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Cases of Cyberextortion
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What is Extortion

This article will go into California Penal Code 518 PC, which prohibits acts of extortion. This statute states crimes considered extortion are serious and these acts are classified as felonies. Read on to find out what extortion is under Penal Code 518 PC as well as review some examples of what is considered extortion under California law.

What is extortion?

Extortion is when tactics of force such as blackmail or bribery/blackmail are used for monetary gain or for some other type of property. In such scenarios, someone is threatened into giving the extortionist money. Extortion may also be committed to get an official act done by a public officer.

In California, in order for an act to be considered extortion, it must meet the following criteria.

  1. The accused must have had the intent to commit the crime in question, that is, he/she had a specific outcome he/she wanted to happen. 
  2. The accused used force, such as threat of violence, exposure of private information, or threat of falsely accusing their victim of a crime. 
  3. The victim actually did an official act or gave up his/her money or property to the accused.
  4. The victim performed the agreed upon actions (gave the accused money/property, performed an official act) because they were somehow threatened by the accused and not out of their own volition.

It should be noted that Penal Code 518 PC is not the only statute that prevents acts of extortion. There is PC 522, which makes threatening an individual to give their signature illegal. PC 523 makes extortion through a threatening letter illegal as well. For example, if you send a letter to someone saying you know about something scandalous they did last summer and that you will leak this information unless they send you $15,000.

What are some examples of extortion?

Below are some examples of what would be considered extortion

  • Threatening to destroy someone’s house if they don’t pay you a monthly fee.
  • Asking a public official to vote a certain way in exchange for not leaking explicit pictures of them.
  • Holding someone at gunpoint and threatening to shoot them if they don’t give you items in their shop.

In this article, we went over the basics of what constitutes extortion in the State of California under Penal Code 518 PC. If you would like more information on the subject, or you or someone you know is currently being put on trial for extortion, please contact us so that we may discuss how you can be defended.

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law Group patiently await your call.

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