. "Extortion and Blackmail Law". HG.org. Retrieved 8 December 2015.