When you think of extortion, what comes to mind?
Mob movies where the mobsters rough up local business owners for money in exchange for protection?
Or perhaps even top CEOs who are threatened by an employee to expose affairs in exchange for money/promotions?
Well, you got it right. Extortion is referred to as “the crime of obtaining money or property by using threats of harm against the victim, or against his property or family.” To be considered extortion, the person needs to have threatened the victim in some way. However, it doesn’t always have to mean a physical threat.
Here, we will determine what is extortion, what extortion laws exist in Arizona, and give an example of extortion (or blackmail).
Arizona Extortion Statutes
Extortion laws will vary from state to state but, typically, they all require proof that the perpetrator made verbal or written threats towards the victim for one of two reasons –– to compel them to do something they don’t want to do or to give up something of value.
One should not confuse extortion with robbery though. The difference between robbery and extortion is that, in a robbery, threats of violence are used right away and something is forcefully taken from another person. In extortion, a person willingly hands over something to avoid whatever threat is being placed upon them by the perpetrator.
In Arizona, there are many situations that could be classified as extortion including accusing anyone of a crime or bringing criminal charges against anyone and causing anyone to part with any property. Extortion in Arizona is a class 4 felony unless it causes physical injury, serious physical injury or death by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in which it would be a class 2 felony.
Sextortion: Sexual Blackmail
With the evolution of the Internet, more and more online predators are targeting children and young adults by blackmailing them into giving pornographic videos or photographs, or to even solicit sexual favors.
According to the FBI, sextortion is a serious crime that occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material if you don’t provide them images of a sexual nature, sexual favors, or money.
One such case of sextortion occurred in 2015 when a man named Lucas Michael Chansler blackmailed 350 girls into giving up sexually explicit images and videos of themselves and, then, using those same images and videos to threaten them into giving up more. While they could not identify 250 of his victims, the ones they were able to identify came not only from all across the United States but also from Canada and the United Kingdom as well.
Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Arizona
Extortion is a serious crime that harms its victims by forcing them to give up something of value or to compel them into doing things that they don’t want to do. There are many reasons why an individual would resort to blackmail which could be for money, a promotion, sexual favors, giving up property, etc. While it doesn’t have to consist of any physical harm, it does require some form of threat –– whether verbal or written.
If you have been victimized by sextortion, then the FBI advises calling their office at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Save any written threats or jot down any verbal threats including time and location so that this can be used in your case. On the other hand, if you’ve been accused of extortion or a crime related to extortion, call the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, criminal defense attorney in Tucson.