Any threat to use force, violence of any kind, harm to someone’s reputation, or even a warning of unfavorable government action to induce payment or cause or discourage a particular action may be viewed as criminal extortion by federal or state prosecutors. Extortion law does not usually involve imminent physical danger or the actual use of physical force against the person of the individual who complains. Sometimes remarks passed in the heat of the moment among business associates who have known each other for years can be taken out of context and charged as extortion. Because the characterization of a threat or the belief that damage to one’s reputation is imminent is such a subjective judgement, the word of a possibly biased or self interested complainant can result in serious felony charges being brought against an otherwise law abiding person.
On occassion, extortion crimes are used in official corruption indictments or investigations since the threat government action or a lack of action can arguably have a direct economic impact on the bottom line of a business or upon the reputation of an officer or representative of an otherwise respected institution. Extortion charges are not limited to kidnapping ransom demands or used exclusively in organized crime prosecutions. Extortion charges often appear in white collar cases.
Potential sentences are substantial for these serious felony offenses. Thus, it is important to retain experienced criminal defense attorneys to represent you if your are charged with extortion, in any of its many forms. We have vast experience and expertise at Charles A. Ross and Associates in representing individuals charged with extortion.