What Are The Elements Of Extortion ?
Extortion has always been considered to be synonymous with blackmail.
Usually extortion involves taking money, goods, services, property or getting desired behavior from a person due to threat of inflicting harm to him, his family, his business or his reputation. Extortion is a crime as the victim is forced into the situation through unlawful means.
Elements of Extortion:
It does not matter which state the crime occurs in, for the crime to be deemed as extortion, there has to be a threat made to the victim or victim's property. The threat can also extend to the victim's friends and family. This is the first element of extortion. In addition, there is no need for the threat to cause physical injury to the victim. It is sufficient if the victim is threatened with dire consequences if he does not obey the extortionist.
Furthermore, extortion does not have to be connected to an unlawful act. An extortion can be carried out just by informing the victim that that his clandestine affair will be told to his spouse or partner. Other types of threat that make it an extortion is threatening to harm the victim's business, testify against the victim, or withholding testimony to prove victim's innocence. The law clearly states that if a person threatens to harm another person's career or reputation, it is deemed as extortion.
Under the common law and its statutes, the intent to take money or property which is not rightfully or legally yours when making the threat is sufficient to establish a case of extortion. The offender has to be purposeful and willful in extracting money or property from the victim.
On the other hand, if a person mistakenly believes that he is entitled to the money or property that the victim has, it is not considered as extortion.
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