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EXTORTION     Penal Code Sections 518 – 527

Extortion – To threaten, to intimidate or making a false claim of ownership to obtain money or property from an individual, a family member, a business associate or even a stranger (i.e., impersonating an IRS agent).   Typically the difference between Robbery and Theft is where there is a direct threat to harm the victim.

Includes the crime of Blackmail and is one in which the threat is to expose, embarrass, and/or damage information to family, friends or the public

Penal Code 518 PC

In California, the crime of extortion is commonly referred to as “blackmail”.  Blackmail occurs when you:

1) use force or threats/intimidation to force another individual to give you money or property,

2) use force or threats/intimidation to force a public officer to perform an official act, i.e., a contractor threatens to expose a bankers extramarital affair to the local newspaper if the banker does not provide the financial backing that the contractor has applied for.

Another example would be for a public official, to act under color of their official right to compel another person to give you money or other property.

Other acts that can be considered blackmail or extortion, in California, would be include a man armed with a bat breaks into a home and threatens to kill the occupants if they don’t open a safe that contains large amounts of cash and jewelry.  Another example would be a teenager son/daughter with a drug problem who threatens to contact the police and (falsely) accuse a parent or other adult/person of molestation unless the adult gives that teenager what they are demanding, usually money.

Most people are familiar with the extortion cases that involve high profile people such as celebrities, athletes and politicians.  Often they are threatened with extortion especially when they themselves have engaged in conduct that can be used against them, i.e., a well-known celebrity who has an extramarital relationship being threatening by a person who can release nude or compromising photos of him/her or of them to either the spouse or even the public if they don’t get what they want or demand.

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