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Extortion

The crime of extortion is committed when a person unlawfully obtains money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution through coercion. Extortion is commonly engaged in by organized crime groups. While it is common among these groups, it is not exclusive. Other individuals and groups have been known to run extortion schemes as well.

For this crime to be committed, money or property does not have to change hands. The mere threat of violence or a legal action which seeks payment of money or exchange of property to halt future action is enough for a person to be charged with the crime.

In the United States, it is possible to commit extortion without ever setting eyes on a person. It can be a federal crime when committed via a computer, phone, by mail, or through any instrument of interstate commerce. In these cases, it is required that the individual sent the message both “willingly” and “knowingly.” While some would argue that it’s not extortion if the message doesn’t reach the intended recipient, this is not the case. The crime is committed once the message is sent, not received.

Some may confuse extortion with blackmail. The two crimes are distinguished in that blackmail’s threat involves doing something that is legal or normally allowed, whereas extortion involves only illegal activities.

Contact Us

If you have been accused of a crime and are in need of an experienced legal representative, contact Austin criminal defense attorney Ian Inglis at (512) 472-1950 to discuss your case and to formulate a plan for defense.


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